Post Production

Art of the Cut addendum – detail on the Mission: Impossible – Fallout timeline from Eddie Hamilton, ACE

In the Art of the Cut interview with Eddie Hamilton, ACE, there was a screenshot of a complex Avid timeline. To best understand this timeline I’ve included it as a separate article to the interview.  The timeline is a testament to the fastidious organizational skills of Hamilton and his world-class editorial team.

To see the timeline in greater detail, right-click or option-click on the image to see a contextual menu in which you can open the timeline in its own browser window and zoom in as far as you want from there. The full size of the image is 6932 x 2140

The timeline breakdown is as follows:

Here’s the VIDEO breakdown:

V1:  Plain drama shots with nothing done to them
V2:  Drama shots with 2D effects added
V3:  Drama shots with respeeds
V4:  Dustbusted drama shots
V5:  Final VFX versions (note they’re all green clips which means “final”)
V6:  VFX update to DI – Any shots on this track need to be sent to the DI, then dropped down onto V5 to indicate this has been done (there are no clips on this track because everything in Reel 1 had been sent to the DI by this point)
V7:  Colour FX where I tweaked the dailies grade (as you can see the dailies grade was excellent because I didn’t need to tweak the colour much on this Reel)
V8:  Subtitles – could be locator cards, opening credits or actual subtitles
V9:  Edit notes – I put the academy leader on this track so I know I’ve selected the correct track when pressing play to watch the reel, plus I use the SubCap tool to add notes for the VFX team (add camera shake, dynamic resize etc)
V10:  Letterbox track – standard 2.39 anamorphic 35mm hard mask. For later Reels where IMAX footage exists, this track has different colour sections to indicate where we’re using 1.90 IMAX aspect ratio footage.
V11:  VFX Titles which label each VFX shot (with a frame counter embedded), white markers on each clip also contain the VFX shot number for easy location
V12:  A second layer of VFX Titles for when two VFX shots overlap (using a dissolve for example)
V13:  VFX plates (subclips of the original plate with the exact length that has been turned over) – if I roll the head or tail of these out and hit the end of the clip I know I’ve trimmed beyond the handles
V14:  A second later of VFX plates for when there’s multiple elements in a shot (foreground and background maybe), or when a transition is used between two VFX shots
V15:  A DI tracker clip which contains a video mixdown of whichever previous version of the Reel the DI are currently working with. When I make a change in the Reel, a cut or space will appear in this track to give a visual representation of how many tweaks have been made since the last DI turnover
V16:  A nested track containing every single version of each VFX shot so we can review previous versions easily
V17:  New VFX EH – When a new VFX shot has been approved by Jody Johnson (VFX supervisor), the clips are put on this track I can see what VFX shots I need to review and decide if they’re of appropriate quality to drop into the movie (on V5)
V18:  New VFX JJ – This track is for the VFX editors to add new VFX shots which need to be reviewed by Jody before being moved down onto my track below
V19:  Dust-Bust – These are 3D shots that have received dust busting
V20:  3D B Subs – These are 3D shots where the depth convergence has been approved but the roto is still rough
V21:  3D A Subs – These are 3D shots which are finished (or nearly finished) where the depth and roto is final
V22:  3D SubTitles – 3D versions of whatever is on V8 (usually 3D text sits in negative space in front of the main image)
V23:  Final DI Checker – A final confidence checker from Molinare sent back to Editorial to make sure the DI timeline matches the Avid timeline exactly

Here’s the AUDIO breakdown:

A1-A6:  Mono Dialogue. Usually A1-A4 is location recordings, A5 is temp ADR, A6 is cleaned up dialogue from the sound post team
A7:  Final 5.1 Dialogue stem
A8-A11:  Mono Effects
A12-A17:  Stereo Effects – I usually put stereo background atmos on A17 and pan it 25% back into the room so a little plays in the surrounds
A18:  Final 5.1 Effects stem
A19:  Final 5.1 Background stem
A20-A22:  Stereo Music (with an RTAS UM226 plugin on every track to upmix the stereo sound into 5.1 in realtime)
A23:  Final 5.1 Music stem

Note that A7, A18, A19 and A23 are solo’d so Hamilton only hears the finished 5.1 sound mix.

Support ProVideo Coalition
Shop with Filmtools Logo

Share Our Article

Steve Hullfish has been producing and editing award-winning television since the mid-1980s. He has written six books, and edited four theatrical feature films (including two Number One New Movies in the US). He has lectured…

Leave a Reply

2 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
Stephen John HullfishScottMatthew MorrisFrank Smith Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Frank Smith
Frank Smith

Thank you very much!

Matthew Morris
Matthew Morris

Hey Steve absolutely love your website and all the unbelievable information that we receive out of it! I have a question: on Video Track 10, they have a 2,39 letterbox burn-in; I noticed that on the Avengers article you did, I noticed it too. I thought that aspect ratios were something that was set in a timeline sequence i.e. setting your sequence to the display resolution of what you want it to be- 1.85. 2.35, 1.33 etc (maybe it’s because I work mostly in Premiere and not too experienced with Avid) and not put in as an added black bar.… Read more »


This is a good question, I am also wondering the same!

Stephen John Hullfish
Stephen John Hullfish

You can set this in the project settings in Avid (you can’t have timeline different from project in Avid), but there are no TV sets that are 2.39. You could make a 2.39 project, but you wouldn’t be able to include any information in the area between the 2.39 and the 1.85 if you want to burn something in. I think most editors create the project for the main TV they’re outputting to in their suite. This could change. I am currently editing a 2.39 movie in a 1920×1080 project in Avid. One of the main benefits to editing 2.39… Read more »

popup close button