What do your timelines look like?

I was just wondering what other people's timelines tended to look like. I wonder how people label and organise their tracks. My two videos (in progress) are instructional videos about some hobbyist electronics rubbish:


  • Unfortunately that's an "it depends" answer. I'm pretty specific in track naming most of the time, but, sometimes on something I whip out very quickly as a one-time thing, my timeline is sloppy. 

    For complex work I tend to start in a single comp sjot, but as things progress I'll start splitting off groups of layers into embedded composite shots and proxy them, but, again, it always depends on the project. 

    Using, say the "Essential Hitfilm" titles as an example, the entire animation was built in a single composite. In its current state the background animation (the Hitfilm logos and mortarboard, particles, etc) is a proxied Composite. Which HFE2017 was released, I needed to refine that. But there are lots of embedded comps as each Hitfilm badge is synchronized to a Height Map version for Caustics. 

    The "Hitfilm University" animation is it's own embedded comp. 

    The "Essential Hitfilm" text is it's own embedded comp. That's

    The "Episode Title" is its own embedded comp, with a 'Text Holder" embedded inside it. 

    Other than the episode title. All these embedded comps are proxied. For a new episode I just change the text holder, save the project and export the Editor Timeline. 

    I've done it this way, because, eventually, there will be the "Mastering Hitfilm" series. I'll just duplicate the Essential comp, change Essential to Mastering and proxy it. 

    I point this out cuz I know you don't like getting into a rabbit hole of embedded comps, but it's much faster in the long run and allows reuse of elements. I suspect a lot of your 100-200 layer Composites could be simplified and made more efficient with some nesting. When I render Essential Hitfilm titles the render takes 25 seconds because only the Neon Path animation changes. Everything else is proxied, but there are layers of nests, maybe six deep. But only three shots are proxied. 

  • +1 for "it depends."

    I haven't done anything terribly complex (in my mind), and tend to wing the layer labels as I go.  For my Clever Tagline videos, though, I have a template project that has a few layers pre-labeled, and all common elements -- opening/closing titles and music track -- already in the editor timeline, just needing to be slid into place to fit the timing of each new video.  Both animated title clips are pre-rendered image sequences (with alpha on the chalkboard).  For custom animated openers, I'm going back and forth between making them in the main edit project, and making them in a separate project, then exporting an image sequence to use in the main project.  In either case, there's plenty of embedding before things hit the final editor timeline, so in most cases I only have 2-3 layers of material in the main editor

  • @THX1139

    As like... EVERYONE said already, it depends. For my Film Empire episodes, I have a standard project file which I can copy and edit. I have 2 footage and 2 audio layers, a Letterbox and 2 layers for motion graphics, and then a music layer.

    For the short film I'm working on:

    • 3 Video Layers
    • 3 Audio Layers
    • A Letterbox
    • A CC Layer
    • 2 SFX Layers and
    • 2 Music Layers

    Hope that helps...

  • Hit-U tutorials are pretty basic. The track list is about like this:

    • (Optional) Video Overlays (this is if I do anything Picture in Picture and would be two tracks)
    • Text Overlays (lower thirds)
    • Screencap Video (This also includes the episode intro/titles)
    • Screencap Audio (re-dubs in post go into this track as well)
    • Background Music track.
    • Misc audio elements (the woosh of the Triem Logo, etc)
    • Other misc audio elements (the sound effects for the "Effects Lab" intro. Eventually I'll just bake those into the original Hitfilm project so those are rendered out with the episode title, not mixed in the individual episode

    So between 5 and 9 tracks.


  • I label everything, no matter how small or simple. Apparently, I am so stupid that I can't remember even the most obvious use of a track! :)

  • "I label everything, no matter how small or simple"

    ...  and I don't (until now) which is why I get into such a muddle with more complex shots 

  • @HitfilmSensei labeling tracks is paramount. 

  • LCD layout from top to bottom.

    • Text video track
    • Video overlay track (maybe not used). Maybe used as a temp test track when trying different clips. A lot of times I timeline trim here since there is normally room to do so.
    • Main video track
    • "Scratch" video track. Usually Muted. I store alternate trimmed video clips here when I am trying things out and organizing. 
    • Music audio track
    • One or more Sfx audio tracks
  • edited September 2017

    I never label the tracks, TBH I had no idea you could, but I still probably wont.

    I never do anything complex like a "proper film maker" I am a youtube gaming scrub. Generally I start with the main video and audio track at the center and work outwards.

    V2 - Overlay video/images

    V1 - Main Video

    A1 -Background and desktop audio

    A2 - Microphone Audio

    A3 - Music

    A4 - Sound effects

    This has worked pretty well for me so far. I am pretty impressed with other people's setups though. I may take a leaf out of your books if I try something more ambitious

    Actually if anyone has any advice on the best timeline layout to use I would appreciate it. My setup works decently well but the editing timeline can feel cramped sometimes.

  • Hi does anyone recall that tutorial about labeling the content using coloured planes in the editor, that might help? (like Opening, Build up, main bit, dramatic moment ,etc)

  • edited September 2017

    @Andy001z I had to search for a while but this might be the one to which you refer.  I was pretty sure @Aidin (where you hiding young man? Hope you avoided the worst of Irma) had done something on this topic. Took a while because I'm on the phone not at a screen right now.


  • @tddavis that's the one, well done. I believe @Aidin has been busy on his youtube channel (I get vids pop up oftern) and enjoying the summer break with some travel. Re Irma yes hope many of our Hitfilm community have been safe where ever they might be affected by this major storm.

  • @8Altin8 I am pretty much like you, a gaming scrub, that works pretty much the same way.

    Start at center and work out.

    While I knew I could name the tracks it never really dawned on me that I should and after seeing what everyone else is doing I am seeing the benefit of changing my wayward ways.

    I am 50 years old so this proves old dogs can learn new tricks. Lol

  • @ScottReid

    When working on short films, the timelines get pretty massive and you can get lost in your own work... Also when viewing back an old project, it's nice to see what is what. That's why I do it....


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