Multiple Timeline confusion

If for example i have 30 versions to do that require different setups that need loading in each one and then exporting, I seem to find myself sometimes adding/loading stuff to the wrong timeline as it was left open in the previous version, bla bla bla…it can be so confusing maybe im missing something, whats the best multiple timeline discipline, is there one ? im supprised i dont hear anyone else complaining, to me it seems so fragile, and easy to fuck up,… or im a fuck up???


oh! does that mean you agree Randy? or are you saying im a fuck up :wink:

would be good to have an option that closes an open timeline when opening a new one, or is there an option like that i dont know about??

Sounds like something I have done before. Getting all lost in loads of similar but different versions. I actually have hilarious memories of early connected conform and I was trying to come up with 12 unique versions only to review them all back at the end to find that they were all the same :rofl:
The tricky thing is that you sort of need them to be open as record clips (red) to work on them. You can use a source clip (green) for edit tweaks but if you need to replace clips, selecting the clip you are swapping replaces the single source clip you were planning on working on.

I can only suggest a clear way of naming the clips (and not having them using connected segments :wink: ).

I often find that clip names are too long for the Record tabs that sit above your timeline view. Especially when you have it full of edits. I make sure that my pertinent information is short and at the front of my clip name.
I also nearly always use metadata burnIn. This second line of defence sits at the top of the image displaying my clip name.

I use the Library to hold timelines (some people use the Desktop and load/close from there). I always use Reel Groups as this is the base container for Connected Segments. Within the Reel Group I’ll have sequence reels based on the organization of the many edits. It might be a Sequence Reels based on Aspect Ratio (16x9, 9x16, etc) or it might be based on Language (English version, Spanish version) it just depends on the job. I try to find some way to break the timelines into categories so there’s not one Sequence Reel with 30 edits in it.

From there, I always keep an eye on the Red Triangle indicator in the Media Hub. This little triangle is always on the currently open timeline. Even with that, I still have to pay attention to what timeline is open and don’t mindlessly add something to an edit without confirming I’m parked on the right thing.

So I don’t think it’s just you but there are some organization things you can do to help.

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I’m pretty sure with Flame Pre Aniversary I was alot less likely to make errors,…

I think Autodesk need to make sure working with multiple timelines has a workflow that is very safe, ie have notifications or alerts or some kind on indication where the timeline is that you are working on whether it in the library or desktop, maybe something like a live high-light, that shows you where you are or which real or folder etc, … that would look cool too, … hope there reading this

Consistency is key. I, for instance, don’t use traditional flame reels or smoke workspaces. I rely totally on the media panel. I always arrange my masters in descending duration order, such as 30,15,10,10,6,6,6. I change the names of references to something shorter and much more manageable than what I usually get from edit, with the most pertinent information near the front of the name, so that it doesn’t get cut off if the names get long. (I do this without changing the names of the original elements, so that I always know the name of what I was given at a glance if need be.) I also make hotkeys that open and close multiple sequences quickly so that I can refresh the order of the tabs if I need to so that they match the order in the media panel. And I pay attention. I frequently work with anywhere from a few to a few dozen sequences that are open at the same time. I am careful to organize my work in Reels and Real Groups in a way that seems logical for the tasks at hand, and above all, I concentrate on developing habits that I can follow universally even as software and technology changes. The only instance where I continually trip myself up if I am rushing is when I make a copy of a sequence, re-name it, then proceed to make all the changes on the original rather than the copy. One of these days I’ll get that right.


Pre-anniversary Flame sucked at multi-versioning. Smoke was way better and mostly because it had the fore-runner to the media panel.


Yes. :slight_smile:

Nah, I’m a serial liker. It’s an interesting question!

I use a lot of painted coloured frames as notes/ways to separate logical groupings of timelines. I also only view the Desktop in the Media Hub, and use the Desktop in the traditional way that I believe Adsk intended… That is, the Desktop is the active work area and the stuff you reach for most often. Then I’ll have reel groups and batch groups within that Desktop that makes sense for me.

Experiment with some new techniques. You’ll find a way that you like eventually.


It’s a headache - I can see the attraction of working in the library for this reason. It didn’t work for me because I think connected conform only worked on the desktop. Also I managed to delete masters in the library by mistake whereas the desktop way, I only work on a copy.

I have used multiple reel groups to separate different types of edit.

