Knight Lab Timeline JS3, an easy to use multimedia timeline tool

TimelineJS is an easy to use timeline creator developed by Northwestern University’s Knight Lab. The timelines created with TimelineJS can include a variety of multimedia, are easily publishable and embedded in websites, and is generated on demand for the user. This means that a timeline can be updated after being published — a very useful feature for projects which continue past a publication date. Further, TimelineJS is open source, highly customizable (for those technically inclined), and available through the Mozilla Public License (MPL), version 2.0. Most importantly, TimelineJS allows you to create beautiful projects with relative ease. You can see some examples of timelines created with TimelineJS by clicking here.

The documentation for TimelineJS is extensive and covers most of the basic topics, so there is no point in creating a basic tutorial in this blog post. A timeline can be created by following the 4 basic steps listed here. Instead of giving a crude tutorial, I will use this post to highlight some potential uses for this tool that are not immediately evident. With a little bit of work, this can be a fantastic tool to for film education and film production planning.

Two other uses for this tool come to mind for filmmakers and film students. The first is creating timelines that break down movies by shot in order to explain them more easily. I have prepared a timeline just for this purpose as an example, it can be seen below. Click here to see it in full screen.

The second use for this tool includes planning productions. With a little help, a director could easily upload his storyboards and visual inspirations for a scene into a timeline like this, making it easy for the crew to get a chronological list of inspirations for any given scene. A crew with iPads could have easy access to the entire archive of visual references for a scene without much trouble.

Timeline JS is a wonderful tool that, with a little bit of creativity, can be used for a variety of different purposes.

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