How to Use Track Selectors in Avid

When you have many tracks in your timeline, it is important to understand how to use track selection. There are many things to know about the track indicators by your timeline. Some are more obvious than others, but all are important.

Step 1: Turning Tracks On or Off

The first thing to understand is that tracks exist so that you can separate different aspects of your project. This is advantageous because it allows you to manipulate parts of your material without altering everything at the same time. For instance, you may want to extend your musical accompaniment without extending the visual image. So, you would turn off all tracks, except the one with your music on it. To do this, click on the names of the tracks as they sit on the left of the timeline. Purple indicates that the track is on, while gray indicates the track is off.

Step 2: Source Material

You may have noticed that sometimes, there are two columns of track labels next to your timeline. To help understand this layout better, switch to Source/Record mode by going to "Toolsets" and selecting "Source/Record Editing". The left window will hold your source material and the right window will correspond to your timeline. Now make sure that you have some source material open. Look back at your timeline where you will now definitely have two columns of track labels. The left-most column represents tracks in your source material, and therefore only appears when you have source material open.

Step 3: Adding Clips to the Timeline

We will assume that your source material has one video track and two audio tracks. You can tell Avid to add all or only some of this material into the timeline. If you want to use all available tracks in your clip, you will need to make sure that not only are all three tracks selected on the timeline, but also in the source material. The track will not transfer over if either side of the exchange is deselected. If you want to add video with no audio, then select the video track on both the source side and the timeline side, but only select audio tracks on the timeline side. This way, the video clip will be added as usual, and the audio tracks will still react as though a clip has been added. If you then deselect that audio tracks on both the source side and the timeline side, the audio tracks will remain stagnant even as the video track changes.

Step 4: Assigning Tracks

If you have a timeline with many tracks, you may want to tell Avid where to send the source material. You could let it always send new clips to the V1 track and move them yourself, but there is a much easier way. Left click and hold on your source material video track. Now, drag your cursor up to a timeline video track other than V1. Notice an arrow is drawn from the source icon to the timeline icon. Release your mouse and the source track will snap up to the timeline track that you have assigned it to.

Though the track system may seem simple, there are many nuances that can greatly improve your editing. As your work gets more complicated, you will find this information increasingly advantageous. 

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