Reeling and a rocking

As we are asked “vertical or horizontal reels?” on the sign up page…can i throw out the alternate view “whats the point?”

As a self taught editor of 30yrs+, on most things from low band umatic throught to Flame, reels are a concept i have been aware of since seeing a Quantel Harry demo, but have never understood or used.

Is there a video anywhere that explains and shows why reels are used and how? I’m probably just stuck in my own little rut, but if theres a way to make Flaming more efficient then i’d like to know.

Hi @Lightningad,

Working horizontal or vertical is more a “fun” topic between long-time Flame artists and should not be taken too seriously. You are correct in assuming that the concept does goes back to the old film reels (and possibly Q software which I cannot confirm :slight_smile: ).

On a more serious note, I don’t believe I have done any videos that go into major detail concerning the reels but it’s easy to explain here.

  • Firstly, the reels are another way to represent your media. You see the same thing in the media panel
  • So in terms of media management operations, they are pretty much identical via hotkeys or context menus.
  • Some people like the gestural way of scrolling through the clips on the reel as a more interactive Flame experience.
  • Taking this up a level, you can display an entire clip’s frames by uncollapsing a clip ( C ). You can then scroll the reel and look for specific frames. A good use-case is to locate all the cuts in a pre-edited clip that was imported. (I know we have automated scene detection but this can work too)
  • So it’s easy to split clips in half gesturally as well as join clips together without the need to create a sequence. This forces any connected clips to take on the first clips metadata (Which you may not want)
  • You could also replace portions of clips by eye matching frames in a clip and dropping one on top of the other. All these actions are much more gestural then the “generic” Timeline workflow.
  • It’s also worth mentioning that you can also uncollapse a sequence clip and see every frame as well. You can add to the sequence, replace clips etc via the reels.

So there is a lot of interactive operations you can perform directly on the frames which are described as “Flame-like”.

However, considering the complexity of most timelines these days, I would always advise using the Reels for simple tasks. For example, multi-layered timelines would be a nightmare if you just had reels. We have a way of working with layers but seeing the segments in the visual Timeline makes more sense.

I could go on about using Reels and I have no doubt that others may contribute or have varying opinions but thats what I like about Flame. So many ways to do one thing. You can use the Reels if you choose but it is not a necessity for every job.



hi Grant - i like the sound of splitting up connected shots…lots of the stuff i work on is supplied pre-edited (tvcs from other countries). Once you have opened up the frames with C, how would you then split it up?

Hi Adam,

just scroll to the frames where a cut happens and drag the cursor (either up or down) on the connection between those two frames to split the clip.


sounds like fun! thanks Grant


So, full disclosure. That text field? When I was setting up the site I found this extra available text field and I was under the impression that it was something else entirely. I had no idea that it was visible on the sign up page. I mean, I already created my account, why would I log out and try to sign up again? It took me a solid two weeks to put all the pieces together!

As Grant said, it’s a fun thing that’s stuck around various Flame forums over the years. For me, when someone asks a question that has a neither right or wrong answer, and is purely only a matter of opinion, and a mostly worthless reason for being asked, I’ll just reply “horizontal reels.”

Boxers or briefs? Horizontal reels. Bagels or croissants? Horizontal reels. Tupac or Biggie? Horizontal reels.

Now that it’s there, I kinda like it. Modifying the sign up page with a logo or something more welcoming has sadly fallen to the bottom of my priority list and therefore that text field is the only thing that tells Flame artists “oh, okay then, I must be at the right place.”

So, consider it kitch and mind it no attention. I do dig the responses I get. @greg states in his… Horizontal, like the direction my body is laying the day i use vertical reels.

Others link to their showreel.

Hope this helps. :slight_smile:


i wasn’t commenting on the purpose of the question…pretty obvious its a bit of fun.
However, it did serve to remind me that reels are one of those flame-centric functions that i had never tried to understand, and maybe i should try.

Swipe off screen took me ages to try, so why not reels?

and whenever i hear the phrase “how long is a piece of string?” i always confuse everyone by replying instantly “twice half its length.” Factually correct but utter bollocks!



worth it to see the looks of total confusion!

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I was doing a job with Kirk Balden and he made fun of me for using horizontal reels (and now what we’d call “reverse” where the head is to the right side of frame). I switched to vertical to spite him. He retaliated by playing a Feist song (bit of a long story there). I don’t remember what we were working on, but that was a fun time.

Now I mostly use the default reel style because as Grant said, editing functions in flame are better and more involved now so working on clips manually is less common. I still love the tactile feel of it however. It’s such a nice bridge between film and video. A modern Steenbeck.

I will say working vertical heads down (weirdly not the reverse option) is sicko shit. The other three ways are fine.

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Explain yourself @kirk. Is this (rightful hazing) true?

It certainly sounds true. I do remember playing the Feist song to annoy @andy_dill whenever possible (AND I’LL DO IT AGAIN), and due to dyslexia or simple stupidity, I basically couldn’t use the flame desktop until someone (Steve Scott or Andy Mac, don’t remember which) suggested I go vertical. I was pretty militant about it for the next ten or fifteen years.

However, I don’t remember this particular incident of hazing, and it probably isn’t even in the top ten meanest things I’ve done to Andy. He ordered me to punch him in the face on my thirtieth birthday, for example. Twice.


I don’t use reels :man_shrugging:
I thought they were just to look cool back when clients camped out. Like color grading panels, or audio mixing boards.
Change my mind :coffee:

I’m a post anniversary user as well. Never used reels that much. But, I love it for long multi tasks. Like if I have to add A slate to 30 slate less items. Or I have to remove slates from 45 videos.

i tried a gestural edit to split up a clip using reels …me likey…me likey a lot!!

In the early early days of flame, when it was just vert or horizontal and no reverse direction, the clips on a desktop were saved in the opposite visual order, (left to right) in the library, then they would appear when loaded to the desktop (which was right to left).

After a week I switched to vertical and never looked back… until Flame Premium with the batch enabled Smoke was released and then it was it was fuck that reel shit…

Other than nostalgia why are we hanging on to them? It’s really just a novelty at this point and despite best efforts, post anniversary reels never felt remotely as solid as pre when drawing thumbnails and lacked all the speed of muscle memory (that was dubiously traded for constantly changing numbers of visible reels, thereby constantly changing the positions of clips and their elastic bands.) The whole concept got wrecked. My 2cents…

I don’t use them much, but I know many flame artists who do. They use a reel-based desktop-centric work-flow. Why lose them? Do they irk you? I think there must be items higher on the list for “going-away” than reels. I’ll start the list: Gmasks!

“Irk” would be a misnomer. Feels more like an ex that that never got over the party phase, maybe developed some addiction issues or some other bad habits and you occasionally bump into them while out and can’t help but feel both pity and shame mixed with a slight longing for who they used to be.

Yes Gmasks are unnecessary, but the influence of reels is felts throughout the entirety of Flame. Perhaps it’s as someone mentioned, a part of the charm…

No…i use gmasks more than any other node. I’d be lost without them.

She means the old skool gmasks. Gmask tracer and action gmasks are WAY more interactive and better.