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Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 6: Selecting Tracks

Mastering Media Composers Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 6

This is the sixth lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts. Each lesson tackles a handful of shortcuts. By the end of all the lessons you should be flying through your editing sessions.

This isn’t just any old list of shortcuts. For many of them I explain exactly how they work and how I use them everyday as a professional editor.

If you’re just getting started, no worries. You can take this lesson and circle back to the previous lessons. You can find all the lessons here.

This lesson focuses on selecting (or deselecting) tracks. Let’s get started!

Lesson 6 Shortcuts — Selecting Tracks

Lesson 6 Shortcuts — Selecting Tracks

Selecting (or Deselecting) Tracks

The next several shortcuts will either select (activate) or deselect (deactivate) a track(s). In the image below tracks V1-V5 are selected (or active) and all the rest of the tracks are not selected (or deselected or deactivated). Make sense?

Tracks Selected vs. Deselected

Tracks Selected vs. Deselected

I feel like a broken record saying all these shortcuts are important, but I find I use most of these shortcuts all the time.

V2

V2

V2

Shortcut: 7 (Top Row)

Hitting 7 will select or deselect Track V2.

V1

V1

V1

Shortcut: 8 (Top Row)

Hitting 8 will select or deselect Track V1.

A1

A1

A1

Shortcut: 9 (Top Row)

Hitting 9 will select or deselect Track A1.

A2

A2

A2

Shortcut: 0 (Top Row)

Hitting 0 will select or deselect Track A2.

A3

A3

A3

Shortcut: – (Minus/Dash/Hyphen) (Top Row)

Hitting – (aka Minus aka Dash aka Hyphen) will select or deselect Track A3.

A4

A4

A4

Shortcut: = (Equals) (Top Row)

Hitting = (Equals) will select or deselect Track A4.

Select All Tracks

Shortcut: Cmd+A (Mac) | Ctrl+A (PC)

With the Timeline window active, this shortcut will select all tracks in the Timeline.

Deselect All Tracks

Shortcut: Cmd+Shift+A (Mac) | Ctrl+Shift+A (PC)

With the Timeline window active, this shortcut will deselect all the tracks in the Timeline.

What’s Next?

That’s all the shortcuts for Lesson 6 of Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts. What’d you think? Learn anything new?

Give me a shout if you have any questions. Leave a comment below, message me through my contact page or send me an email – josh [at] editvideofaster.com.

Ready for Lesson 7? Click here (or the image below) to go to it.

– Josh

Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 5: Modes, Trimming and Slipping

Mastering Media Composers Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 5

This is the fifth lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts. Each lesson tackles a handful of shortcuts. By the end of all the lessons you should be flying through your editing sessions.

This isn’t just any old list of shortcuts. For many of them I explain exactly how they work and how I use them everyday as a professional editor.

If you’re just getting started, no worries. You can take this lesson and circle back to the previous lessons. You can find all the lessons here.

This lesson focuses on modes, trimming and slipping. Let’s get started!

Lesson 5 Shortcuts — Modes, Trimming and Slipping

Modes and Trimming

Source/Record Mode

Source/Record Mode

Source/Record Mode

Shortcut: Y

Source/Record Mode is the mode you’re going to be in for the most part. This shortcut doesn’t do much unless you are not in Source/Record Mode. This shortcut will leave whatever mode you’re in and put you into Source/Record Mode.

Trim Mode

Trim Mode

Trim Mode

Shortcut: U

Hitting U will enter you into Trim Mode putting rollers around the nearest edit point to the Time Position Indicator on the selected tracks (did you follow that?). By default you’ll have the double pink rollers. This means when you add to one side you subtract from the other.

Another way to think about the double pink rollers is that you are not adding any time to the track and/or sequence (see Lesson 4’s section on Locked vs. Unlocked tracks).

Note that hitting U again will exit you from Trim Mode.

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Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 4: Editing

Mastering Media Composers Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 4

This is the fourth lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts. Each lesson tackles a handful of shortcuts. Those shortcuts should be practiced until the next lesson in a few days. By the end of the lessons you should be flying through your editing sessions.

This isn’t just any old list of shortcuts. For many of them I explain how they work and how I use them everyday as a professional editor.

If you’re just getting started, no worries. You can take this lesson and circle back to the previous lessons. You can find all the lessons here.

This lesson focuses on editing. By editing I mean putting clips in and removing clips from the timeline. There’s only a few shortcuts in this lesson but they’re some of the most valuable and useful functions in Media Composer. Let’s get started!

PS – There’s a pop quiz that I need you to give me an answer to at the end of the lesson.

Lesson 4 Shortcuts -- Editing

Lesson 4 Shortcuts — Editing

Editing

Before we get started I want to give a quick rundown on locked vs. unlocked tracks. If you are familiar with these already then skip ahead. If not, I recommend reading this section.

