Timeline fundamentals

The timeline consists of multiple tracks – as many as you require – in a vertical stack. Tracks nearer the top of the stack are positioned towards the front when viewed, their opaque parts obscuring the tracks below.

The basic action of movie authoring is to drag an asset from the Library to a timeline track, where it is called a clip. With a little practice, you can lay out a rough edit of a movie very quickly just by adding its main media assets at their approximate timeline positions.

Avid Studio image001 Timeline fundamentals

At the left end of the timeline are track headers with several controls per track: a lock button, the track name, and monitoring buttons for the track’s video and audio. Here the current default track is ‘Main’.

The track header: To the left of each track is a header area that provides access to functions such as disabling video or audio monitoring for the track.

The default track: One track is highlighted with lighter background color, and is also marked with an orange bar to the left of the track header. This is the default track. It has a special role in certain editing procedures; for instance, it serves as the target track for paste operations. To make another track the default track, simply click in its header.

Avid Studio image002 Timeline fundamentalsYour current position on the timeline corresponds to the video frame shown in the Player when it is in Timeline mode. The current position is indicated by a vertical red line, at the top of which is a draggable scrubber handle. Another vertical line marks the same position in the Navigator (see below).

The toolbar

Above the tracks, the timeline toolbar provides several clusters of editing-related tools. (In the Disc Editor, the toolbar also includes tools specifically for disc authoring.)

The Navigator

Below the tracks, the timeline Navigator shows a bird’s-eye view of your whole project at a reduced scale. The bars representing clips have the same colors as on the timeline, except that the bar representing the selected clip is drawn in orange. Clicking in the Navigator allows you to speedily visit any timeline location.

Avid Studio image003 Timeline fundamentals

A portion of the Navigator view window, showing the current position (vertical line, left) and a sizing handle (right).

The orange rectangle that encloses a portion of the Navigator display – the view window – indicates the section of your movie currently visible on the timeline tracks.

To change which part of the movie is in view, click and drag horizontally within the view window. The timeline scrolls in parallel as you drag. Since your timeline position does not change, this may take the scrubber out of view.


To change the zoom level of the timeline, either click and drag horizontally in the time-ruler along the top of the timeline, or drag the sides of the view window. The first method has the advantage that it always leaves the screen position of the play line undisturbed, which may make it easier to orient yourself after the zoom.

To change the zoom of the Navigator itself, use the plus and minus buttons immediately to its right.

Double-clicking on the view window adjusts the zoom of both the Navigator and the timeline such that your entire movie fits within the Movie Editor window.


The height of the timeline, along with the relative proportions of the Library and the Player, can be adjusted with the sizing grip in the form of an inverted T in the middle of the screen.

To adjust the height of individual timeline tracks, grab and adjust the separator lines between the track headers on the left. If the vertical size of all tracks exceeds the available viewing area, a scroll bar at the right will allow you to select which tracks are in view.

Set the height of the Navigator by vertically dragging the horizontal separator across the top.

Timeline fundamentals