This is the fifth lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts on modes, trimming, and slipping. 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.
This lesson focuses on modes, trimming and slipping.
Modes and Trimming Keyboard Shortcuts in Avid
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.
The first of the Trimming keyboard shortcuts in Avid is Trim Mode. 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.
This is the fourth lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts and it’s on all the editing keyboard shortcuts. Each lesson tackles a handful of shortcuts. 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.
PS – There’s a pop quiz that I need you to give me an answer to at the end of the lesson.
List of Editing Keyboard Shortcuts in Avid
Here is a quick rundown on locked and unlocked tracks. It is important to understand how this works to fully grasp the keyboard shortcuts in this lesson. If you are familiar with these already then skip ahead. If not, I recommend reading this section.
Locked vs. Unlocked Tracks in Avid
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. 99% of the time my tracks are locked. There are only a handful of times when it’s more useful for them to be unlocked.
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
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.
Locked vs. Unlocked Tracks Scenario
Here’s a scenario. Clips are on V1 and V2. 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. Confused about anything? Leave a comment.
Okay, ready for the keyboard shortcuts in Avid Media Composer for editing?!
This is the third lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts and it’s on moving inside of Media Composer. 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 keyboard shortcuts in Avid. For many of them I explain how they work and how I use them everyday as a professional editor.
This lesson focuses on the moving keyboard shortcuts in Avid. 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!
Hey! This is the first lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts and it’s on Tools. 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 keyboard shortcut does based on my experience using Avid Media Composer hour after hour over the past decade.
Okay, enough talking. Let’s get into our first lesson!
Avid Media Composer Keyboard Shortcuts for Tools Recap
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.
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.
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!
I’ve been writing for my friends over at ScreenLight for…well…a long time. It’s been over two years and in the Internet world that’s a really long time. Over that time I’ve been able to stockpile a bunch of writings that I want to share with you today. 23 of them to be exact.
The posts range from Media Composer tips to the Pomodoro Technique for time management to Apps for Editors and so much more. I’ve broken them up into a couple of categories. At the very top are a few of my favorites and ones I think you should definitely read.
This article is on how to establish an NLE marker workflow. It describes how to use markers, sometimes referred to as locators, in your video editing processes. An NLE marker workflow can be used in Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro, After Effects, or any editing software that uses markers.
Markers play a crucial role in post production workflows. I use them for a variety of reasons but mostly for revisions. This article covers what markers are, how to use them in a revision workflow, and some tricks when using them.
Presets will make you a faster editor. Period. Putting systems in place for often-used tasks makes you a more efficient editor. Presets are some of these systems. You can preset many aspects of your NLE, especially Avid Media Composer. Below I discuss four of my favorite areas you can use presets.
This post focuses on presets in Avid Media Composer but some concepts should be able to cross over into other NLEs like Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X.
Workspaces are preset arrangements of your tools on the screen.
There are 3-5 Workspaces (sometimes referred to as Toolsets – different but essentially the same thing which I’m not going to get into today) you should customize, save and map to your keyboard. These are preset arrangements of your tools on the screen.
The first is obviously Source/Record Editing. This is your bread and butter Workspace, which you’ll most likely spend the bulk of your time in. You use it for your standard editing – laying in shots, moving them around, manipulating time, etc. Why do you map this to your keyboard? Anytime you are done in another Workspace or you have random tools open, this will put you back in your default editing setup.
If you want the Timecode Tool, Markers, Audio Tool and Audio Mixer open while you are editing in this Workspace like I do, make sure the Source/Record Editing Workspace is selected under Windows > Workspaces. Then open all the tools you want and position them on your screen and hit Save Current under that same menu.
If you want to see a tutorial over on my YouTube channel let me know in the comments section!
Audio Editing is the next Workspace to setup. Besides setting up my audio tools where I want them, I like to tie this together with my Audio Timeline View, which will be discussed in the next section. To do this, go up to Windows > Workspaces > Properties… then type in “Audio.” If you have a Timeline View named “Audio” it’ll automatically switch to that view.
