Apple have applied a patent for the use of 'Smart Transitions' in video editing, for use in Final Cut Pro X we would assume. What on earth are smart transitions? We take a look.
Another patent application for Apple (after the collaborative editing) that interests us because it might be a hint of what is to come with FCPX.
The abstact of the patent is a normal vague description:
"A method, system and computer-readable storage medium for performing smart transitions between video clips are disclosed. According to implementations, a first video clip can be displayed on an interface of a video editing application. A second video clip can be received in the interface. In response to receiving the second video clip, a video clip sequence that includes the first video clip, the second video clip and a transition selected based on content characteristics of the first video clip and the second video clip can be generated. The generated video clip sequence containing the transition can be displayed on the interface. The video clip sequence including the transition can be generated automatically in response to receiving the second video clip."
Not much given away there, so we had a read on of the rather lengthy and wordy patent application to see if we could pull a few real world examples out.
So based on the transition analysing both clips, not only for metadata, but for colour and temporal information.
1) A smart transition could look at the date metadata and perform a cut between media from the same day and a mix or other transition between media from different days.
2) If a high amount of motion is detected, a cut could be performed. If a low amount of motion has been detected, a dissolve or another transition will be applied.
3) Different transitions can will be applied depending on the colour analysed in the media.
4) Different transitions can be automatically applied depending on the length of shots.
5) The transition could automatically repair defective media (This is where it gets interesting) The transition once applied would look for defective media, make two clips omitting the problem and then join them togther to minimise the problem.
6) If a transition has been used too much in a sequence, applying a smart transition wil result in another effect being applied.
So it gets more interesting the more you think about it, How about the transition recognising camera metadata so it would perform a cut between angles on a multicam project but a dissolve between the same angle?
One for plugin developers to note is that for Apple to make this possible in FCPX, the transitions would have to have access to the metadata as we described. At the moment the coded and Motion effect architecture within FCPX won't allow the transfer of such information, so there will have to be more internal data sharing added to make this possible in the future.
It has certainly set us thinking... Could you set up 'Rules' so that for example if you used clips from an archive bin, they would always dissolve in and out? It is another clever example of Apple looking ahead and planning further features for FCPX that will take some of the routine drudgery out of editing.
So if Apple can make smart transitions, why stop there? How about smart name supers that would range left or right depending on where the person was sat during an interview? How about a varying drop shadow on titles based on the brightness of the track below?
The original patent was filed on the 28th of January and published on August 2 2012.