It’s All About Speed! Saturday, April 17 , 10:15 – 11:30am

It’s All About Speed!
Customizing DS and Learning How to Edit Faster
Saturday, April 17th, 10:15 – 11:30am
Avid DS is a powerful and flexible tool for post production. Its open architecture enables users to access
the products powerful functionality in a variety of ways. For this reason, there are multiple methods of
accomplishing even the simplest of tasks.
As you begin working with Avid DS, you will probably be content to simply use the factory defaults
(defaults layouts, command shortcuts etc.).
However at some point, you might want to take a closer look at your workflow and consider making some
It usually helps to analyze what slows you down, or what frustrates you. Then you can examine what DS
offers to operate more efficiently.
Please note that this seminar has been written based on Avid DS version 7: although many things covered
here are still applicable to earlier versions.
This presentation is based on one users personal approach. It won’t necessarily meet the needs and/or
style of everybody. However, the underlying strategy should point you in the right direction, and enable
you to develop your own personal style.
The best tip I could give you is: “Don’t wait until you’re in a hurry to learn how to edit faster” ☺
If at all possible, use your downtime to practice on the system. Spend time reviewing some of the items
covered in this presentation, such as experimenting with new workflows. It will definitely payoff during
those high-pressure situations.
Storyboarding & Drag and drop
There are a variety of ways of placing clips on the timeline. One method is to use the double viewer and
mark in/out points, then insert, overwrite (…) clips to the timeline. This is a very efficient workflow when
you need to place multiple sections of a master clip(s) on the timeline. We will review this workflow in the
next section, when we edit a dialog scene.
However, let’s start by placing a few video clips in the timeline. Since only a few of these clips need to be
split, we will “storyboard” them in a bin, then perform a multiple drag and drop.
Previewing clips, marking in/out points
In order to preview a clip, you must load it to the source viewer. Simply double-click on the clip located in
the bin. Once the clip is loaded in the source viewer, you can preview it and mark in/out points.
Note that the master clip will automatically retain its new in and out points. Later, when we drag this clip to
the timeline, only the selected in to out material will be dropped to the timeline.
If you don’t like this behavior, deselect the option “Always update clips in source viewer” which is located
under User Preferences > Editing.
Creating sub-clips
When several actions are part of the same shot (or when several shots are part of the same clip), it seems
logical to split that clip in order to “storyboard” efficiently.
To prepare our clips for “storyboard editing”, let’s examine the Avid DS shortcuts which will help us
improve our efficiency.
Vari-speed Forward Playback *
Vari-speed Backward Playback *
Frame Forward
Frame Backward
10 Frames Forward
10 Frames Backward
Go To
Go to Start
Go to End
Go to In
Go to Out
Clear In
Clear Out
Clear In and Out
Create Subclip
Up Arrow
Increase the speed
Right Arrow
Decrease the speed
Left Arrow
Up Arrow twice
Increase the speed
Left Arrow
Decrease the speed
Right Arrow
Right Arrow
Left Arrow
Ctrl + Right Arrow
Ctrl + Left Arrow
Click and type the TC in the viewer
Shift + I
Shift + O
Ctrl + Shift + I
Ctrl + Shift + O
Ctrl + Shift + B
* There are two ways to access DS’s vari-speed functionality.
Here are listed a combination of shortcuts that are very handy when used together.
The JKL commands will be covered later on.
You’ll notice that by default, the “Create Subclip” command is not mapped to any shortcut key. Let’s fix it!
Creating your own shortcut(s)
Go to File = Command Mapping.
Ensure that your Command Mapping is not set to a default template (Avid DS, Avid DS MC or
Avid Media Composer). These default templates cannot be modified, so you must create your
To create a new template, simply click on the “New” button and enter a name.
When you create a new template, DS will create a copy of the current template, so that you don’t need to
start from scratch. In this case, your newly created template will inherit all the properties of the “Avid DS”
To assign a shortcut to a command, you first must locate the group in which the command exists. This is
not always immediately obvious.
So, here is a tip:
From the “Command Mapping” window, click on “View in Explorer”.
The shortcut template is now displayed as an .html document. You can then do a
search from there.
Click on “Ctrl + F” (shortcut for “Find (on this page)” ).
Type “Subclip” in the “Find what” text box.
Click on “Find Next”
You have determined that “Create Subclip” falls under the Viewer group.
Note 1: This technique is also useful when searching for a specific shortcut, especially in earlier
versions of Avid DS.
Avid DS version 7 now has the ability to display tooltips for most features. Tooltips will also display
the shortcut keys required to access a particular feature.
All popup menus will now also display command shortcut details.
Note 2: The Shortcut list is also available under the Help menu in Avid DS v7. However, it does
not display your customized template, or the “undefined” shortcuts.