Color Correction is another Workspace that should be setup. I’ve found that the only real things you need to adjust are the location of the monitors and Color Correction Tool along with what goes into the monitors by default. I tend to like having the left monitor being set to Previous, the middle monitor set to Current and the right monitor set to RGB Parade.
If you don’t have a traditional confidence monitor or work solely on a laptop/single monitor system like I do at times, the Full Screen Playback Workspace should be mapped to your keyboard. FYI – sometimes Full Screen Playback won’t run on the monitor you want it to if you are running two screens or switch between 1-2 screens often. If that happens, go to Settings > Full Screen Playback. Then move the dialog box to the monitor you want to be full screen. Then click Select Monitor and click OK.
The last Workspace you might want to setup is Effects Editing. To be honest, I don’t use this. I have my Effect Editor positioned in my Source/Record Editing Workspace. Do this by opening the Effect Editor, save the current Workspace, close the Effect Editor then save the current Workspace again. This tells Avid Media Composer “I want this tool positioned here but don’t want it open when I activate this Workspace.” From there, I map Effect Editor to my keyboard always staying in the Source/Record Editing Workspace with it open. The advantages of having the Effects Editing Workspace setup is that you might want more room for your monitors or the Effect Editor than you would with the Source/Record Editing Workspace. For me, I don’t find it that useful but you might.
When you jump on someone else’s User Settings the first difference you’ll notice is their Timeline View if they have one setup. Some like to drag the timecode track between the video and audio tracks. You’ll definitely notice if they color their tracks differently (I like pale yellow-orange for video tracks and a light blue for audio). However you want to stylize your timeline view it’s up to you – just make it efficient for your workflow.
There are four basic timeline views that I use and firmly believe every editor should use as well. Those are: Default, Audio, Tiny and Big/Stringout.
I wrote a post over on ScreenLight’s blog some time ago where I go into detail on each one and how to manipulate your timeline for each workflow. The gist of it is to change the track sizes, color and pick the data shown then save it at the bottom of the timeline.
Quick Transitions are great if you use any transition frequently, which I assume you do. This is the dialogue box that pops up with you hit the \ key to set your dissolves. Media Composer comes with Dissolve, Film Dissolve, Film Fade, Fade to Color and a few others as defaults. But do you know you can add your own?
Create a bin labeled exactly Quick Transitions. Then drop in your own transitions (wipes, flashes, etc.).
This Friday I’ll be announcing the first ever product for Edit Video Faster. It’s a bin full of over 50 preset Quick Transitions. You can get it along with more information here. On Friday I’ll be coming out with an in-depth tutorial on my YouTube channel on how to setup your own custom Quick Transitions Bin. You can find that tutorial here.
Each and every time you export a file from Media Composer you should save an Export Setting if it’s something different than you already have. Why? You can export a QuickTime movie at least a thousand different ways but you might not remember every detail (frame rate, key frames, compression type, etc.) of the handful of types of .movs you use.
Why try to remember every detail if you can save the settings with a detailed name each time?
When you export, click on Options under Export Settings. Adjust the parameters for your export then click Save As… Give it a unique name – ex: QT 1920×1080 30fps or QT-HQ-WebDeliveryForCompression. Next time you go to export you can find that setting in the drop down menu and won’t have to change any parameters. You can do this for any file that Media Composer exports (.pngs, .wavs, etc.).
Presets save you loads of time and only take a few minutes to setup. Workspaces, Timeline Views, Quick Transitions and Export Settings all do this. What are your favorite presets to create in Avid Media Composer or your NLE of choice?
Lastly – if you want to get a jumpstart on your Quick Transitions bin, head on over to this page. It’s simple, affordable and only takes a few minutes until you have 50+ preset Quick Transitions.
This tutorial goes over some of my favorite timeline shortcuts in Avid Media Composer. I’ll go through how to zoom in, zoom out, zoom out to show the entire timeline and how to zoom to just a specific area.
