Tinderbox Forum

Using Timeline to set up a shooting script

Here’s something that seems as if it should be easy, and for which Timeline seems the right tool. But I’m not sure just how to get started.


  • I’m preparing a movie-script-like “storyboard” layout, for an upcoming multi-media presentation.

  • I have a set amount of time to work with, let’s say 20 minutes; and a set number of themes to cover, each of them with its own associated info. This extra info includes: which visuals will accompany each theme; which sub-themes will go into each section; and, crucially, how many minutes each section will take.

  • In theory, I’d love to do this with a timeline, which ran in half-minute increments from time 0.0 to time 20.0. Then I could see the way the various themes fit, in terms of how much time each of them occupied, and mix and match to taste.

But how do I set up a timeline to use my arbitrary unit (minutes, or half minutes) rather than actual date data? If I set up a new date-type Key Attribute, something like $RunningTime, can I use that as the basis for the timeline, rather than normal dates? And what’s the simplest guide to getting a timeline going in the first place?

Thanks for any pointers.

I don’t know if that could help, but I used a very simple timeline in order to visualize the three parts of a lecture I gave two years ago :

Dominique, thanks for this.

For my purposes, it’s ended up being simplest just to so this with a spreadsheet, but I appreciate the suggestion and example.

Here is a 1 hour (total) timeline I set up using my old ‘starter’ file. I set the containers ‘start’ to ‘15/02/2013, 09:00’ and the ‘end’ to ‘15/02/2013, 10:00’. The screen-grab is at maximum view zoom-in, so I guess a period shorter than 1 hour won’t fill any more space. Also, I don’t think you get any timescale markers at this duration zoom:

You are right that you can’t set arbitrary time units. I just varied the time (hh:mm) of the $StartDate and $EndDate for each note, i.e. same d/m/y but differing times.

You do mention half minutes, which in date-time terms is 30 seconds. Tinderbox’s use/observance of seconds is poorly documented.For instance only some methods allow you to explicitly set seconds but if you use KAs the seconds potion if time is excluded and (I think) not rounded. I don’t think many folk have needed <1 minute granularity so seconds are a bit of a grey area.

But, thinking laterally, you could double your times so the minimum time is 1 minute and your 1 hour presentation would display as two whilst allowing you to do the sort of ‘fitting’ experiments described.

Or, have you tried using Interval-type data - that just hold time. Using the latter you could set $StartTime equal to $EndTime of the previous object and $EndTime to the note’s own $StartTime plus the interval.

So, there are a few different approaches that might let you get started without any features timeline currently doesn’t have.

Mark, thanks, appreciate this as well. Will play around with some options. Thanks jf