Let us assume that we want “Shift + S” to be associated with “Create Subclip”.
In the “Group” list, select “Viewer”.
Hold down the Shift key and, from the Command list, drag and drop “Create Subclip” to the
“S” on the keyboard (as illustrated below).
Let’s examine our new workflow with this new shortcut
Double click on any clip to load it in the source viewer.
To prepare the clip for drag and drop, use the transport control shortcuts, and mark new in/out
If you need to split the clip, create a subclip (using “Shift + S”).
- Subclips always appear at the root of the current project.
- The position of the position indicator determines what frame is displayed in the subclip
- When you create a subclip, keep in mind that the in/out points become boundaries for the
subclip. Ensure that you retain the required amount of head and tail material (to create a
transition for instance). If you don’t, then the “Match Frame” & “Replace” features will be
really useful.
You can either:
In the Avid Explorer, Ctrl + select the clips in the order in which you want them to appear.
Drag and drop them to the timeline.
The order in which you selected them is respected, as well as the in/out points you set.
You can also:
Make sure the bin is set to Thumbnail view.
Ensure that the bin is not set to “Auto Arrange” (right-click on the bin > Arrange Icons > Auto
You can now drag the clips in the order you want them to appear on the timeline.
Click and drag to “lasso” the clips which will select them sequentially.
Drop them to the timeline.
Note: Ripple mode can always be overridden by using the following hotkeys. While dragging and
dropping, hold down the B key to overwrite or the V key to insert.
This workflow will allow you to quickly assemble clips in the timeline. However, you’ll probably need to trim
Trimming in the timeline:
There are a variety of ways to trim clips in Avid DS. Here is a list of the most common (note that all these
methods are not necessarily exclusive and might be used in combinations):
Using the Trim View
Using the Slip/Slide View
Interactive trimming
Snap in / Snap out
More shortcuts
F9 F10 F11
[ ] Ctrl+[ Ctrl +]
JKL editing
- Automatically displayed when selecting an edit point (if the
“Autoswitch” mode is selected).
- Otherwise, select an edit point and click on the trim icon or the Y
* To select an edit point, you can directly click on it (if you’re in
selection mode). Otherwise, shift + lasso (from left to right).
- Automatically displayed when selecting a clip (if the “Autoswitch”
mode is selected).
- Otherwise, select a clip and click on the trim icon, or the Y key.
* To select a clip, you can directly click on it (if you’re in selection
mode). Otherwise, shift + lasso (from right to left).
- Select an edit point and drag either the outgoing, incoming handle or
the edit point (which trims both sides simultaneously).
- Select a clip.
- From the “Editing” pull-down menu, select the “Snap in” or “Snap
out” command (or use the PgDn / PgUp shortcuts) to trim the
incoming frame (Snap in) or outgoing frame (Snap out) to the position
indicator position.
- Select an edit point or navigate between edit points using the “,” and
“;” shortcuts.
- Use the F9/F11 shortcuts to select the outgoing or incoming frame
or F10 to select the edit point.
- Trim forward or backward, frame-by-frame or 10 frames by 10
frames using the [or] or Ctrl+[or Ctrl +] shortcuts *.
- Preview the new edit point by clicking on the ~ shortcut.
* This can also be used to trim other objects (like an entire clip or an
- Select an edit point, an outgoing or an incoming handle (using the
shortcuts described above if desired).
- Hit J to trim backward and K when you reach the desire frame *.
- Hit K to trim forward and K when you reach the desire frame *.
* JKL can also be used to trim other objects (like an entire clip or an
What about ripple?
Which ever method you decide to use, keep in mind that the “Ripple” state matters when you trim only one
side of an edit point (outgoing or incoming frame). However, when you trim an edit point or slip/slide a clip,
Ripple doesn’t matter.
Tristan’s personal choices
When trimming large amounts of material, I use interactive trimming or Snap in/Snap out.
To nudge the edits, I navigate through edit points and trim using the shortcut commands
(described above) in conjunction with the Trim view.
More information about trimming
When ripple is off, trimming the incoming frame of a clip equals a slip. However, when trimming
the outgoing frame of a clip, DS doesn’t behave exactly the same (when ripple is off). To perform
a “backtime” trim (slip the content of a clip based on its outgoing frame), you have to hold down
the E key.
To stretch a clip (preserving its length but keeping its incoming/outgoing frame), first timewarp the
clip (T key), then trim its incoming/outgoing frame while holding down the G key.
Dealing with AV clips and multiple insertions
As mentioned earlier, when you have to place multiple sections of a master clip(s) into the timeline, and/or
when you don’t want to group all of the clips in the same bin, editing with the double viewer become very
handy. The double viewer also offers additional options (like “fit to fill”, “track patching” etc.) to edit more
precisely when “placing clips in the timeline.
- Load a clip to the source viewer.
