Sequencer Overview

The Sequencer Editor gives users the ability to create in-game cinematics through a specialized multi-track editor (similar to Matinee ). By creating Level Sequences and adding Tracks, users can define the makeup of each Track, which will determine the content for the scene. Tracks can consist of things like Animations (for animating a character), Transformations (moving things around in the scene), Audio (for including music or sound effects), as well as several other Track types.

Creating Level Sequences

The Level Sequence is the "container" for your cinematic scenes, and must be created in order to begin working inside of the Sequencer Editor. You can create a Level Sequence and directly place it inside of your level by choosing to create one from the Toolbar under Cinematics (as seen below).


This will add it to the level, at which point it can be selected and its properties can be manipulated in the Details panel, similar to a Matinee Actor. In the Details panel (below), you can define whether the Level Sequence will automatically play upon level start, the Play Rate for the sequence, whether the sequence should loop, and other settings.


How this differs from Matinee, is that Level Sequences are self-contained assets, and you can embed a Level Sequence within another Level Sequence. For example, you can create a Level Sequence that has animated characters, cameras, etc. as one scene that is part of a larger cinematic sequence.

An alternate method of creating Level Sequences can be performed in the Content Browser by clicking the Add New button and selecting Level Sequence under Animation. When doing so in this manner, you are creating the Level Sequence asset, but haven't placed it in a level.


Adding Tracks to Sequencer

After creating a Level Sequence, double-click on it to open the Sequencer Editor so that you can begin creating your cinematic.


Above, we have a newly-created, empty Level Sequence.

The first thing you will need to do is add a Track type, which you can do from the Add button's drop-down menu.


From the drop-down menu, you will see several Track types you can select from, as the ability to add an Actor To Sequencer. The Actor To Sequencer option will enable you to add any Actors that you have selected in your level at the time to Sequencer so that you can manipulate them during your scene.

Typically, if you are creating a cinematic that has characters, animals, creatures, or anything along those lines that will animate and move, you will have a Skeletal Mesh for it, which you will need to add to Sequencer. For example, below, we have a Skeletal Mesh of a bear that we have placed in our level. With it selected, we can then click the Add button in Sequencer and choose Actor To Sequencer so that we can add it and control it through the Sequencer Editor.


Once we have added our Skeletal Mesh, we can then add Sub-tracks to affect that Skeletal Mesh.


Based on the type of Track you create, Sub-Tracks may be added and the ability to add Sub-Tracks may be available.

Below, we select the Animation Sub-Track and assign an Animation for our Skeletal Mesh Bear to play.

Possessables vs. Spawnables

Sequencer is very similar to Matinee in that it uses the concept of "possessables", meaning that an Actor exists in the level and Sequencer will take possession of it in order to apply changes you make to it via Sequencer. As illustrated in our bear example above, you can place a Skeletal Mesh in the level and add it to Sequencer, then inside Sequencer, you can add an Animation Track associated with the Skeletal Mesh and assign different animations for it to play during your scene. In this instance, we are "possessing" the Skeletal Mesh that exists in the level in order to tell it what to do.

Sequencer also includes another form of manipulation, which is referred to as "spawnables", meaning that the object we are possessing does not yet exist, so Sequencer will "spawn" the object when told to, and will have authority over it to determine its lifecycle. Since Sequencer spawns and owns the object, the object is not bound to a particular level. Anything marked as "spawnable" can be used in any level, so you could create a scene and have it take place in any environment and reuse it in new levels without having to recreate it.

Please see Creating Spawnables for more information.

Keyframing Scenes

If you are familiar with most animation tools, the concept of using Keyframes to drive content may be familiar to you. Sequencer allows you to manipulate your content by adding Keys (referred to as "Keyframing") with defined properties at desired points along a timeline. Upon reaching those keys in the Timeline, the properties you have defined at each keyframe are updated to reflect the values you've entered.

A sample scene below illustrates the process of adding movement by keyframing different transformations of a Skeletal Mesh Actor.

Above, we added a keyframe for the starting position, and another keyframe for the ending position, for the Location track.

You can add a keyframe by selecting a track and pressing Enter, or by clicking the "add keyframe" button on each track.


Some properties in the Details panel of an Actor can be keyframed directly by clicking the "add keyframe" button next to each property.


Above, keyframe buttons are shown for the Current Focal Length and Aperture settings of a Cine Camera Actor.

With a Track containing Keyframes selected, you can press the , (comma) and . (period) keys to quickly move between each placed keyframe.

With a key (or multiple keys or sections) selected, you can use the Transform Keys/Sections tools to reposition and rescale your selection.


You can also open the Transform Keys/Selection tools by pressing Ctrl+M.

This will allow you offset the keys/selection by a specified amount or the amount to scale the keys/section by the specified time.

Playback Range

Sequencer will play back your scenes based on the defined Start and Stop playback ranges (green/red markers below).


Above, our content contains two shots which end at frame 600, but our sequence extends to frame 1000, resulting in dead space.

You can drag the Start and Stop Playback markers to fit your content, or there is an option that can be set which will keep your content within these ranges. You can find this option under the Sequencer Options drop-down menu, called Keep Playback Range In Section Bounds.


