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Apple to Add Storyboard Tools to iMovie & Final Cut Pro X

1 - Apple to Add Storyboard Tools to iMove & Final Cut Pro X
Last week a patent filing revealed that Apple is planning to bring a teleprompter tool to both iMovie and Final Cut Pro X sometime in the future. This week, the adventure deepens. Apple now reveals that they're also thinking about bringing a new and novel Storyboard tool to both programs. This must have been an idea that Steve Jobs brought to the table being that it was an everyday tool used by his Pixar team. And to close off our report, we reveal an interesting patent figure that was published today that might have been an accident. The patent figure shows us a never seen before iPhone accessory. Time will tell if the idea ever pans out, but you should check it and weigh-in for yourself. 


Apple's Patent Background


Digital graphic design, image editing, audio editing, and video editing applications (hereafter collectively referred to as media content editing applications or media editing applications) provide graphical designers, media artists, and other users with the necessary tools to create a variety of media content. Examples of such applications include Apple's Final Cut Pro and iMovie. These applications give users the ability to edit, combine, transition, overlay, and piece together different media content in a variety of manners to create a resulting media project. The resulting media project specifies a particular sequenced composition of any number of text, audio clips, images, or video content that is used to create a media presentation.


Various media editing applications facilitate such composition through electronic means. Specifically, a computer or other electronic device with a processor and computer readable storage medium executes the media content editing application. In so doing, the computer generates a graphical interface that allows designers to digitally manipulate graphical representations of the media content to produce a desired result.


One difficulty in media editing is that a user cannot easily view clips that form a composite media presentation in a contextually meaningful way. Typically, the media editing application presents the clips as respective graphical objects (e.g., rectangular blocks) on a particular track spanning a timeline display area. However, this manner of clip presentation does not provide an overall visual context for the flow of the composite media presentation. Therefore, the user has difficulty in visually assessing contextually significant events in the composite media presentation when the clips are presented in the timeline.


Apple's Proposed Storyboard Tool for iMovie and Final Cut Pro X


Apple's invention details a media editing application that creates composite presentations, some embodiments provide a novel storyboard tool for displaying and editing a storyboard representation of a set of clips forming a composite presentation in the media editing application. The media editing application of some embodiments includes a composite display area for displaying different graphical representations of the set of clips on a particular track spanning a timeline. When grouped in chronological order, the set of clips in some embodiments can be referred to as a sequence of clips.


When the storyboard is opened, it displays the thumbnails in a sequential arrangement in the storyboard display area according to the chronological order of the sequence of media clips in the timeline display area. In this manner, a user can use the storyboard tool for visualizing the storyboard representation of the sequence of media clips.


Some embodiments provide zoom controls to adjust the size of the thumbnail images that are displayed in the storyboard display area. Some embodiments allow the user to navigate to a particular clip in the timeline display area. When the user selects a particular thumbnail in the storyboard display area, the storyboard tool in some embodiments moves a navigational element (e.g., playhead) in the composite display area to the position of an existing corresponding clip in the timeline display area. In this manner, the storyboard tool allows the user to navigate to clips in the timeline display area according to the selected thumbnail in the storyboard display area.


The storyboard tool of some embodiments can create a new empty storyboard called a clip storyboard. In these embodiments, the user can add a set of clips (e.g., from a media library) to include in the clip storyboard. The clips added to the clip storyboard are displayed in the storyboard display area as thumbnails that form a storyboard representation. The storyboard tool can then perform any of the above described operations to modify the order of thumbnails in the clip storyboard displayed in the storyboard display area. In some embodiments, the storyboard tool commits the set of thumbnails in the clip storyboard to the timeline display area by transferring the associated clips of the thumbnails to the timeline display area of the media editing application. Instead of this approach, or in conjunction with this approach, the storyboard tool in some embodiments transfers clips from a clip storyboard to the timeline display area automatically when a user selects a UI item (e.g., by clicking, pressing a hot key, etc.) for committing the clips in the clip storyboard to the timeline display area.


Some embodiments can output the storyboard representation by printing to a standard document format (such as a portable document format, XML, etc.). Moreover, some embodiments can share the storyboard representation as a shared sequence or clip storyboard over a network. Other users can then access the shared storyboard to view the storyboard representation.


Future Storyboard Tool for iMovie's User Interface


In Apple's patent FIG. 2, the future iMovie GUI 200 includes a new storyboard display area (275), a storyboard tool selection GUI item (285), and a browser (295).


2 - Apple presents future storyboard tool for iMovie's UI

Apple's patent FIG. 3 noted below illustrates another example of the new iMovie Storyboard. Specifically, this figure shows an example of the GUI 200 after the storyboard tool has been activated to display a storyboard representation of the sequence of media clips 265 in timeline display area of the composite display area. The set of thumbnail images, noted as patent point 310, form a storyboard representation for a sequence of media clips in the timeline display area of the composite display area.


3 - Storyboard sequences GUI for iMovie

In patent FIG. 19 Apple illustrates a way for reverting a sequence storyboard (1960) to match the sequential order of a sequence of clips (1940) in the composite display area (230). As shown, patent FIG. 19 illustrates the GUI at two stages (1910 and 1920) for performing a revert operation on the storyboard representation as displayed in the storyboard display area.


4 - Reverting a Sequence Storyboard

Patent Credits


Apple's patent application was originally filed in Q3 2010 by inventor Enrique Rodriguez who is currently a Quality Assurance Engineer at Apple. Enrique works on Quality Assurance testing of Final Cut Pro.


A New Patent May have Accidentally Revealed a Future iPhone Accessory


In a rather ho-hum patent filing concerning mechanisms for detecting devices that have been exposed to water – so that Apple could deny your damage claims if you try to pull a fast one – Apple may have accidentally revealed a future iPhone (iPod touch) accessory.


5 - Apple may have accidentally revealed a future forearm band accessory for iPhone

The mismatch of information is evident. Apple's patent points to the iPhone in context with the middle character and the iPad for the far right character. However, for the far left side, Apple's verbiage states that "In another instance, the mobile device 1 may be a digital media player, such as an iPod Touch device depicted in FIG. 1 as being worn around the user's waist." I don't see an example of a waist here; I see a forearm accessory and it has nothing to do with an iPod nano armband.


With Apple dreaming up new ways to utilize their new found admiration for coded magnets, you have to wonder if a nifty forearm iPod touch/iPhone holder accessory could be in the works incorporated such magnets. Our coded magnet report that we link to above was later updated to include a link to a video on the subject of coded magnets. Therein you'll find just how strong coded magnetic mating could really be.


On one hand it's just an interesting patent figure. On the other hand, how could Apple's artist have added such an accessory to a patent figure if they didn't already see it in Apple's design lab? Personally, I like the idea. How about you?


Notice: Patently Apple presents a detailed summary of patent applications with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for full and accurate details. Revelations found in patent applications shouldn't be interpreted as rumor or fast-tracked according to rumor timetables. Apple's patent applications have provided the Mac community with a clear heads-up on some of Apple's greatest product trends including the iPod, iPhone, iPad, iOS cameras, LED displays, iCloud services for iTunes and more. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.


TX - Steve Jobs - Think Different Forevermore


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