Join Chris North for an in-depth discussion in this video The timeline, part of Avid Xpress Pro 5.5 Essential Editing.
So, this is the Timeline window here and the Timeline window is essentially where we put our program together. We read it left-to-right and as the clips run left-to-right, it constructs our program. You will notice here, we have the track panels here. The tracks on the left, relate to our source clip and the tracks on the right relate to our record clip. We can actually enable and disable tracks for the purposes of monitoring. So, for example, I can turn the video on and off, or any of the audio tracks. It's also possible to solo an audio track as well.
If I Ctrl+click here or Command+click on the Mac, it will solo that track and you will notice now if I play my Source window, (audio plays) I am only getting the right hand audio channel. (Keys jangle.) I can Ctrl+click or Command+click again. (Background noise in video plays.) Now, both audio tracks are available. The same applies the to the Record side as well. I can enable and disable tracks, monitor specific tracks and solo them as well, so that's Ctrl+clicking or Command+clicking to solo. At the top of the Timeline here, we have a number of buttons and we are not going to go through all of these right now but we will be returning to these in later chapters.
The first is our Effects Mode button and we will use this when we are modifying transitions or effects that have been applied to clips. We can jump to Trim Mode by clicking on the Trim Mode button and trimming is really the way in which we modify very precisely the In and Out points between our clips. Let's press again to get off that. We have a Quick Transition button and we'll use this when we are adding dissolves or fades between clips or the end of clips. If we have effects applied to a particular clip or a transition, we can render it right here with this button and then also remove effects as well.
To the right, we have our audio level meter and this gives us a real-time preview of our audio levels. While I just press Play on my Record Monitor here, (Audio plays.) you will notice that my audio levels are reflecting the audio. Okay, so before we carry on, I notice that we have got a marked region here. I am just going to remove that by pushing G on the keyboard to move my marks. It's possible for me to rename these tracks, if I Ctrl+click on the Mac or right-click on the PC, go to Rename Track and I can call this a Main Video.
So, I can change the name of any of these tracks. It's also possible for me to resize these tracks as well. If I move the mouse just between the tracks and actually drag these out and resize these to the size I want. This is particularly useful if you are working with perhaps audio and you need to see a little bit more detail in there. Some audio tracks are a lot larger now and that not means that there is a lot more room in there to display some more information. And down here on the fast menu, there are number of options for changing how my Timeline is viewed. For example, I can show a Sample Plot on my audio, which is simply a visual representation of the audio files. You can see all the peaks and troughs of the audio there. That's very useful when you are editing to a beat or there is a little bit of sound in there that you want to remove or isolate. By using this view, it makes a lot easier to see that.
Let's return to my fast menu. We can actually change individual track colors and to do that, what we'll need to do is disable the tracks I don't want to affect simply by clicking on them. So, I am just leaving my main video track. Going back to my fast menu, Track Color, I have got quite a wide range of colors that I can choose from. So, I'll choose nice blue and there we go. If I wanted to change the audio colors, deselect video, select my audio tracks, back to my fast menu, Track Color and let's say a nice pink. Here we go.
In addition to changing the click colors, there is also some additional information that I can show. I can, for example, Show Clip Frames, which will show me the first frame of each clip on the Timeline, very useful as a visual reference. I can also show things like the clip durations as well. There is all sorts of information that you can include in your Timeline as you work. If you decide actually I don't want all of this information, I'd like to return to the default view, it's very simple. Go back to my fast menu and right at the very top I have Default Setup. Now I'll return the Timeline to my original colors and track sizes.
Okay, below here, we have our timecode bar. Now, usually when I am scrolling around in the Timeline, I will usually click within this region. You are pretty much guaranteed that it's going to behave the way you want. Okay, at the very bottom of the Timeline here, we have a few more buttons. We have a Focus button, which essentially means that I can zoom into a particular region of the Timeline where my blue bar is parked and then zoom back out again. That's useful if I'm in Trim mode. For example, I wanted to go in and refine my edit little better or a little bit of fine work that I need to do, I can use that button to zoom in and out very, very quickly.
This button here, Source/Record in Timeline, now what this basically does is, when I go back to my Source window here, you will notice that I have my blue bar and I can scrub through my sequence. There might be a time where I have a very long clip. Let's say, for example, I have been capturing from my camcorder I maybe got an hour's worth of footage. An hour's worth of footage compressed into this little window here is going to be a little bit fiddly. So, what I can actually do is switch the display of this Source window into my Timeline temporarily and the way I do that, it simply click my Source Record window. What this does is give me a timeline which is essentially just this clip and it means I can then navigate a lot more specifically, which just means that if you are working with a long clip, it enables you to get in there and make a very accurate in and out points. To get out of this mode, just click again and now I return to my Timeline. You notice that it's very clear which mode I am in because my bar actually turns green here.
Back to blue when I'm in my main timecode window. Okay, the next button along is the Video Quality menu and this is really useful selecting draft modes or high quality modes if you are working with a lot of effects and you have two very, very important buttons. These are our Segment Mode buttons and we are going to be talking about those in a future chapter, when we talk about timeline editing specifically. Okay, that's a very quick overview of our Timeline window. You've probably noticed already that there are a lot of things going on with Avid, a lot of features that are available to you. And one of the things that's very useful to do is to actually customize the interface just the way you want it and we're going to be looking at that in the next movie.
- Exploring and customizing the user interface Organizing media and planning a story Editing essentials Moving clips around on the timeline Adding and modifying transitions Using the Effects palette and editor Rendering principles Creating titles and credits Editing and manipulating audio Importing footage and live capture Recording to tape Exporting files and media