Sometimes, when editing, one ends up with a situation, where the Duration of a Timeline is much longer, than expected, or intended. One of the possible causes of this is the presence of “Orphans” out beyond the point that the editor intended for the Timeline to end. These are most often forgotten Clips, portions of Clips, or sheared Frames. As the editor tightens the used Clips, their end-point moves to the left, leaving these Orphans out beyond where one normally is looking.
The first clue is that the point, with the intended end is sooner than the listed Duration of the Timeline, or when they go to Burn a DVD, the size of the file is much larger than expected, or intended. It pays to be ever vigilant for disparities like this, as the consequences can be totally unintended, like having a finished AV file, that after the intended end-point is reached, there is a long section of black video, followed by a few flashes, or Clips.
Why does this happen? If the editor has populated the Timeline, and then begins editing the Clips, the intended end-point will move to the left. Originally intended Clips can be left behind. There is another anomaly, that can occur and contribute to this. If one is editing with Snap (a very common and useful tool) ON, and they butt one Clip up against another with too much force, a Frame, or two, from the preceding Clip will be sheared off, and jump to the end of the other Clips on the Timeline, where it/they will be forgotten, or never even noticed. The trick is to NOT be too forceful, when butting Clips, with Snap ON. If Snap is OFF, then one can easily, and accidently, Overlay one Clip with the other, which is seldom what the editor wants. Snap will help prevent this, but one needs to be a bit soft-of-touch, so as to not shear off the Tail of the preceding Clip, creating those Orphans. This is a behavior that I have observed in PrE, but have never seen in PrPro, as one can jam a Clip into another pretty hard, and no shearing will take place. The only issue will be that they “jump” the preceding Clip’s Tail and just Overlay, but no sheared Orphans.
How do we find the Orphans? Well, there are several ways to find them. It can be done by hitting the End key, and observing where the CTI (Current Time Indicator w/ the red Edit Line) goes. Does it jump to beyond where the editor intend for the footage to end? If so, there are Orphans. One can hit the \ [Backslash key], to zoom out to the full Timeline, and observe what is displayed. If there is a gap, and then Video footage, you’ve found your Orphans. Making a comparison between the intended Duration and what is displayed as the Timeline’s Duration is another method. I use a combo of all, before I Export/Burn a Project, just to check.
What do we do with Orphans? This depends on what they are. If they are Clips, that were forgotten, then we need to decide if they are needed in the Timeline, and move them about as needed. If they were “second thoughts,” or unnecessary material, like those sheared Frames, we can probably just lasso them with the Cursor, and Delete them. When Deleted, the intended Duration and the reported Duration should now match up. The full Timeline view should show nothing out beyond the intended end of the Timeline. Hitting End should take us to the point where we intend for the Timeline to end.
Notice that I mentioned “Timeline” quite a bit. The Timeline View Mode is where we want to be working here, as we track down those Orphans.
While Orphans on the Timeline are not as bad as Snakes on a Plane, they can have unintended consequences.