Avid Media Composer 5 Getting Started
Illustration by John Hersey

Using the Timeline


Avid Media Composer 5 Getting Started

with Steve Holyhead

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Video: Using the Timeline

The Timeline is the place where all of your media, ideas, and preparation come together. The better command you have of the Timeline tools, the more you'll be able to concentrate on the important stuff: the pictures and sounds. Here, in the Timeline window, I have a Scale Bar. If I click down, hold, and drag to the right, I zoom in my view of the Timeline area. Over here, I have the Scroll bar. So, if I drag to the right or to the left, I can move up and down my Timeline.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 4m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 42s
  2. 21m 40s
    1. Starting Media Composer and creating a new project
      4m 15s
    2. Understanding Media Composer
      5m 47s
    3. Working with clips, bins, folders, and the Project window
      3m 44s
    4. Saving and backing up your work
      4m 16s
    5. Retrieving a project from the Attic
      3m 38s
  3. 27m 58s
    1. Understanding media formats and the Format tab
      8m 25s
    2. Importing media
      6m 11s
    3. Linking to media using AMA
      5m 43s
    4. Accessing media from other projects
      2m 56s
    5. Working with clips in the bin
      4m 43s
  4. 23m 49s
    1. Getting started with editing
      7m 25s
    2. Creating a new sequence
      5m 39s
    3. Removing material from your sequence
      6m 20s
    4. Editing segments in the Timeline
      4m 25s
  5. 30m 44s
    1. Using Splice, Overwrite, and three-point editing
      5m 25s
    2. Understanding trim concepts
      4m 39s
    3. Working with trim techniques
      6m 6s
    4. Using the Timeline
      7m 49s
    5. Building multitrack sequences
      6m 45s
  6. 14m 21s
    1. Adjusting audio levels and pan
      6m 42s
    2. Diving deeper into audio
      7m 39s
  7. 23m 8s
    1. Setting quick transitions
      5m 33s
    2. Working in the Effects palette
      3m 42s
    3. Keyframing effects
      7m 1s
    4. Setting system performance and rendering effects
      6m 52s
  8. 17m 37s
    1. Creating freeze-frames and motion clips
      4m 40s
    2. Understanding timewarp effects
      7m 15s
    3. Understanding Timeline compositing
      5m 42s
  9. 19m 44s
    1. Working with basic color correction
      7m 13s
    2. Stabilizing shaky footage
      1m 44s
    3. Creating a basic title
      5m 0s
    4. Mixing down video and audio
      5m 47s
  10. 6m 33s
    1. Building the final output
      6m 33s
  11. 18s
    1. Goodbye

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Avid Media Composer 5 Getting Started
3h 10m Beginner Jun 10, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Avid Media Composer 5 Getting Started, author Steve Holyhead explores the tools and techniques in Media Composer for producing great looking video, as well as the basics of high definition media formats. This course walks through the video production workflow from input to editing to output, covers key information such as trim concepts and frame rates, and introduces techniques such as color correction, footage stabilization, and real-time audio effects. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Working with clips, bins, and folders
  • Importing media
  • Creating sequences
  • Editing in the Timeline
  • Using the Splice, Overwrite, and Three-Point editing techniques
  • Trimming sequences
  • Refining audio
  • Adding and keyframing effects
  • Compositing
  • Mixing down audio and video
Media Composer
Steve Holyhead

Using the Timeline

The Timeline is the place where all of your media, ideas, and preparation come together. The better command you have of the Timeline tools, the more you'll be able to concentrate on the important stuff: the pictures and sounds. Here, in the Timeline window, I have a Scale Bar. If I click down, hold, and drag to the right, I zoom in my view of the Timeline area. Over here, I have the Scroll bar. So, if I drag to the right or to the left, I can move up and down my Timeline.

If I zoom all the way back out, I'd like to show you that in the bottom left-hand corner here, we have the Focus button. If I click the Focus button, I get zoomed in, so I can examine specific parts of my Timeline. Once I'm done, I can click the Focus button again, and I'm scaled all the way back out, so we can see the full sequence from start to finish. We can see in the Timeline here that we have the names of the clips. We can also add more data. In the Fast menu, I can go to the Clip Text submenu.

Here, you can see the Clip Names is already active. We can now go ahead and also activate Clip Durations. So, now you can see that data on each clip in the Timeline. I'd like to add some more data. Back to the Fast menu, back to Clip Text, and this time I'm going to choose Clip Resolutions. If I zoom in a little, you can see that I've got DNx 36 here, XDCAM HD 50 megabits here, and DVCPro HD here. Now, at the moment, the video track is smaller than the audio tracks.

For some editing, this may be appropriate. In this case, what I'd like to do is make the audio tracks a little smaller, and the video track a little bigger. First off, I'm going to deactivate the video track. Notice that it's gone gray now. The audio tracks remain active. They're blue. So now, using Command+K on a Mac, or Ctrl+K on a Windows machine, I can make the audio track smaller. Now, if I click down, hold, and lasso over the tracks, now I've inverted my selection.

