Using Keyboard Commands vs Drag and Drop

Drag and drop editing is an elementary way to use the Avid program. If you ever want to be hired as an editor, the first thing your prospective employers will look for is whether you immediately reach for the keyboard rather than the mouse. Keyboard editing is much more efficient and, once you are familiar with the commands, more enjoyable.

Step 1: Apply the Stickers

With your Avid program, you should have received some stickers for your keyboard. Though you may have come up with some excuse not to use these at first, you should go ahead and apply them now.

Step 2: Precision

Navigating your timeline is not merely a matter of clicking on the spot that you want to make a cut. To be sure you have the exact spot, you would need to constantly adjust the zoom in order to ensure that your cursor selects the right frame. If you look at your "A" and "S" keys, the stickers will have arrows pointing to a vertical line. These symbols will move your cursor to the next cut in the respective directions. This way you can quickly select the first frame at any cut point. Now look at the keys for numbers 1-4. The symbols on numbers 1 and 2 will move you 10 frames in the respective directions. The 3 and 4 will move you one frame.  Using these you can find a precise moment from which you want to cut.

Step 3: Marking

Once you have found the right spot for your cut, there are two ways to add the new shot. One is splice, and the other is overwrite. These are two options that you would also have to account for in drag and drop editing, but rather than clicking on the icon first, then dragging your clip to the timeline, you can do it all on your keyboard. At your chosen frame, press "E". This command means "Mark-In," telling Avid that this is where to make the cut. Now go to your new clip and press "E" at the first usable frame, and "R" at the last frame. Now return to your timeline.

Step 4: Splice

Splice is represented by a yellow right-pointing arrow with a break in it. If you press ";" then you will splice your new clip into the timeline. This means, that everything after the splice point is simply pushed to the end of the new clip. So you have merely inserted new footage between existing footage. Be careful of losing sync with this command. All tracks that need to stay aligned should be selected in order to avoid mayhem.

Step 5: Overwrite

The "'" key should show a red arrow pointing right. Press this and the new footage will rest on top of whatever is in its way. You are therefore replacing what was previously in this part of the timeline. There is no risk of losing sync with this command, but you will cover up the former footage.

Though dragging and dropping will essentially do the same thing as this process, the keyboard will accomplish precision faster. Once you get acquainted with these basics, you will also discover more keyboard commands that will cause you to never want to go back.

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