When working with Shot Tracks and viewing sequences from the Master level as well as the Shot level, we evaluate the entire sequence at its relative time. In the image below we have two red markers for the ending of playback ranges, the first denotes the end of the Shot (from the Shot level) while the second denotes the end of the Master Sequence. What is happening in this example is that our Shot0020_001 is set to use 50 frames but we've set it to use 100 frames on the Master Level.


If we dive into our Shot, the first red marker denotes the end of the Shot at frame 50, while the second red marker denotes the end of the Shot at the master level.


Frames 50 through 100 are grayed out to indicate that they are not being considered for evaluation. To address the difference in length, we could increase the amount of frames being evaluated at the Shot level to 100 or at the Master Sequence level, we could reduce the length of the Shot to 50 frames.

Specialized Viewports

Sequencer allows you to use specialized viewports to make the editing process easier.


These Cinematic Viewports give a better idea of what the scene will look like, and can be enabled from the Viewport options button.

Cinematic Actors

From the Modes panel, under Cinematic, there are three Cinematic Actors you can use for crafting your cinematics.


You can drag any of these into your level then add it to Sequencer, or you can drag it into Sequencer (which will make it a Spawnable).

Camera Rig Crane

The Camera Rig Crane Actor can be used to simulate crane-like camera movements that are used in traditional filmmaking.


You can attach a Camera to the Camera Rig Crane Actor, then manipulate the crane's movement through the Details panel and Crane Controls values. Those values can affect the Crane Pitch, Crane Yaw, and Crane Arm Length. These values can be keyframed within Sequencer, which will allow you to adjust them during your cinematics (as desired).

Please see Shooting from a Camera Rig Crane for more information.

Camera Rig Rail

The Camera Rig Rail Actor is a spline based tool that a Camera can be attached to, which provides a "path" for movement.


You can select each spline point and alter the tangents to produce the path you want your camera to follow. The camera that is attached to the rail can be rotated independently, and the camera's position on the rail can be adjusted with the Current Position on Rail property inside of the Details panel. This value can also be keyframed.

Please see Shooting from a Camera Rig Rail for more information.

Cine Camera Actor

The Cine Camera Actor is similar to the default Camera Actor. However, additional Camera Settings are available.


Cine Camera Actor (black camera) and default Camera Actor (blue camera) pictured above.

The Cine Camera Actor includes settings for Look at Tracking (following an Actor), Filmback Settings (16:9 DSLR, Super 8mm, 35mm VistaVision, etc.), Lens and Focus Settings, as well as Current Aperture and Focus Distances. While using a normal Camera Actor is perfectly fine, to achieve a more cinematic feel and expose more camera settings, it is recommended that you shoot your scenes with a Cine Camera Actor.

Please see Using Cine Camera Actors for more information.

Sequence Recording

One tool you can use to narrow down your content creation time is to use the Sequence Recorder to record gameplay (or Level Sequences) in order to generate new Level Sequence assets.

Add a new recording, pick an Actor to record, and click Record to start capturing. When stopping the recording, new Level Sequence assets will be created. You can then incorporate them into your existing cinematic, or you can use pieces from the recorded Level Sequence to create new sequences. You can also record audio to go along with your recorded sequence from an external microphone, which will allow you to narrate your sequence, or provide instructions while recording level editor actions.

Please see Recording Gameplay for more information.

Render Movie Settings

Within Sequencer, you can choose to render out your cinematic to a Video, or Image Sequence, from the Render Movie Settings option.


This will display the Render Movie Settings window, which you can use to define how your scene is rendered.


Click the Capture Movie button to start the capture process of recording your scene.

Custom Burn-ins

When creating and rendering out cinematic movies, you may want to include overlays with information about the scene you are viewing such as the name of the shot, the date, time or frame information. These overlays are referred to as Burn Ins as they are burned into the movie when it is rendered out. Often times you will see this process as part of real world movie making to provide directors, editors or anyone viewing the scene with contextual information about the scene (some will even be watermarked with copyright information).

Please see Applying Burn Ins for a step-by-step guide on using burn-ins.

Import/Export EDLs

Sequencer in Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) not only allows you to render and export your entire cinematic, but you can also export your cinematic split up into each of your shots along with an Edit Decision List (EDL), which is a file that can be used with most video editing applications like Premiere, Avid or Final Cut.

As part of exporting an EDL, you can also add Frame Handles automatically to each of your shots, and specify the number of frames you'd like to add.


Please see Importing & Exporting Edit Decision Lists (EDLs) for a step-by-step guide on using EDLs.

Custom Render Passes

If you are looking to export your cinematic in different render passes, you can do so from the Render Movie Settings window. This will allow you to specify the render pass(es) to use when exporting your sequence. You can also export HDR (high dynamic-range) data as .exr files, and define compression and color gamut settings.

Please see Exporting Custom Render Passes for more information.

Workflow Considerations

Once you have a basic understanding of how the Sequencer Editor works, you may want to consider how you will use the tool (there are many ways to author content). Whether you create all of your content within a single Level Sequence, embed sequences within one another and use a Master sequence to control them all, or use a Master Sequence asset to get started, Sequencer offers multiple ways in which you can generate your cinematics.

Please see Workflow Considerations for more information.