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.

Trim AB Sides

Trim AB Sides

Trim AB Sides

Shortcut: [

The two shortcuts that follow this one take you out of the double pink rollers. To get back to them, hit the [ (left bracket) key.

Trim A Side

Trim A Side

Trim A Side

Shortcut: P

When in Trim Mode and hitting P will change the double pink rollers to a single yellow roller on the A clip (the one of the left of the edit point). Instead of expanding or shrinking the B clip (the one of the right), when you drag this roller left or right or use one of the shortcuts discussed in a moment you’re only affected the A clip. Dragging the roller to the right will expand the clip as long as there is still footage remaining (if a clip is 10 seconds long and only the first 5 seconds are edited onto the timeline you still have 5 more seconds to roll out). Using the yellow roller will expand or shrink the total time of the track. If you have locked tracks everything will move with it like using a Splice-In edit or Extract.

Trim B Side

Trim B Side

Trim B Side

Shortcut: ]

When in Trim Mode and you hit ] (right bracket) you’ll get a single yellow roller on the B clip. This works the same as Trim A Side but with the B clip.

Trim Right 1 Frame

Trim Right 1 Frame

Trim Right 1 Frame

Shortcut: . (period)

When you’re in Trim Mode (!!! this is very important that this is only for Trim Mode. I’ll discuss this and the following shortcuts while not in Trim Mode in the next section) hitting . (the period key) will move the roller(s) to the right one frame.

If you have the double pink rollers the A side clip will get longer by a frame and the B side clip will get shorter by a frame. If you have a yellow roller on the A side clip then that clip will get longer by a frame. If you have a yellow roller on the B side clip then that clip will get shorter by a frame.

Trim Right 10 Frames

Trim Right 10 Frames

Trim Right 10 Frames

Shortcut: /

Piggybacking on the last shortcut, hitting the / (slash) key will move the roller(s) by 10 frames to the right.

Note: This is 10 frames if you are editing at 30fps (frames per second). If you are editing at 24fps then it’s 8 frames.

Trim Left 1 Frame

Trim Left 1 Frame

Trim Left 1 Frame

Shortcut: , (comma)

While in Trim Mode hitting , (comma) will move the roller(s) a frame to the left.

Trim Left 10 Frames

Trim Left 10 Frames

Trim Left 10 Frames

Shortcut: M

While in Trim Mode hitting M will move the roller(s) 10 frames to the left. Again, this is 8 frames if you’re in 24fps.

Together you want to use M, comma, period and slash to move the roller(s) in Trim Mode. Adding in P, [ and ] to change the rollers only makes you a more powerful editor.

Go to Previous Edit

Go to Previous Edit

Go to Previous Edit

Shortcut: A

If you’re not in Trim Mode already, hitting A will put you in Trim Mode and move the Time Position Indicator backwards to the nearest edit point based on what tracks are selected. If you’re already in Trim Mode then wherever the rollers are you’ll move backwards to the previous edit point based on what tracks are selected.

Go to Next Edit

Go to Next Edit

Go to Next Edit

Shortcut: S

If you’re not in Trim Mode already, hitting S will put you in Trim Mode and move the Time Position Indicator forwards to the nearest edit point based on what tracks are selected. If you’re already in Trim Mode then wherever the rollers are you’ll move forwards to the next edit point based on what tracks are selected.

I know a lot of editors that change A and S to Rewind and Fast Forward. This will do the same thing except that doesn’t put you into Trim Mode. For what it’s worth, I have Rewind and Fast Forward set to Up Arrow and Down Arrow and leave A and S as Go to Previous Edit and Go to Next Edit.

Slipping

Slipping

Slipping

When you are in Source/Record Mode and not in Trim Mode, be very careful with M, comma, period and slash. They still serve a function and can be dangerous if you aren’t paying attention.

Whatever tracks are selected, hitting any of those four keys will perform a Slip (I’m not sure if that’s what Media Composer calls it but that’s what I call it). Your footage doesn’t move in the timeline but the source material does. If there isn’t any more source footage you’ll get a ping/ding/beep sound effect telling you Media Composer can’t do the slip.

Hitting M will slip the footage forward 10 frames (or 8 if in 24fps project). Comma will slip it forward 1 frame. Period will slip it backwards 1 frame. And slash will slip it backwards 10 frames (or 8 if in 24fps project). This is actually a bit counter-intuitive but it is what it is.

I find this useful but you have to be careful that you’re aware of what tracks are selected and you have to be careful not to accidently hit any of the keys when you’re hitting other shortcuts. You can easily knock footage out of sync with it’s audio or slip a clip when you don’t mean to.

What’s Next?

That’s all the shortcuts for Lesson 5 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 me a comment below, message me through my contact page or send me an email – josh [at] editvideofaster.com.

See you with Lesson 6 soon!

– Josh

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BTW here’s a picture of me in Japan from my adventure earlier this month!

BTW here’s a picture of me in Japan from my adventure earlier this month!