Avid: Mapping the Keyboard to Zoom the Timeline

When you discovered mapping the keyboard in Avid, you may not have realized that you cannot only map keys, but also commands. One command that is very popular and useful is zooming in and out of the timeline.

Step 1: Slider

As you hopefully already know, you can zoom in and out of the timeline using the smaller scroll bar to the left of the regular scroll bar at the bottom of the window. Moving the slider to the right takes you closer to the clips. Moving the slider to the left will take you all the way back to where your sequence fills the timeline space.

Step 2: Fast Menu

Now, go into your Fast Menu at the bottom left hand corner of the timeline window represented by two white bars sandwiching a black bar. Here, you will see some commands that say "Zoom In" and "Zoom Back". These commands do not correspond with what you have just been doing. In fact, what you want are the commands that say "More Detail" and "Less Detail". You may note that to the right of these commands is the keyboard short cut assigned to them. CTRL +] will get you more detail and CTRL + [ will get you less detail. However, these can be hard to remember, so we will make better ones.

Step 3: Keyboard

If you are using Avid Xpress, then you can go ahead and stop here because the end result of the remaining steps is already set up automatically. If you are in Media Composer, go to the project window and click on the "Settings" tab. Scroll down to "Keyboard" and double click. Your keyboard map should pop up. Now, go up to "Tools" and open your "Command Palette". At the bottom of this window, you will need to check the option for "Menu to Button Reassignment". The most convenient place for you to place these more and less detail commands is on the up and down arrows. But, there are already commands assigned to them. Rather than overwriting these commands, you can hold down Shift to see that with Shift held down, nothing is assigned to the up and down arrows.

Step 4: Assignment

In order to assign the commands to the keyboard, you will have to hold down Shift during this entire step. Now, click on the up arrow and allow it to change color. Go back down to the fast menu on the timeline window and scroll up to "More Detail". Click on this command, and you will now see the letters "MD" on the up key in your keyboard window. Repeat this step using the down key and "Less Detail". Now you can easily and quickly get more and less detail on your timeline with this keyboard shortcut. Use this process for any commands that you are fond of.

Using your keyboard as much as possible will increase your editing efficiency. Be sure to prioritize your most useful commands so that you do not overload your memory with too many key strokes.

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