- Mark in/out points
- Track patch as necessary
- Select/deselect the track you want (or don’t want) to be
placed on the timeline.
- Select the Sync Point Editing
or Fit to fill mode if needed
- Insert, Overwrite or insert
Sync Point
Insert (V) Overwrite (B) Replace
Fit to Fill
Using the Source side timeline
To display the source side timeline, click on the “Toggle Source/Record timeline” icon.
To toggle automatically between the Source and Record timeline as you select the Source/Record Viewer,
right-click on the “Toggle Source/Record timeline” icon and select “Auto”.
When working in “Auto” mode, you can use the following shortcuts (+ the ones used earlier), This covers
the most commoly used dual viewer functions.
Switch Viewer
Trim AV synced clips
Shift Trim:
Hold down the Shift key while selecting an outgoing frame, incoming frame, or edit points.
This automatically selects the aligned edit point.
Split Edit:
Select one of the edit points (audio or video), between two synced audio/video clips.
Trim Peer Sync Selection:
Select the outgoing/incoming frame or the edit point.
Use the Editing > Select Sync Peers command on the toolbar or Q shortcut.
Resync: You may accidentally unsync audio/video clips. To restore sync lock:
Select the “slave” clip that has become unsynced (when a clip is unsynced, the name is displayed
in a different color, and an offset indicator is displayed.)
Use the Editing > Resync command on the toolbar.
Note: Magnetism is very useful feature. However, there are situations where you might prefer to turn
it off. For instance, if you are trimming an outgoing/incoming frame which is very close to the edit
point. Holding down the shift key will temporarily disable magnetism.
Multi-camera editing
Place multi-cam clips onto separate Background tracks.
Make sure the “Show unused material option” is selected (you can activate it by right-clicking on
the timeline ribbon and select Display > Display Unused material).
To synchronize clips that originate from a live action shoot, where multiple cameras are running synced
timecode, do the following:
Select the any “multi-cam” clip.
Make sure the status bar is set to clip mode
Position indicator timecode
Set a locator on the first clip (hit the “M” shortcut).
Select another “multi-cam” video clip and move the position indicator to the same “source”
Add a locator to the clip.
Repeat the last two steps to all other “multi-cam” video clips (if you have more than two).
Move the clips so that the locators are aligned (dragging the clips with the locators to align them is
a good option)
Note: With Avid DS version 7, you can sync the multi-cam clips as you place them on the timeline by
overwriting (with the new Sync Point dual-viewer function).
You can decide to sync all “multi-cam” clips together by multi-selecting all the multi-cam clips, and
selecting “Sync Lock” from the Editing menu (or simply hit the “S” shortcut).
You can now cut between the multi-cam clips. Here is a list of useful commands:
Cut to
Select Clip Forward
Select Clip Backward
- Select a clip (or a region above a clip) that is
not “active”.
- Select “Activate” (from the Editing menu) or
hit the shortcut “A”.
- Select a clip (or a region above a clip) that is
- Select “Deactivate” (from the Editing menu) or
hit the shortcut “Ctrl+Shift+A”.
- Select a clip that is not active at the position
- Select “Cut to” (from the Editing menu) or hit
the shortcut “C”.
Ctrl+Tab *
Ctrl+Shift+Tab *
* These shortcuts are very handy when used in conjunction with “Cut to” (C) and all the transport shortcuts
(covered earlier).
Note: In order to view all multi-cam clips while you are performing your “cut to”, editing session,
you can select each multi-cam video clips by right clicking and selecting “Open viewer”. Each
multi-cam clip will have its own viewer.
Note: Cutting between background tracks allows you to apply a transition at the edit points
Processing Optimizations
Processing without an RP system can create bottlenecks. However, if you are clever in how you process,
in some cases, you can reduce processing time considerably - and with no deterioration in image quality.
Here are two examples:
Example 1
Here you have a timewarped clip and a DVE (that needs to be animated) on top.
Because the timewarp is not real-time effect, you will need to re-process the effect every time you
make a modification to the DVE.
To obtain a better interactivity when animating the DVE, do the following:
Select the “Timewarp Container” clip.
Invoke the processing dialog box.
Process “Selected Object” (and not “Duration of Selection”), DO NOT select “Sw“ or “Hw” as
“Include Real-Time Effects”.
You can now fine tune the animated DVE, with real-time interactivity.
Example 2
Here is an effect tree where a matte effect is used to create a mask for a Color Correction.
If the matte generates a static shape with a lot of blur, you can definitely improve the processing
time. Actually, processing the output of this tree requires you to process the Matte for each frame
(even though it’s static and only used as a mask).
By adding a Black (Source Generator) and connecting to the matte effect + adding a cache node
at the output of the matte effect will make DS to process the “mask” once only.
The result is much faster processing (up to 1000%).