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Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 8: Timeline

Mastering Avid Media Composers Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 8 on the Timeline

This is the eight lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts on the Timeline. 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.

Timeline in Avid
Lesson 8: Timeline

Timeline Keyboard Shortcuts

The timeline is where all the magic happens in Avid 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 keyboard shortcuts in Avid.

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Zoom Back

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

Custom Track Number in Avid

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).

WHAT KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS IN AVID ARE NEXT?

That’s all the shortcuts for Lesson 8 of Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts on the Timeline. 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 or message me through the contact page.

– Josh

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 2: Marking and Playing

Mastering Media Composers Keyboard Shortcuts – Lesson 2 on Marking and Playing

This is the second lesson in a series on mastering Avid Media Composer’s keyboard shortcuts and the topic is Marking and Playing. In each lesson we tackle a handful of shortcuts that should be learned and practiced until the next lesson in a few days. This isn’t just any list of shortcuts. For many of them I’ll explain how they work and how I use them everyday as an editor.

Lesson 1 was on Media Composer’s Tools. This lesson is on the keyboard shortcuts in Avid for Marking and Playing. These are some of the most primary shortcuts I think you should learn. Some other shortcuts (Z, X, V, B, etc.) you can do damage to your timeline by accidentally doing something you weren’t expecting. With these shortcuts the worst thing you can do is clear an In or Out Point. Let’s get started!

Lesson 2 Keyboard Shortcuts - Marking and Playing in Avid
Lesson 2 Shortcuts – Marking and Playing

Marking Keyboard Shortcuts in Avid

Mark In Point

Mark In Point Keyboard Shortcuts in Avid
Mark In Point

Shortcut: E or I

Marking an In Point is one of the must learn keyboard shortcuts. Media Composer works on three-point editing. Basically you need two In Points and an Out Point or vice versa. Put an In and Out Point on the clip in the Source Monitor then an In Point on the Timeline then hit Splice-In or Overwrite Edit and the clip from the Source Monitor gets edited onto the Timeline. Kind of make sense? There’s a bit of a hierarchy when it comes to In and Out Points and three-point editing but that’s for another lesson.

Even though I stand up here on my soapbox preaching about how important keyboard shortcuts are you will still use the mouse. It’s inevitable. So if you’re right-handed you will generally have your left hand on the keyboard. If so you’ll find you use “E” way more than “I” to mark an In Point. I however am I lefty so my right hand is always on the keyboard. That means I use the “I” key to mark an In Point more often. The same goes with our next shortcut.

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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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Free Avid Media Composer Quiz

AvidMediaComposerKeyboardShortcutQuiz-Level1

Hey! If you remember several weeks ago I came out with a free keyboard shortcut quiz for Avid Media Composer. Well, many of you downloaded it and I got some really good feedback so I decided to take it to the next level and create a bigger and better free Avid Media Composer keyboard shortcut quiz!

Get the Free Avid Media COmposer Quiz

I’m calling this one Avid Media Composer Keyboard Shortcut Quiz — Level 1. Yes, Level 1! That means I want to and will make more and tougher ones. This requires two three things from you.

Quiz Instructions

First, you take this quiz! You were going to already so this one is easy.

Second, leave me a comment here or through the contact page to let me know what you thought. Too easy? Too tough? Difficult to use? (BTW, for the life of me I cannot change that gray button with white text. I’m trying desperately to fix it but am not going to keep me from releasing this quiz any longer!)

And third, you stick around and read my message at the end of the quiz.

Alright! That’s it! I kept you long enough. The link below will take you to the quiz.

Avid Media Composer Keyboard Shortcut Quiz — Level 1

PS: When you go to the quiz you’ll be asked to enter your name and email. Don’t worry, that’s just for me and won’t be shared! I may reach out to you in the future if I come out with other items like this one that might be of interest to you though. Good luck on the quiz!!

Once again, you can get to the quiz through the link below:

Avid Media Composer Keyboard Shortcut Quiz — Level 1

Did you enjoy this article? If so, I’d love to keep in touch. All you have to do is go here to stay in the loop on new blog posts, tutorials, and announcements.


– Josh