Locked vs. Unlocked Tracks

Watch the video and/or read below 😀

You have the choice to lock or unlock a timeline track. I strongly recommend locking your tracks. In fact, I pretty much only edit with my tracks locked. There are a handful of times where it’s more useful for me to unlock them but 99% of the time they’re locked.

There’s a rectangle on each track in between the track name and the monitor box (see image). When it’s highlighted and there’s a black slanted rectangle thing in it then the track is locked. If it isn’t highlighted and there isn’t a black slanted rectangle thing then it is unlocked. Tracks are unlocked by default.

Locked vs. Unlocked Tracks

Locked vs. Unlocked Tracks

When you “lock a track” in After Effects it means you cannot make any changes to it. That’s not what this is in Media Composer. Locking tracks syncs the given timecode for all locked tracks, locking them together so if you make changes (i.e. adding or removing time to a track by editing in or editing out a clip) to one then you make changes to them all.

Here’s a scenario: You have clips on V1 and V2 and the tracks are locked. Both clips begin at 01:02:20:14 and end at 01:02:24:14 – they’re 4 seconds long. If you have V1 selected and you extract from 01:02:21:10 to 01:02:22:10 (1 second) then the clips on V1 and V2 shorten by a second. Both clips would end at 01:02:23:14. If the tracks were unlocked however the clip on V1 would shorten to 3 seconds and the clip on V2 would remain the same.

I find that more times than not I want everything on the timeline to react together. If I shorten a clip on V1 at 01:03:00:00 I don’t want to have to think about the rest of the clips further down the timeline that are synced up with clips and audio on other tracks getting knocked out of alignment.

Locking tracks keeps you from unintentionally knocking your timeline out of sync. It takes a minute (or a couple weeks) to wrap your head around it but IMO it’s the safest, quickest and best way to edit. Leave me a comment if you’re confused about anything.

Okay, ready for shortcuts?!

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Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 3: Moving

Mastering Media Composers Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 3

This is the third lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts. Each lesson tackles a handful of shortcuts. Those shortcuts should be practiced until the next lesson in a few days. By the end of the lessons you should be flying through your editing sessions.

This isn’t just any old list of shortcuts. For many of them I explain how they work and how I use them everyday as a professional editor.

If you’re just getting started, no worries. You can take this lesson and circle back to the previous lessons. You can find all the lessons here.

This lesson focuses on moving. By moving I mean having the Time Position Indicator (the blue bar in the timeline) go from one frame to another frame. There are a bunch of different keyboard shortcuts that do this for us faster and more accurately than clicking the mouse around the screen. Let’s get started!

Lesson 3 Shortcuts - Moving

Lesson 3 Shortcuts – Moving

 

02-NumberPad-AllKeys

Like my coffee-stained number pad?

Time Position Indicator...this is what we're moving

Time Position Indicator…this is what we’re moving

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Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 2: Marking and Playing

Mastering Media Composers Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 2

This is the second lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts. In each lesson we tackle a handful of shortcuts that should be learned and practiced until the next lesson in a few days. This isn’t just any list of shortcuts. For many of them I’ll explain how they work and how I use them everyday as an editor.

Lesson 1 was on Media Composer’s Tools. Lesson 2 is on Marking and Playing. These are some of the most basic shortcuts I want you to learn. Some other shortcuts (Z, X, V, B, etc.) you can do damage to your timeline by accidently doing something you weren’t expecting. With these shortcuts the worst thing you can do is clear an In or Out Point. Let’s get started!

Lesson 2 Shortcuts - Marking and Playing

Lesson 2 Shortcuts – Marking and Playing

Marking

Mark In Point

Mark In Point

Mark In Point

Shortcut: E or I

Marking an In Point is one of the must learn keyboard shortcuts. Media Composer works on three-point editing. Basically you need two In Points and an Out Point or vice versa. Put an In and Out Point on the clip in the Source Monitor then an In Point on the Timeline then hit Splice-In or Overwrite Edit and the clip from the Source Monitor gets edited onto the Timeline. Kind of make sense? There’s a bit of a hierarchy when it comes to In and Out Points and three-point editing but that’s for another lesson.

Even though I stand up here on my soapbox preaching about how important keyboard shortcuts are you will still use the mouse. It’s inevitable. So if you’re right-handed you will generally have your left hand on the keyboard. If so you’ll find you use “E” way more than “I” to mark an In Point. I however am I lefty so my right hand is always on the keyboard. That means I use the “I” key to mark an In Point more often. The same goes with our next shortcut.

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Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 1: Tools

Hey! This is the first lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts. We’ll go through pretty much every keyboard shortcut in Media Composer in this series.

