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

Mastering Media Composers Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 5 on Modes, Trimming and Slipping

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.

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.

Lesson 5 Keyboard Shortcuts in Avid
Lesson 5 Shortcuts — Modes, Trimming and Slipping

Modes and Trimming Keyboard Shortcuts in Avid

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 Keyboard Shortcut in Avid
Trim Mode

Shortcut: U

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.

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 on Editing

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.

Lesson 4 Shortcuts -- Editing
Lesson 4 Shortcuts — Editing

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

Locked vs. Unlocked Tracks in Avid
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.

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?!

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

Mastering Media Composers Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 3 on Moving

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.

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 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!

Lesson 3 Keyboard Shortcuts - Moving in Avid
Lesson 3 Shortcuts – Moving
Number pad with keys highlighted that are used for moving in Avid
Like my coffee-stained number pad?
Time Position Indicator...this is what we're moving in Avid
Time Position Indicator…this is what we’re moving

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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 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.

Audio Tool

Audio Tool in Avid
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 Tool

Calculator in Avid
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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23 Posts about Video Production, Post Production, Avid and More

23 Posts on Post

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.

My Favorite Posts

The Edit Bay – A Romanticized View of One Editor’s Relationship With Four Walls

Video Editor is Not a Synonym for Motion Graphics Artist

Editor: The Amateur vs. The Professional

How to Setup a Video Company on a Realistic Budget

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NLE Marker Workflow

UsingLocatorsForRevisions

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.

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The Power of Presets for Avid Media Composer Editors

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 … Read more

The String Out Edit — 10 Ways to Edit Them Faster

This article discusses 10 methods that will improve your string out edit and have you editing them faster than you ever thought was possible.