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Avid Media Composer Smart Tool Settings

This Avid Media Composer lesson focuses on configuring a couple of critical settings when it comes to working with the smart tools.


In the previous lesson, I mentioned using only one smart tool at a time.

That’s because the default setting within Media Composer has them all turned on.

Now, I’ve got a simple sequence here with just three clip segments to make some quick points.

If all the smart tools are turned on, it depends where your cursor is parked within a clip segment.

If you are in the middle area of a clip segment, the cursor will turn into a segment arrow.  

If you move close to the edge of a clip, it will turn into a trim tool.

Let’s start with these trim tools.

If you grab the upper portion of a clips edge, it will perform an overwrite trim.

And if I undo, grabbing the bottom portion of a clip will perform a ripple trim.

Okay let me undo.

Now, the same rules applies when deleting or moving clip segments.

If both the red and yellow segment arrows are turned on, it becomes very important where you click and drag.

If you are parked in the top portion of a clip the red segment tool will become active.

So if you drag a clip with the red segment tool, it will perform an overwrite function.

And if I undo, and move towards the bottom portion of a clip, the yellow smart tool will become active.

So for example, if you decide you want this clip between these two clips, make sure you grab the clip segment with the yellow segment tool.

Remember, holding the command to key snap to the next edit point.  

When you release the mouse button, the Avid will perform a splice.

Now navigate to the project window and click on the settings tab.

Find the timeline settings and double click on it.

At the top of the timeline settings window, click on the edit tab.

Within the timeline settings dialogue box, you will see a couple of options you can enable.

If you’re uncomfortable working with more than one segment smart tool at a time, you may want to check the option for ‘Only one segment tool can be enabled at a time.

Then you won’t have to worry about where to click within the sequence when you’re moving or deleting a clip segment, because only one of these segment arrows can be enabled at a time.

The Avid will always use whatever segment tool is turned on.

Also, there’s a setting for the default segment tool.

I find it easier to work with the red segment tool as being the default.  

So, if both segment tools are turned off, or they are both turned on, dragging a clip to the timeline will perform an overwrite edit using the red segment tool.

This way if you choose to drag a clip to the timeline, it won’t affect the duration of your sequence, and it won’t affect the placement of other clip segments.

It will go exactly where you drop it off.

Okay, so now you should have a handle on using the smart segment and trim tools.

And don’t forget, GeniusDV also offers classroom and flat rate onsite Avid Media Composer training.


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Color Mask in Final Cut Pro X was the previous entry in this blog.

Avid Media Composer Slip Mode is the next entry in this blog.

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