I would like it if the desktop would have edits in the same order in tabs and reels - if you feel the same, voting for this feedback might help.

I do think that the source timeline is confusing and would love to hide it at times like you could in smoke and have made a feedback thing for it - hopefully some others here might agree and vote for it{8fbadb72-c1b4-44ad-b55e-888e3fdc17e4}&t=0&fti=2

Color coding timelines/reel groups helps me a bunch in keeping organized and staying focused…just knowing I’m working on an “orange” or “red” group of spots makes it easier to track down a problem if I do get confused or make a mistake.

When working on a large group of similar tasks (like updating phone numbers across 30 timelines), I’ll use color coding to mark a timeline as in progress (red) or finished (green)…usually dragging finished timelines to a new “Completed” sequence reel.

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ie have notifications or alerts or some kind on indication where the timeline is that you are working on whether it in the library or desktop

There are icons next to the name of the sequence on the Timeline tabs. That way you can know if a clip is in a Batch Group (Batch Group icon), a Desktop Reel (Reel icon) or in the Library (Folder icon). Is this not what you are looking for?

sorry read below

Hi Fred

No!, thats not the problem!, its not whether your Timeline is in the Library or Desktop, thats easy, its the double tap on time line tab function that tells you where your Timeline is, whether its not only in your Desktop or Library, its whether its in one of your 100 folders or reels in your Library or Desktop, you should NOT have to double tap to know, it would be better if it was highlighted in the media panel when your in that particular Timeline, so that you know where you are at a GLANCE at the Media panel.

Make sense?

Really? i didnt think the Media Panel was fully functional then, Flame Pre-AE worked well, I even versioned in Flare batch timeline back in those days, …Smoke was more the just the cost effective way, but also very unstable then, and more for the Juniors who hoped to use Flame instead, similar to Flare. I suppose it depends on where you came from as in what the company’s workflow was or what it was trying out, I remember when Flare first came out some companies were testing it for versioning as it was cheaper, and then Smoke eventually took over, all down to lowering expenses ie Flame subscription costs, nothing else, no other reason. When Media Panel was closer to being fully functional it was released with Flame AE. IMHO, still not fully functional.

Yeah, really. Fully functional is relative. It was fully functional for the job it was designed to do, which is why I refer to it as a fore-runner. It has obviously improved and evolved over the years. Saying it was not fully functional is like saying the rocket that took us to the moon was not fully functional because it didn’t take us to Mars. Also, I never knew it to be unstable. When it was on Tezro it had some issues, mostly to do with the vbob. To be fair, I never used Smac. I worked on both Flame and Smoke on a daily basis for over a decade. I would never use a Flame for versions unless I wanted to make each one in it’s entirety one at a time, which I consider a painful way of doing things. Smoke made it much easier to group tasks. As for cheaper, that was negligible. They both ran on the same hardware and they were both operated by the same people. I have never been staff at a company with juniors, so I can’t really attest to whether they started people on Smoke and moved them up to Flame. We used the tools that best suited the job. Flame AE and beyond resembles Smoke far more than it resembles Flame Pre-AE, which is why Smoke users embraced it much quicker than Flame users.


In my mind Smoke Premium pre AE was vastly superior to Flame pre AE in virtually all respects. This is coming from someone who who used flame at that point daily for longer than I’d care to admit.

…and the confusion as to what time line is open and being worked in was NEVER and issue. Now it can feel like a free for all at times. I appreciate the capability but I long for the simplicity and speed of the old edit desk.


Smoke vs Flame was all about Timeline, missing batch nodes and price, and whether you come from and editor background or comping, any how as Chris says currently it lacks simplicity and speed, we need to know where we are just by glancing at the Media Panel.


When you get to that many versions, like YTF said you have to hand manage things. I personally don’t see this as a fault of the software. Close absolutely all of your sequences, twirl the Library closed in the Media Panel, then open up the sequences on your desktop in the order you want them to be left-to-right on the bottom. Like YTF, I tend to name mine SpotName-duration-code-aspect, and then on top of that if I have a ton I will separate them into individual Sequence Reels based on either base spot or aspect ratio. Then I kind of get into a rhythm, several hours magically disappear, and the spots have shipped.

If you’re confused about which sequence you’re editing, you can double click its tab and it will reveal it over in the Media Panel.

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Are you saying there is no room for improvement?