I have a dream…

… And in that dream I use my dream-NLE. I call it the Flatbed-NLE.

As some of you may know I have brought up a similar thought in the reduser and scarletuser forums. But although they share many similarities there are also differences. And without bothering you about what’s different and why I will hereby just list the features I want in FBNLE.

  • Proxy-editing: I want the system to not SUPPORT proxies… I want it to be BASED on them. When I import assets I want the program to automatically transcode them into a proxy and that’s the file I will be using. The proxy is frame-accurate, low rez and optimized for speed when editing (no GOP or anything). The only time I will see full-rez is when I hit export and the FBNLE accesses the source-HQ-files for rendering the final output.
  • Pure Basics Editing: Or, PBE as I like to call it. The only things you will be able to do on the timeline is straight cuts and simple fades. Frame accurate of course. Things like speed-shifting and reversing (but only on a strictly frame-copy or frame-skip principle) should also be enabled as well as simple transforms (scale & position) and image-flips. No layering, no mixing.
  • Standard NLE GUI: This is mainly because we are all so familiar with FCP and Premiere style editing. Import assets to bin, move asset to timeline, trim and move around on timeline and watch the preview monitor for proxy-results.
  • AudioEditing NoNo: Or, AENN. No audio editing. You either use the audio you get from the clip or assign another sound clip that’s been through mixing and sweetening.

And that is it… No more… no less…

Now, alot of you will read this and go: “Why? Why do something as backsteppy as this?”. Well I can list several Pro’s to support my claim:

  • Cost: Yeah… look at the features I’m asking for… it ain’t rocket science for the companies bringing us high end NLE software. I’m half expecting some student out there doing something like this in his spare time… but alas I haven’t found it yet.
  • Efficency: The proxy system and the limited editing capabilities I have outlined makes it ideal for low-horsepower-computers that have owners who want to edit their 1080p movies. Sure, the image in preview would look like shit but they can rest assured that the final output will look just as good as their source-files.

And the cons with my retorts:

  • Why no wiz-bang and shizzle-dizzle effects???: Really… in a NLE you only should be doing cuts and maybe fades. If you stop to think about it, this is the way that hollywood made movies for a hundred years. Straight cuts on flatbed edit-bays with filmstrips running through a moviola.
  • VFX???: You should be doing this in a program perfected for this anyways… like AE or Shake or Motion or Nuke… Don’t bog down the editing process with this… When you render it out from those programs you can edit them just as any other asset. If you want to change it… go back to the program you used to create it and render out another one.
  • What??? No audio editing? Don’t you understand that audio is such an important feature of movies? You nuts???: Well… actually I do realize its importance in narrating. That’s why I opt for programs that is actually created to do audio-work. When audio-work has been done on a clip, as I said above, just assign it to the clip in question. For sequences of shots edited and soundworked together you should already have it as a separate clip anyways. Import up to 5.1 audio streams and export up to 5.1 audio streams… just no screwing around with them.

Why would I even consider dreaming of this? Well, simple reason really. I just have become EXTREMELY frustrated, looking at all these editing sollutions where I would have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars… for the most part, for stuff that I would never use! Why the hell would I want a shatter-plugin in my NLE? It looks like shit! When I do need one, I have Aftereffects. And the machines needed to run these softwares is just rampaging in their pricepoint. So that’s another thousand or two needed just to get it up to speed… When I sit there thinking, I don’t need full rez preview… I don’t need all those plugins… I don’t need all that… All I want is what I have outlined above… So tell me again why I should pay thousands of dollars when I use maybe a 100th of the features at all and could very well live without the rest?

All I need when I edit is just the features of a standard flatbed edit bay that hollywood has been producing films with for over a hundred years. That is why I call it FBNLE… my FlatBed NonLinear Editing system… My dream…

But as said, even though I feel that this is such an essential piece of software that should be available at a fraction of the cost of a fullblown modern NLE… Even though I feel like it’s on the level of freeware… I haven’t actually found this… so I keep on dreaming…

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