Unleash the Avid Timeline
by Janet Dalton - Mewshop Avid Certified instructor, freelance editor
Janet DaltonFCP editors and students constantly complain to me that the Avid timeline is so rigid. "I just want to click on a clip and delete it" they say or "I just want to pull out an edit to make it longer or shorter".

While it is true there are times when I wish a single click on the avid timeline could do more than just move the play head, there are buttons you can map to your keyboard that will go a long way to making your Avid timeline more flexible.

Top of the list has to be the segment mode buttons. Map these buttons to your avid keyboard and they will change your passive curser into a selection tool with a click of a key. They will allow you to select and delete clips, red one will leave a space while the yellow will close the gap. They will also allow you to pick clips up and move them around. A quick way to activate the segment modes is to drag a lasso from left to right around a clip or multiple clips in the timeline and then you can use your keyboard to toggle between the red and yellow.

My next favorite would have to be the "extend edit" button. I have this mapped to my "E" key. Students ask all the time how can I extend an edit without having to go into trim mode. Well with the extend edit button all you have to do is mark an "in" where you would like to extend the start of a clip too and hit "extend edit". OR mark an "out" where you would like to extend the tail of a clip too and hit extend edit. This behaves as if you where doing a double roller trim in trim mode or it is the same as doing extend edit in FCP.

Finally, "top" and "tail" buttons are great if you want to quickly shorten a clip in the timeline without going into trim mode or without using marks and the extract button. All you have to do is park your play head in the clip where you would like it to start and hit the "top" button. Everything from the start of the clip to your play head will be removed. No need for any marks. If you want to remove everything from your playhead to the end of a clip hit the "tail" button. These buttons behave like a single roller trim in trim mode of like rippling in FCP.

All of the buttons above buttons are located in the command palette located in the tools menu.