Get the clips used in the tutorial on VideoHive! (affiliate link)
I come out with a new tutorial every Friday. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and you’ll get an email when they come out. Let me know if there is something you’d like me to go more in depth on from this tutorial and if there are any tutorials you’d like to see in the future.
This tutorial goes over how to set clip color in Avid Media Composer. I’ll go through two ways to set clip color, how to remove it and how to be able to set it to any color outside the default options.
Recapping the Tutorial
Clip Color in Avid Media Composer is the color you can give to a clip inside a bin. The clip then appears to be this color in the timeline. This is super useful when you are trying to tell the difference between things. I use this for VO revisions or different days of filming. You may also like to keep all of your graphics one color or all of your titles one color. It’s up to you!
To begin, make sure “Source” Clip Color is turned on. This is so the clip’s color you set in the bin appears in the timeline. Otherwise it won’t appear. Go to the Fast Menu in the timeline and select Clip Color… Inside the pop-up box check the Source option and click OK.
Setting Clip Color Method #1
Select a clip in a bin. Then go up to the Edit menu and choose Set Clip Color… Then select a color. Your clip will now appear that color in the timeline.
To remove the color, go back up to the Edit menu then choose Set Clip Color to Default.
Setting Clip Color Method #2
The other way to set a clip color in Avid Media Composer is in the bin. Right-click on a bin column heading and select Choose Columns… Make sure Color is selected.
Find the Color column in the bin. Select a clip(s). Then right-click inside the blank rectangle in the Color column. Choose a color.
To remove the color, select the clip then right-click inside the blank rectangle in the Color column and choose None.
Let’s say you want more than these 16 default color options. There’s a trick you can do to choose any color you want. To do this hold down the Opt key if you’re on a Mac or Alt key if you’re on a PC and right-click the rectangle in the Color column. A new box will appear. Choose your color and click OK.
Get the clips used in the tutorial on VideoHive! (affiliate link)
Subscribe to receive email updates to the website to make sure you’re the first to see them! Let me know if there is something you’d like me to go more in depth on from this tutorial and if there are any tutorials you’d like to see.
Quick Recap of Paint Effect Tutorial in Avid Media Composer
You can find the Paint Effect in the Effect Palette in the Image folder. Open the Effect Editor to adjust the Paint Effect’s parameters. Select the Mode.
The Solid Mode creates a solid shape (shocker!). You can change the color in the Color parameter. Using the polygon tool or free draw tool you can draw different types of shapes besides squares and circles. Select a shape then alter it’s options like opacity and feathering. Selecting the shape and hitting delete will remove it.
The next mode is Clone. Draw a shape over the part of the video you want to copy. Then select that shape and move it to the location where you want it. You can hit Command+C (Mac) / Control+C (Windows) to copy the shape. Then hit Command+V (Mac) / Control+V (Windows) to paste the shape then move it again so you have a duplicate version. This is similar to the Stamp/Clone Tool in Photoshop if you are familiar with it.
Select the Blur Mode. Select the shape tool to draw a shape around the area you want to blur. Change the blur amount and feathering as desired. In the Record Monitor you can create a keyframe by hitting the Keyframe icon. This allows you to track the shape. You can do this in any of the modes. Create a keyframe then move the shape. Repeat this as necessary.
Change the mode to Saturation. Draw a box around the clip in the Record Monitor. You may need to zoom out on the Record Monitor to do this. The default settings is probably not what you want. Open the Color tab’s parameters. Under the Saturation parameter you can lower the saturation. This is how you make a black and white video or image quickly.
I use this in conjunction with the Saturation Mode a lot. In the example in the tutorial I desaturated the video using the rectangle shape in Saturation Mode over the clip then desaturating it. Now, select a shape tool. Draw a shape around the area you want to “erase” from being desaturated. Change the mode to Erase. And now that area is back to regular color. Erase mode erases whatever shape is below it in the Paint Effect.
I come out with a new post production-related tutorials and videos as often as I can. Subscribe to the channel and to receive email updates to make sure you’re the first to see them! Let me know if there is something you’d like me to go more in depth on from this tutorial and if there are any tutorials you’d like to see.