This is the eight 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 the timeline.
Hey real quick. If you missed my announcement about the Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts Exam, you can find it here!
The timeline is where all the magic happens in Media Composer. The shortcuts that follow will speed up your editing, guaranteed. One of my favorite milestones when I was learning Media Composer was when I started incorporating all the different zooming options available. I found myself flying through my edits faster each day as I got more comfortable with them. The shortcuts in this lesson are some of my favorites. Alright, here we go!
More Detail (Zoom In)
Shortcut: Cmd+] (Mac) | Ctrl+] (PC)
This shortcut will zoom the timeline in. Use this instead of the zoom bar at the bottom of timeline. For what it’s worth, I prefer to change this to Shift+].
Less Detail (Zoom Out)
Shortcut: Cmd+[ (Mac) | Ctrl+[ (PC)
This shortcut will zoom the timeline out. Use this instead of the zoom bar at the bottom of timeline. For what it’s worth, I prefer to change this to Shift+[.
One other note. I will quickly hit Cmd/Ctrl+[ then Cmd/Ctrl+] to re-center my timeline. When you use the shortcut for More Detail or Less Detail the timeline re-centers around where the Time Position Indicator (the blue bar in the timeline) is. This is quicker than reaching over to the mouse and pulling the scroll bar at the bottom of the timeline.
Show Entire Sequence
Shortcut: Cmd+/ (Mac) | Ctrl+/ (PC)
If you’re zoomed in, this shortcut will zoom you out to show the entire sequence. I like to change this to Shift+\ so it’s next to what I changed More Detail and Less Detail to.
Zoom In To…
Shortcut: Cmd+M (Mac) | Ctrl+M (PC)
When you hit this shortcut your mouse will change to two arrows facing opposite directions with a rectangle in the middle. Decide where you want to zoom in and where you initially click that’ll be the start of the new timeline view and while holding the mouse down drag to where you want the new timeline view to end.
I love this shortcut. I change this shortcut to Shift+= so it’s near my other timeline zoom shortcuts.
Shortcut: Cmd+J (Mac) | Ctrl+J (PC)
After performing a Zoom In To… if you use the Zoom Back shortcut you’ll change the timeline view back to what the view was before you did the Zoom In To…
Make Selected Track(s) Larger
Shortcut: Cmd+L (Mac) | Ctrl+L (PC)
This is similar to the Bin shortcut in Lesson 7 where you can make the frame larger. Whatever track(s) is selected (aka active) when you use this shortcut the track will grow in height. This only affects your view of the timeline and doesn’t affect any of the clips. Also, think “L for larger.”
Make Selected Track(s) Smaller
Shortcut: Cmd+K (Mac) | Ctrl+K (PC)
Whatever track(s) is selected (aka active) when you use this shortcut the track will shrink in height. This only affects your view of the timeline and doesn’t affect any of the clips.
Create New Video Track
Shortcut: Cmd+Y (Mac) | Ctrl+Y (PC)
This shortcut creates a new video track. If you only have tracks V1 and V2, using this shortcut will create V3. Use it again to create V4.
Create New Mono Audio Track
Shortcut: Cmd+U (Mac) | Ctrl+U (PC)
This shortcut creates a new mono audio track.
Create New Stereo Audio Track
Shortcut: Cmd+Shift+U (Mac) | Ctrl+Shift+U (PC)
This shortcut creates a new stereo audio track.
Create New Video or Audio Track at Custom Track Number
Shortcut: Cmd+Opt+Y or Cmd+Opt+U (Mac) | Ctrl+Alt+Y or Ctrl+Alt+U (PC)
If you want to create a new track at a custom track number, use this shortcut. For example if you have V1 and V2 as video tracks but want to create V9, use this shortcut. A box will pop up for you to select what kind of track and what track number to put it on.
Snap to Head Frames
Shortcut: Cmd+Drag (Mac) | Ctrl+Drag (PC)
Hold Cmd/Ctrl and drag the mouse across the timeline. This will snap the Time Position Indicator to head frames (the first frame of a clip). This is another shortcut that I absolutely love.
Snap to Tail Frames
Shortcut: Cmd+Opt+Drag (Mac) | Ctrl+Alt+Drag (PC)
Hold Cmd+Opt/Ctrl+Alt and drag the mouse across the timeline. This will snap the Time Position Indicator to tail frames (the last frame of a clip).
That’s all the shortcuts for Lesson 8 of Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts. What’d you think? Learn anything new?
Ready for Lesson 9? Click here (or the image below) to go to it.
Give me a shout if you have any questions. Leave me a comment below, message me through the contact page or send me an email – josh [at] editvideofaster.com.