So, this time, if I use Command+L or Ctrl+L, and I disengage these two tracks, I'll be making just the video track bigger, like so. Now, if I'm happy with that view, I can come down here to the View menu, and Save that customized view. Let's go back over here and look at track activeness in more detail. At the moment, video track 1 is active, and none of the audio tracks are active.

So, if I come to my clip, here in the Timeline, and I make a mark, notice that just the video track is highlighted. This means that when I perform an operation - let's lift this portion of the clip out of the Timeline - you can see that that operation has only affected the video track. The audio tracks remain unaffected. Let's make another mark over here. Notice again, the video track is highlighted, but if I click down, lasso, and invert my selection again, now it's the audio tracks that are highlighted.

If I perform an editing operation, you can see that only the audio portion of this clip is affected; the video portion remains unaffected at that point in the Timeline. Track activeness also affects source record editing. If I take his clip here, the sunset clip, and load it into my Source viewer, you can now see that I've got an extra set of tracks which correspond to the source side. If all of the tracks on the source side are active, but the video track only on the record side is inactive, let's have a look to see what happens when we perform an edit.

I'm going to clear my marks in my Timeline and go and park at the very beginning of the sequence. Now, I'm going to mark up the section of this clip here, and use the Splice command to insert that clip into my sequence. Notice what happened is only the audio portion of that clip was inserted, and what that did is it knocked all of the audio tracks further down the Timeline out of sync with their video counterparts. Let's undo that, and let's do the same thing with Overwrites.

Again, only audio has been written into the sequence, but because we use the Overwrite command, everything further down remains in sync. Okay, let's undo that, because what I'd like to show you is that the behavior is different when I use drag and drop. Let's come further down my Timeline here to this space. If I grab my clip and drag and drop from the Source viewer to the Timeline area, look what happens. The system has ignored the activeness of the Timeline and respected the activeness of the Source side.

Let's undo that once more. What happens if I now deactivate the audio tracks on the source side and drag and drop? Now, I get a video only edit. That's because when I drag and drop, we are respecting the activeness on the source side, but ignoring the activeness on the record side. So, that's a very important difference when you're dragging and dropping from either the bin or the Source viewer as compared to using the Splice-in or Overwrite commands here in the Composer window.

On the outermost edges of the record side and the source side, we have our Monitoring buttons; by default, the monitoring for audio tracks and video tracks is on. For example, here, on the record side, if I were to disable the monitoring for the video track, notice that we lose the picture. It goes gray. Likewise, on the audio tracks, I have these Solo and Mute buttons here. If I mute all of my tracks, I don't hear anything playing back.

If I solo one of the tracks, then I mute all of the others by definition, and I will only hear Audio track 1 playing back. (Clip playing.) Like so. This area is known as the Track Control panel. I can toggle the display of the Track Control panel just here. When it's toggled off, like so, I get more real estate in my Timeline window to display my sequence; when it's on, I get access to these controls.

This button here activates the Waveform Display for the current track that I'm on. I could go ahead and activate all of them if I like. You can see straight away, I get feedback in the Timeline. It doesn't look like I have very much audio data at all on audio track 3 or 4, but I do on audio tracks 1 and 2. This button here switches monitoring for a particular track, on or off completely. So, if I turn this track off, and this track off, and now play back in my Timeline, I'm not hearing anything.

But if turn them back on -- (Audio playing.) Now we have our audio back. Don't confuse the on/off state of the Monitor button with track activeness. Even if this Monitor button was switched off, and I performed an edit operation with the A1 track active, it would still be affected. When using Splice and Overwrites, or performing other commands on a track, you will need to pay attention to track activeness. On the other hand, drag and drop commands will ignore track activeness on the record side.

They will respect track activeness on the source side, however.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Avid Media Composer 5 Getting Started .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: I'm having a little trouble in the Chapter 2 "Linking to media using AMA" video.

When I follow the procedure shown to link to AMA volume - Humming Birds, instead of the bin with the clips opening as shown in the training video, I'm presented with a Bin Selection dialog box. All options in this dialog result in the same message:

Unable to link to any clips at/ (followed by the directory)

Do I need to have a particular camera codec installed on my system in order to read/import these training files in the AMA folder?
A: With Media Composer 5.5 onwards, the AMA plug-ins must be downloaded and installed after installing the Media Composer application.

If the AMA plug-in for your camera type (in this case P2) has not been installed manually, then the AMA link will fail. This is a change from Media Composer 5.0, when the AMA plug-ins were bundled into the main application installer.

Once the AMA plug-in needed (in this case P2) has been downloaded and installed, this will solve the problem.

All AMA plug-ins can be found at http://www.avid.com/US/products/Avid-Media-Access. Choose the Plug-In sub-tab and download from there.
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Avid Media Composer 5 Getting Started.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.