Timeline Zoom Control?

FrostDrive
FrostDrive Posts: 62 Just Starting Out*

Hello, new to Hitfilm Express. Probably stupid question. 

This doesn't seem right. It's way too zoomed out already - for barely having zoomed out at all. What am I doing wrong. This is so hard to edit like this. 

Picture for example ---> http://imgur.com/a/Nzc13


This project is only like 5 minutes long. It's like I barely zoom out and I'm zooming out to seeing an hour or two long in the timeline. It's either I'm zoomed out way to far or way too close and there's no in between. ): 

Comments

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,679 Ambassador

    Timeline zoom increments are a bit rough. You're not the first to note it. That said, besides the timeline slider, if you hold Control/Command and use your middle mouse button, that's an alternate control. 

  • Palacono
    Palacono Posts: 3,425 Enthusiast

    I think it might be working something like this inverse square graph, because it doesn't take long to get in very close, then the changes become small:

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,679 Ambassador

    @Palacono probably. Honestly, most detailed editing is done at close zooms. It's rare I'm looking at more than five minutes of timeline, and that's usually navigating to the bit I'm gonna zoom in on. 

  • Palacono
    Palacono Posts: 3,425 Enthusiast

     @Triem23 It might be similar to other Editors, I'm just more used to Sony/Magix/Vegas/Studio where it's a lot more gentle and controllable.

    Having had a play with Vegas, I'm not sure that's using a curve at all, as each step seems to be about 3/4 or 4/5 of the previous one, right down to an entire frame filling the whole timeline. Hitfilm stops way before then.

    Plus you have the double click on the scroll bar to autofit the timeline, whatever the length, and the ability to drag on the ends of the scroll bar itself to scale it as gently as you like.   Premiere allows you to Right-Click and drag the ends of the scroll bar too. Adding a few more ways to manipulate the timeline in Hitfilm would be nice. :)

  • Aladdin4d
    Aladdin4d Posts: 2,481 Enthusiast

    @Palacono I've always felt Vegas has the best and most intuitive timeline zoom controls

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,679 Ambassador

    @Palacono @Aladdin4d Yeah, Vegas has nice zooms. On the other hand, Vegas can get in to fill the screen with a single frame because Vegas started as an audio editor (that added video in v.3), and Vegas's zoom range gives you sample-accurate editing. Most other NLE's (Hitfilm included) can only adjust things to the frame clock. You can really fine-tune audio positions in Vegas.

    Now--to the credit of FXHOME, the HFP 2017 Update #4 did improve the interface panels with proper scroll bars. Yeah, I'd not mind finer zoom controls, but a small team can only do so much, and the devs really do give us a few nice workflow/interface tweaks, bug fixes and new effects features with every mid-life update as well as full version updates.

  • NormanPCN
    NormanPCN Posts: 4,192 Enthusiast

    @Palacono Here is what I measured in Pro 2017 which has 20 levels of zoom. Express 4 only has 10 levels but distributed basically the same. So we get 20 levels of, ahem, instead of 10.

    5 minutes, 2minutes 19seconds(s), 56s, 30s, 17s, 11.5s, 8s, 6s, 5s, 4s, 3s 9frames(fr), 2s 22fr, 2s 13fr, 2s 8fr, 2s 3fr, 2s, 1s 21fr, 1s 19fr, 1s 18fr, 1s 17fr, 1s 16fr

    The biggest question I have with this is, what is useful about going from a zoom level of 2s 13fr to 2s 8fr. Half the zoom levels go from 2s 22fr to 1s 16fr. Functionally these have the same use so they are all effectively the same. Even the 8s to 3s is functionally very similar editing wise, IMO.

    So Hitfilm only has a few unique functional zoom levels and they really jump. What we get is dependent on the timeline length and not the project length. The timeline length only increases and never decreases and we have no control over this parameter. The increased length trashes our handful of functional zoom levels. This mostly comes in when you trim on the timeline and not using the viewer.

  • Palacono
    Palacono Posts: 3,425 Enthusiast

    I think what we have is because it's historically expected you'll be working on 30s max length effects shots as composites. It's possibly why there was the integration with Vegas in the first place. 

