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In Avid Media Composer 5 Essential Training, author Ashley Kennedy demonstrates basic and intermediate editing techniques in Media Composer, one of the most widely used nonlinear, video editing systems. This course covers how to build sequences, mix audio, color correct footage, apply effects, and troubleshoot common post-production issues in Media Composer. Exercise files accompany the course.
While it's certainly useful to be able to use classic keyboard shortcuts to build a more efficient editing workspace, the truth secret is customization lies in the creation of a workspace using the Command palette. In this movie we'll take a look at the Command palette, which is a collection of all the possible buttons and menu items that you can use to construct your most ideal editing workspace. The Command palette is found in the tools menu and you'll see that Ctrl+3 will pop it up. It's Command+3 on a Mac. We also want to open our keyboard.
keyboard is found in the Settings and just a tip. If you click on any settings and then hit K you pop right to keyboard. A lot of these should look familiar. We have our Play buttons, our step through buttons, our JKL, our I and O, we have a lot of things that we're already using. But we can take a look at other things that we're using, map them to our keyboard, and start building the most ideal editing workspace possible. Now I have my own keyboard settings and I'll show a couple of the things that I use, but the real way to make this work for you is to see what you're using on a more regular basis as far as buttons and menu items, and then map those to your editing workspace.
No two editors have the same settings. Okay, we just covered Match Frame. Instead of having to go into the Fast menu to locate that, let's go ahead and map that to our keyboard. Match Frame is found in the Other tab right here, and I usually map it to Shift+M, so I'll go ahead and do that, notice that this is my regular keyboard and as soon as I press Shift, I get a whole another keyboard. So I'm going to make sure Button to Button Reassignment is on, grab Match Frame and drag it to Shift+M. Now if I close these windows and I'd like to Match Frame this shot here, my Magician and assistant medium close up, I'll just Shift+M and it comes up in the source monitor.
Let's go ahead and open our Command palette again, Ctrl+3 and our keyboard and keep going. One other set of buttons that I always map to my keyboard are Lift/Overwrite Segment Mode and Extract Slice Segment Mode. Notice that they are not on the regular keyboard. They are on the shifted keyboard by default on Shift+A and Shift+S. However, because of geographical reasons, I like to map them to 9 and 0. This means that I can use JKL to navigate, I can use I and O to mark my clips, and then I can extend my fingers just a little bit further and use 9 and 0 to move my clips around.
So that's found in the Smart Tools tab and I'm simply going to make sure Button to Button Reassignment is on and then drag it to 9 and 0, and now I have what I call a pyramid of power. I can navigate using the buttons at the bottom of the pyramid, I can mark clips using the buttons in the middle, and I can move using the buttons at the top or use Shift+A and Shift+S, which is where Avid puts them originally. So Button to Button Reassignment is fairly basic. You can go through these tabs, figure out what you'd like to map to your keyboard, and by the way you can also map this to the interface.
So if I wanted to drag my Match Frame to my interface, I can do so like this and I have it on the interface as well. You can drag it to your keyboard, your Interface, wherever you like. We also have Menu to Button Reassignment. Menu to Button Reassignment allows you to assign menu items to your keyboard or to user interface. There is a couple of menu items that I always map, and one is to map more detail and less detail to my Up Arrow and Down Arrow.
Remember that it's already mapped to Ctrl+Left Bracket and Ctrl+Right Bracket, but I like to have it on up-and-down because I'm always zooming in and out of the Timeline and up-and-down makes sense to me. So I'm going to click on my Up Arrow and then I'm going to go down into my Fast Menu, choose More Detail, and then I'm going to click on the Down Arrow, go to my Fast Menu, choose Less Detail, let's go ahead and close these windows, and now I'll hit my Up Arrow and my Down Arrow to zoom in and out of the Timeline.
Let's get that back up, Ctrl+3. One other menu item that I always map to my keyboard is the Sample Plot, and remember Sample Plot displays my audio waveform. I usually put Sample Plot on Shift+S, and so what I'm going to do is make sure Menu to Button Reassignment is on, hit Shift+S, come down here to my Fast Menu. Audio Data > Waveform. Waveform is my Sample Plot, and now I have waveform mapped to Shift+S. If I close my windows and hit Shift+S, my waveform is now toggled between being on and off. Very, very useful.
I'll open my Command palette again and the one in the middle is Active palette, you almost never use Active palette because this simply turns all of these into active buttons. My rule of thumb is that if you use it enough to display Active palette, you may as well map it to your keyboard, so primarily we're going to stick with Button to Button and Menu to Button Reassignment. Remember when we setup the personalized user profile at the beginning of the course? Just know that every change we're making to the keyboard is tied to our own personal user setting. This means that we can then take our personal keyboard settings with us along with our other user setting as we move from system-to-system.
So all of these changes that I'm doing are getting saved in my user profile. The Command palette is truly the key to developing a dynamic, personalized editing environment. I highly recommend you begin building your own keyboard settings at this early stage and then with each new concept you learn map the corresponding button and menu item to your keyboard. By the time you go through this course, your keyboard should be rich and robust with personalized edit settings.
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