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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