The timeline toolbar
The toolbar above the timeline offers various settings, tools and functions that apply to the timeline and timeline editing.
By default your timeline settings are copied from the first video clip you add to the timeline. If that will give the right result, you won’t have to alter them.
If you do want to change them, click the leftmost button on the toolbar to open the Timeline Resolution window and configure the three settings provided.
Aspect: Choose between a 4×3 and a 16×9 display.
Size: Choose amongst the HD and SD pixel resolutions available for the given aspect ratio.
Frame rate: Choose from a selection of frame rates consistent with the other settings.
These settings can be changed at any time during development of your movie, but you should be aware that a change of the frame rate can cause a slight shifting of clips on the timeline as they adjust to new frame boundaries.
Video material that is not in compliance with the chosen project settings will be converted automatically on being added to the timeline.
If you want to choose a video standard for your projects explicitly, rather than relying on inheriting the format from the first clip added, open the Project settings page of the application settings.
This button opens the enhanced audio control area with volume adjustment tools and access to the Panner, a surround panning control.
Scorefitter is the integrated music generator of Avid Studio, providing you with custom-composed, royalty-free music exactly adjusted to the duration required for your movie.
The Create title button opens the Title Editor. If none of the many supplied titles answers your need, why not author one of your own?
The voice-over tool lets you record commentary or other audio content live while viewing your movie.
To split one or more clips at the play line position, click the razor blade button. No material is deleted by this operation, but each affected clip becomes two clips that can be handled separately with respect to trimming, moving, adding effects and so on.
If there are selected clips at the play line on any track, only those clips will be split. Both parts of those clips remain selected after the split.
If there are no selected clips at the play line, all clips intersected by it will be split and the right-hand parts will be selected to facilitate easy removal in case that is desired.
Locked tracks are exempt from the split operation.
Click the trash can button to delete all selected items from the timeline. See Deleting clips for details on how other timeline clips may be affected by the deletion.
The marker functions available here are identical to those provided in the media editors for video and audio.
Instead of being attached to a particular clip, however, timeline markers are considered to belong to the video composite at the marked point. Only if there is a clip selection embracing all tracks at the marked point, and only if no track is locked, will the markers change positions during timeline editing.
Magnet mode simplifies the insertion of clips during dragging. While the mode is active, clips are ‘magnetically’ drawn to other items on the timeline when they approach within a critical distance. This makes it easy to avoid the unnecessary – though often indiscernibly small – gaps between items that are otherwise apt to arise during editing. If you want to deliberately create such a gap, however, simply turn off the mode to allow the preferred placement.
Volume keyframe editing
The volume keyframe editing button toggles keyframe-based editing of clip audio. While the button is engaged, the green volume contour on each timeline clip becomes editable. In this mode you can add control points to the contour, drag contour sections, and other operations. While the button is off, the volume keyframes are protected against modification.
Opening the Audio Mixer automatically activates the button.
By default, the audio portion of a project can be heard only during playback in the preview. The audio scrubbing button on the timeline toolbar provides an audio preview even while just ‘scrubbing’ through your movie by dragging the timeline scrubber control.
The shuttle wheel of the Player also provides audio scrubbing.
The editing mode selector at the right-hand end of the timeline toolbar determines the behavior of other clips when editing changes are made. Material to the left of the edit point is never affected in timeline editing, so this applies only to clips that extend rightward from the edit point.
Three choices of editing mode are available: smart, insert and overwrite. The default is smart, in which Avid Studio selects from insert, overwrite and sometimes more complex strategies in the context of each editing operation.
Smart mode is designed to maintain synchronization between timeline tracks as far as possible. In a multitrack editing situation, clips typically have vertical as well as horizontal relationships. When you have carefully placed your cuts to coincide with the beats of a music track, for example, you don’t want to disrupt everything when you make additional edits.
Insert mode is always non-destructive: it moves other clips on the track out of the way before inserting new material. It will also automatically close gaps created by removing material. Only the target track is affected. Any prior synchronization with other tracks from the edit point rightwards is lost.
Insert is most useful in the early stages of a project, when you are collecting and arranging clips on the timeline. It ensures that no material will be lost, and makes it very easy to reorder clips and sequences of clips.
In the later stages, when the structure of your project is approaching its final state and you have started carefully synchronizing material on different tracks, insert mode is less helpful. The very properties that favor its use for the early stages (the ‘ripple’ behavior) count against it when finalizing. This is where overwrite comes into play.
Overwrite directly affects only the clips you select. Changing the length or position of a clip in overwrite mode will overwrite neighboring clips (if you lengthen) or leave gaps (if you shorten). It will never affect the synchronization between tracks.
The smart editing mode works by predicting what you’re trying to do and determining whether insert, overwrite or even some more complex strategy would be best to apply. You’ll find it usually does what you want, but there are sure to be other times when you have something else in mind.
Many actions support both insert and overwrite, but no other possibilities. Smart mode will use sometimes one and sometimes the other, but if insert isn’t what you want, overwrite usually is, and vice versa. All you need, therefore, is a method of overriding smart mode’s default behavior.
To change insert to overwrite behavior, or overwrite to insert, hold down the Alt key while carrying out your edit as usual. You can press (or release) Alt as you please while setting up the edit: what counts is the state of the key at the instant the operation is finally enacted – when you drop dragged items on the timeline, for example.
The trick works in all editing modes, so it’s always available when you need it. If you are not satisfied with the default behavior, just cancel or undo as needed, then try again with Alt.
In one timeline editing operation – that of replacing one clip by another while retaining its duration, effects and other properties – the Shift key takes on a similar role. See Replacing a clip for details.