  • CedricBonnier
    CedricBonnier Posts: 1,207 Staff

    Hey guys, thanks for your feedback. The timeline zoom is working the way it is to allow seeing the entire timeline when zoomed all the way out and see each frame easily when zoomed all the way in (40px/frame). The timelines varying wildly in length is why there is that curve, it was meant to zoom in quicker at the beginning but when closing in, it would do smaller and smaller increments. To be honest, I never use the buttons on each end of the slider, I always click the slider directly and this gives a more precise control of the timeline zoom (effectively giving you 100 zoom levels).

    We have a task on our list to have a look at ways to improve timeline zooming. As in many cases, figuring out what to do and what is best for the user will probably be more difficult than actually doing the work. Any advice is welcome :) . I've added a link to this thread to have a look again when we get round to work on this.

  • Palacono
    Palacono Posts: 3,425 Enthusiast
    edited May 2017

    The extra steps (20 from 10) in Hitfilm Express 2017 is a vast improvement. That first click in HF4E went from 1/20 scrollbar to full width and that was a doozy of a jump.

    Now in HFE2017it's more like 1/20 to 1/3, which is much more usable. Will play more and report back.

    Click and drag on the ends of the scrollbar itself would still be nice. ;)

  • NormanPCN
    NormanPCN Posts: 4,192 Enthusiast

    @CedricBonnier "I always click the slider directly and this gives a more precise control of the timeline zoom (effectively giving you 100 zoom levels)."

    Yes there are more levels dragging the slider thumb here but the "curve" is still used. So with 100 zoom levels we still have 50 levels that are dedicated to ~3 seconds to 1.5 seconds view. Why such an emphasis on such major zoomed in levels. Since the front end scale change is so fast/jumpy, even moving the slider thumb, it is very hard with even 50 levels in the front half to get the zoom we want. So we just settle for what we can get.

    I always use the Ctrl+Wheel for zooming. I would suspect many use the wheel. Here is an idea. Have the wheel, NOT use the 20 levels, but move through the slider defined range. Say your 100 zoom level quote. Even with the existing curve, with the wheel we have better control/precision over zoom selection. I don't know about others but I can whip that wheel fast as well. Best of both worlds. Precision and speed.

    This Ctrl+Wheel idea/change should be doable right now.

    As for the curve, I stated I don't understand the logic. To me it is illogical. Of course, when we are zoomed way in we expect we are going to be scrolling the timeline left/right a fair bit because of the scale. So do we really need a ton of zoom scales down that low. Obviously I think not. In the NLE we want to zoom to fit a scene to fill the timeline view. We need reasonable zoom scales to allow that and they(scenes/regions) are not typically 3 seconds or less.

    For the future, why not have the mid scale view be half the timeline length. e.g. With a 5 minute timeline, the view is 2:30. This is the median. Half the zoom levels are above that and half below. We have a lot of levels for really zoomed in but be also have a lot of zoom levels for fitting scene/regions of an NLE timeline.

    Speed of zoom scale should not be relevant. We can whip the mouse wheel fast and we can move that slider thumb fast or click the slider position instantly. Precision of scale is key and not scale change speed.

    As for zoom function, the Vegas style of sizing the scrollbar thumb is pretty ideal. If you are trying to fit a region into the timeline view for work then dragging each side of the thumb lets pull the respective ends into timeline view. This is still fiddly, IMO.

    Consider a feature where the app will size and position the timeline to fit a selection (in/out, region, ?). In Hitfilm think in/out points as a selection region. I submit this 12 second view as a demo. I double click a region, which selects it. Then I select a command to zoom and position the timeline to view the selection. Easy, peazy. Minimum of mouse moves and clicks.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaW7gl_i7jk

  • FrostDrive
    FrostDrive Posts: 62 Just Starting Out*
    edited May 2017

    These are all wonderful replies. I'm amazed!! 

    By the way I'm excited I did find Hitfilm even if the timeline controls are whack. It's better than Premiere Pro overall from my perspective. 

    I just hope we can someday have some more optimized timeline controls to fit our specific projects needs.