Talkin' Timewarps

My advice to all who timewarp: If your speed isn’t divisible by 100, you will have problems.

I’m fielding a few timewarp questions at work, so I’m making a post. Not about the present issue, but let me tell you a story from last year:

I was working on a big fancy commercial and there was one shot in the edit with a massive slow-down. LIke 25% speed. It was shot at 24fps. The offline motion estimation was a mess (never a good sign, since usually editors say, “well it looked good on Avid, maybe Flame’s algorithm isn’t as good.”) So I talked the clients out of it. Told them to cut a different shot in.

I explained that this shot would take a week to rebuild and it would probably look pretty lousy even then. They listened and were going to use a different shot. The supe walks in, says “Oh no, we can do it!” and they hand the shot to a good Nuke artist.

The shot took a week, the poor artist re-animating the whole thing by hand, and it looks horrible. It’s got way too much motion blur and no detail.

I bring this up, not just because timewarps are the pits, but because so often we end up eating the cost of this work out of a fear of forcing the client to compromise.

Film production is making compromises. We get work because someone can’t afford to fly to Spain for their commercial. We get work because someone can’t afford to build a functioning robot. We get work because someone can’t get the shot without a boom mic in it. All day long our clients compromise, but when it gets to VFX I see a fear of asking those same clients to compromise at all.

And I’m happy to report, that most of the time, if you are involved at a useful point (this may be the ONLY upside to never locking edits), you can talk clients out of making extra work for you.


AKA, just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.


Ive noticed a very gradual but very strong trend on the last 10 years where post companies are ‘afraid’? to push something back to editorial when it doesnt work. Its weird, i fight for it ALL the time, from getting the edit house to send good clean prep, with the correct lengths, clean setups etc. bad TC errors, Its like our producers don’t want to ‘bother’ them, but totally willing to waste our time over mistakes done by others. A conform should be the easiest thing in the world!

Editorial is usually pretty easy to get along with and they will fix things, so not sure really. Its this realationship that is sorely missing between post and edit that would help editors using Timewarps erroneously!


Yeah. I think in the abstract no one wants to fight with an external vendor, esp the editor as they’re seen as having far more creative input than us VFX folks. I get the logic of it: easier to fight with/abuse your team than risk the editor badmouthing you and losing future work.

But as you say, in almost all cases, everyone’s cool and happy to try and help. I can only think of real fight i got into with editorial. It was one of those jobs where the editor has done fifty comps and when I pushed back said, “I did it, it’s easy” which, hoo boy. Probably for the best that my email reply is lost to the ages.


I feel like sometimes I am a firefighter passing out smoke detectors on every street corner. How many times do I have to tell you if you need me you need me, but, you don’t always want to need me.

Yeah, it’s pretty terrible in the trailer world. Often a “creative” editor will only be given a selects reel to cut with and invariably they won’t have enough handles on a shot, so they fit to fill. Do I have access to the entire take? Of course I do, but so many times the finishing producer won’t have the balls to make the call to remove the TW so ultimately who has to spend four hours repairing artifacts in a panning shot of a chain link fence for a trailer that “has to ship tonight”? Hmmm I wonder! (You can tell that I’m not bitter in the least!) :slight_smile:


I always tell my clients to ramp down a little on the excessive resolution when shooting and shoot 48fps (72/96 for specific cases). Won’t have to motion estimate nearly as often. With all this bandwidth cameras can handle, we don’t need to waste it shooting 6k for a spot finishing in HD. Shoot 3k (or whatever makes sense for your deliverable) and 48fps.


So I accidentally categorized this in a Trust Level 3 Category. This is a great thread, so, putting it where more people will see and benefit.

Sorry @andy_dill, put this one on my tab.


I will say flame should try and put a little bit more R&D into their motion estimation, maybe a threshold slider to be able to control the weight of the warps, but I will also add the fluid morph which I am throwing into the timewarp category as a serious headache as well, I would say more so on episodic than commercial but flame really needs to come up with a simple solution in dealing with these issues, thats just my little rant not sure it helps or adds but what I am trying to say is I feel your pain.


“Add a Fluid Morph” is Feature Request FI-01448 on the Flame Feedback forum, for anyone like Mr @space_monkey who might also want this.

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Time to tell y’all about my time in the CIA…

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If I could vote more than once I would.


protip: leave your old job and get a new email.


for fluid morphs how are people doing them? Just out of curiosity, the way I have been lucky is find the first frame before the morph and last frame then twixtor the time and viola it sort of works but its still annoying, it’s also the easiest way I have found so the lazy way.


I prefer hiring bots to do all my dirty work, but 6 million new votes in a day might look fishy.

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I’ve got a batch setup that does them. It’s really cool. I can’t remember who made it–hopefully they come over here from FB and take credit.

(UPDATE: Tim Farrell @ytf made the setup)

heres a dropbox link:


paging @ytf. Your FluidMorph setup from 2015 lives on in the hearts (I mean Batches) in all of us.


Yup, that’s me.




Thank you Tim. That setup saved my bacon, and by the transitive property, the director’s bacon.

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