[Lumiera] Which timecode formats do we want?

Stefan Kangas skangas at skangas.se
Fri Jul 9 05:49:40 CEST 2010

Brian Rytel <tesla.pictures at gmail.com> writes:

> @Stefan, just checked ardour

Thank you for your continued efforts to help me improve this area.  It
seems we have essentially two different paradigms, and I do not think
they can be combined.

Let us be clear about what we are discussing:

The Ardour widget assumes the user clicks on the correct part of the
widget, since it can not edit digits to the left of that.  It only moves
to the right as you type, completing the edit when the far right is
reached.  Also, it keeps whatever was to the left of the edit.  It can
even keep what was to the right if the user presses enter before having
filled in all possible digits.

The opposite paradigm is to blank the time code when it is clicked, and
have the user enter a new position exactly.  This is what you are
suggesting we use, and as I will explain, I am beginning to agree.  Bare
with me, though.

> Having to click to TC widget 4 times to enter a TC location is maddening. Is
> there a way to have it take all the numbers entered and simply move them
> "over" to the next highest field?

If you want to edit all four locations at once, you must click to the
far left, on the hour digits.

> My non-programmers concept:
> 00:00:00:(00) <- I click here
> and input 1004
> the input dialog knows only (2) digits per dialog (as it does now),
> but rather than limiting further entry, it would pass (10) to the next
> dialog?

I think it would not be very intuitive to try to force the two paradigms
together in this way.  In the case of clicking the frame part it might
make sense to move digits along to the left while typing.  But if the
user clicks the seconds (SS) part and types in 1004, the user would be
right to assume the edit is complete at that point since there is no
more room for digits.  When she then begins some other work, the widget
will keep consuming key presses and move the digits left as new ones are

I simply do not think it makes sense in the context of this widget.  It
will surely confuse people more than it will help.

> note my described method is a convention in all professional NLEs, and
> should be considered carefully.

Yes, and I am convinced; I now agree this is the best thing.  However,
this probably means dropping the Ardour widget entirely.

The Ardour widget is of most benefit when one wants to edit only one
part of the time code.  Blanking it is very tedious.  If I wish to move
to 00:00:15:00 from 01:01:01:01, I have to remember to click the hour
part (or I have to click it again), and then press no less than 8
digits to fill it with zeros.

The primary benefit is on the other hand exactly this locational memory,
since this makes it easy to move forward or backward an exact number of
frames, seconds or minutes.  These benefits could easily be gained
otherwise, say by a move function where you can elect to move this or
that much forward or backward (IIRC, APP has this), or one could imagine
adding an extension to the standard "blanking" widget where, say, the
letter "x" is taken to mean "whatever was in this spot before".

We can think about how we want to present this to the user.  One way is
to have it be a nicely formatted time code (I like how the APP one
looks), and clicking it gives you a blank field to enter arbitrary
digits, which then get formatted upon hitting enter.  Optionally, you
could format them as you type.


      Stefan Kangas

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