If you’ve taken either of my quizzes (Quiz 1 and Quiz 2) and/or you are interested in becoming a faster, more efficient editor than this series is for you. Each lesson we’ll tackle a handful of shortcuts. We’ll go through what the shortcut is and for some I’ll comment on the tool, function or whatever the shortcut does based on my experience using Media Composer hour after hour over the past seven years.

Okay, enough talking. Let’s get into our first lesson!

Media Composer Keyboard Shortcuts for Tools

There are a bunch of tools in Media Composer. There’s the Audio Mixer, Audio EQ, Composer, Effect Editor, Media Tool and more. Ten (10!) of them have simple shortcuts. In this lesson we’ll cover them.

Audio Tool

Audio Tool

Audio Tool

Cmd+1 (Mac) | Ctrl+1 (PC)

The Audio Tool shows the audio levels (how loud or soft it is) in visual form. Once you hit play the Audio Tool goes up and down based on the audio that’s being played at that frame. There’s a small sideways Audio Tool at the top of the Timeline. However the normal Audio Tool makes it much easier to see. I tend to always have this tool open.

Calculator

Calculator

Calculator

Cmd+2 (Mac) | Ctrl+2 (PC)

Did you know Media Composer had a calculator? This isn’t your ordinary calculator either. This calculator counts timecode!

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Avid Media Composer Keyboard Shortcut Quiz — Level 1

AvidMediaComposerKeyboardShortcutQuiz-Level1
Hey! If you remember several weeks ago I came out with a keyboard shortcut quiz for Avid Media Composer. Well many of you downloaded it and I got some really good feedback so I decided to take it to the next level and create a bigger and better one!

I’m calling this one Avid Media Composer Keyboard Shortcut Quiz — Level 1. Yes, Level 1! That means I want to and will make more and tougher ones. This requires two three things from you.

First, you take this quiz! You were going to already so this one is easy.

Second, leave me a comment here or through the contact page to let me know what you thought. Too easy? Too tough? Difficult to use? (BTW, for the life of me I cannot change that gray button with white text. I’m trying desperately to fix it but am not going to keep me from releasing this quiz any longer!)

And third, you stick around and read my message at the end of the quiz.

Alright! That’s it! I kept you long enough. Click the link below and you’ll be taken to…

Avid Media Composer Keyboard Shortcut Quiz — Level 1

PS: When you go to the quiz you’ll be asked to enter your name and email. Don’t worry, that’s just for me and won’t be shared! I may reach out to you in the future if I come out with other items like this one that might be of interest to you though. Good luck on the quiz!!

Once again, you can get to the quiz through the link below:

Avid Media Composer Keyboard Shortcut Quiz — Level 1

When You Have Enough Tools and It’s Time to Start Building

WhenYouHaveEnoughToolsAndItsTimeToStartBuilding

Me, and a lot of other editors, like to say that knowing an NLE is just another tool in your tool belt. I like to take that analogy and go a step further. Every effect you learn to apply, software trick you implement, skill you acquire, connection you make, value you create for others and anything else you can think of that works towards improving yourself is a tool. Your tool belt consists of all of these. Each tool preforms a certain action whenever you are working on a project.

With your fully loaded tool belt you can build all sorts of things. The majority of time we tackle two types of projects. The first project is something simple, let’s say a chair if we can turn my analogy into something physical. We know there are four legs, a seat and a back to it. We have at least a rough blueprint we can follow or can easily find someone (or a YouTube video) to guide us. The other type of project is to build more tools! We build ourselves another screwdriver or a hammer or drill bit. These two types of projects pay our bills (barely) and (we hope) make our bosses happy. Are you happy though? If you are anything like me then you might not always be satisfied with the things you are building and their outcomes. Do they have enough reach? Do they improve my life or someone else’s life substantially?

Sure, we’re content after we sell off our chair or put away our screwdriver. We sold enough to pay off the mortgage this month or make ourselves more valuable candidates for a future job by having more tools. What we built was average. Deep down that’s not what we want. That’s not why we do what we do. We want incredible. As I lay here at 11:00PM drafting this on my phone in bed with my wife and dog already asleep long ago I’m reminded about how much incredible I want in my life and how little I am doing about it. For now…

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Turn Off the Clock, Get More Done

Increase your focus while editing

Increase your focus while editing

On Monday I worked 100% distraction-free for hours for the first time in recent memory. I was completely sucked into my work and it all happened by accident. I’ll tell you how in this post.

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Finishing Strong to Start Stronger

There are 10,000 posts like “The Top-8 Ways to Tackle Your New Year’s Resolutions” streaming through your social media timelines and inboxes right now. This post is not one of them. This short post is to tell you that you can do whatever you want to do and give you a quick tip on succeeding in whatever goals you have whenever you have them.

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