Are depths particular to movieclips?

Okay I feel kinda dumb for asking this, like I should know it intuitively by now, and maybe I"m thinking about it too much, but I couldn’t find the answer in Sen’s flash limits thread so here goes:

Are depths particular to the timeline of the movieclip you refer to it? In other words, let’s say you have actionscript to duplicate a movieclip 100 times, each time putting the new one on the next depth. But the code and the movieclip to be duplicated are themselves inside a movie clip. Are those depths inside that movieclip?

So for instance, let’s say the parent movieclip lies on the maintime. And on a layer above that is a button. Are those duplicated movieclips going to be visibly above or below the button?

A tangible example:
I would like to have a smoke/steam effect that uses duplicateMC and depths. But I need the effect to be underneath other movieclips at certain times. Can I just contain the effect inside a movieclip that sits on a layer below other movieclips on the maintimeline? Or do I need to stop the effect and do a swapdepth with whatever the last depth was?

Hope this isn’t too confusing. I’ve managed to confuse myself quite nicely. :beam: