Timeline Playback

In general, the purpose of playback in Color is to preview how your various corrections look when the shot you’re working on is in motion or how the grades that are variously applied to a group of clips look when they’re played together. For this reason, playback works somewhat differently than in applications like Final Cut Pro.

In Color, playback is always constrained to the area of the Timeline from the In point to the Out point. If the playhead is already within this area, then playback begins at the current position of the playhead, and ends at the Out point. If the playhead happens to be outside of this area, it automatically jumps to the In point when you next initiate playback. This makes it faster to loop the playback of a specific shot or scene in the Timeline, which is a common operation during color correction sessions. For more information, see:

Starting and Stopping Playback

The following controls let you play and stop your program.

Important: When you start playback, you enter a mode in which you’re unable to work with the Color controls until you stop playback.

To play the program
Do one of the following:
  • Press the Space bar.

  • Press J to play backward, or L to play forward.

  • Click the Play Forward or Play Backward button.

    Figure. Playback controls.
To stop the program
Do one of the following:
  • Press the Space bar while the program is playing.

  • Press Escape.

  • Press K.

Color and JKL

Color has a partial implementation of the JKL playback controls found in other editing applications. However, the finer points of JKL, such as slow-motion and frame-by-frame playback, are not implemented.

Switching the Playback Mode

The playback mode lets you choose whether the In and Out points are automatically changed to match the duration of the current shot whenever you move the playhead or whether they remain set to a larger portion of your program.

Shot Mode

Shot mode is the default playback method. Whenever the playhead moves to a new shot, the Timeline In and Out points are automatically changed to match that shot’s Project In and Project Out points. As a result, playback is constrained to just that shot. If Loop Playback is turned on, the playhead will loop repeatedly over the current shot until playback is stopped.

Note: You can still click other shots in the Timeline to select them, but the In and Out points don’t change until the playhead is moved to intersect another shot.

Movie Mode

When you first enter movie mode, the Timeline In point is set to the first frame of the first shot in the Timeline, and the Out point is set to the last frame of the last shot. This allows you to play through as many shots as you like, previewing whole scenes of your project. While in movie mode, you can also set your own In and Out points wherever you want, and they won’t update when you move the playhead to another shot.

Placing Your Own In and Out Points

Regardless of what playback mode you’ve chosen, you can always manually set new In and Out points wherever you want to. When you set your own In and Out points, the playback mode changes to movie mode automatically.

To switch the playback mode
Do one of the following:
  • Choose Timeline > Toggle Playback Mode.

  • Press Shift-Control-M.

To customize the playback duration
  1. Move the playhead to the desired In point, then press I.

  2. Move the playhead to the desired Out point, then press O.

Loop Playback

If Loop Playback is turned on, the playhead jumps back to the In point whenever it reaches the Out point during playback.

To turn on loop playback
  1. Click the Setup room tab, then click the User Prefs tab.

  2. Click the Loop Playback button to turn it on.

Maintain Framerate

The Maintain Framerate setting in the User Prefs tab of the Setup room determines whether or not frames are dropped in order to maintain the project’s frame rate during playback.

  • If Maintain Framerate is turned on (the default): The current frame rate is maintained no matter what the current processing workload is. If the currently playing grade is processor-intensive, then frames will be dropped during playback to maintain the project’s frame rate. If not, playback occurs in real time.
  • If Maintain Framerate is turned off: Every frame is always played back. If the currently playing grade is processor-intensive, playback will slow in order to avoid dropping frames. If not, playback may actually occur at faster than real time.