Sequences vs Compositions in Descript Storyboard

Understand the distinction between sequences and compositions in Descript Storyboard.

Sequences and Compositions in Descript Storyboard are the first things you need to familiarize yourself with as they are the most important. New Descript users usually have difficulty with the distinction between the two so I'll attempt to explain in this article.

What are Descript sequences?

Sequences are the closest you're going to get in Descript Storyboard to a multi-track audio or video editor. Think Adobe Audition, Adobe Premiere, DaVinci Resolve, Camtasia... that.

Sequences allow you to assemble multiple audio and video files, synchronise them and play them. If you have an interview recorded via Zoom or Riverside or another platform that supports storing separate tracks for each speaker, then you can bring those into Descript, synchronise them in a sequence and that's your assembled 'episode'.

How do I create a sequence?

You can create a sequence from one or more files. Upload the files to Descript by going to the Media Bin at the top:

Add files to your project in the Media Bin

You don't have to worry about transcribing the files at this time. It won't affect what you do next.

Select the files (hold down Shift), and create a sequence from them:

Creating a sequence from two files

If you have other files and you can't use Shift to select them all, just go to the 'Add files' button on the top-right of the Media Bin and choose "Sequence" to create a blank sequence:

Create a sequence from scratch

As soon as the sequence editor opens up, go to the Add media button on the top right, and add your files one by one, each time selecting 'Add as new track':

Add files to the sequence one by one as new tracks

When you've finished adding all your files, you can sync them by moving them left or right on their tracks using the Select tool:

Use the Select tool to move tracks backwards and forwards to sync them

Finally, when you're done creating your sequence, click the blue DONE button at the top, and close it.

Go back to the Media Bin, right-click your new sequence (it might be inside the 'Sequences' folder), and either choose "Create composition from file" or drag it to your existing composition, if you have one selected:

There you go, that's how you create a sequence in Descript Storyboard from scratch. Now, when you make edits in your composition, all changes will stay in sync because you'll be editing, cutting, all tracks at the same time.

What are compositions for in Descript?

You can create compositions directly from files or from sequences. Compositions allow you to edit your transcription and content, arrange elements on screen such as annotations, photos, other video clips, and have them play at the appropriate time.

Yes, you can create compositions from files, but you can't create a composition from a multi-track interview, for example, and have those audio or video files keep in sync when you make edits. That's when you want to create a composition from a sequence.

How do compositions and sequences work together?

You can create a composition from a sequence. You can't create a sequence from a composition. So it doesn't go both ways.

A composition is also the only thing you can export out of Descript as a final product. After you've made all your edits, text corrections, added music, B-roll, images, annotations, captions, and other elements to your composition, you can export it as a video (or audio, if you're editing an audio-only piece). Then that composition becomes your audio or video file.

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