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Audio Keyframing Tips in Avid Media Composer

Ashley Kennedy

Use these quick tips to rubber band your audio in Avid Media Composer!

When editing audio in Avid Media Composer, you adjust the audio gain within segments in the Timeline by adding and adjusting keyframes—a process called rubber banding.  This process is often a meticulous task, so it’s useful to be able to use as many streamlined techniques as possible, since accurate audio editing is such an essential part of the post production process.

Adding and Adjusting Audio Keyframes

First, let’s just review how to enable audio keyframing in the Timeline.

To add keyframes to audio tracks in the Timeline:

  1. To make audio editing tools more accessible (and to prevent you from needing to continually access the commands inside the Timeline Fast menu), open the Track Control Panel, available from the Timeline Fast menu.

    Opening the Track Control Panel will display several important tools to the Timeline, to the right of the audio track selectors.
  1. Also from the Timeline Fast Menu, enable Per Track Selection (available from within Audio Data).  This will allow you to better use the Track Control Panel on a track-by-track basis.
  2. Now you’re all set up to select the appropriate options for audio keyframing.
    From the Track Control Panel, do the following:
    •  Turn on the Waveform on the tracks whose audio gain you want to adjust.  To turn on the Waveform for all tracks at once, just Option+click (Mac) or Alt+click (PC) the Waveform button on one of the tracks.
    •  From the Clip Gain/Pan controls, select Auto Gain on the tracks whose audio you want to adjust.

    Once you enable Auto Gain, the audio waveform in your sequence changes from black to gray.  This means that you are ready to begin keyframing your audio.
  3. Select the tracks that you want to adjust first.  Then, press the Add Keyframe button (the apostrophe key on the keyboard) at the areas that you want to make an audio level change.
  4. To be able to raise or lower the keyframe(s), select the Audio Keyframe button on the left side of the Timeline.
  5. Hover the mouse over the keyframe you want to adjust.  The cursor will turn into a hand.  Drag the keyframe(s) up or down as desired.

Audio Keyframe Tips and Tricks

With that review, let’s talk about all of the various ways that you can move keyframes once you’ve applied them.

To move keyframes from left to right (in time):

  • Option+drag (Mac) or Alt+drag (Windows) the keyframe back and forth through time.  (Make sure the appropriate tracks are selected, and the Keyframe button is selected on the left of the Timeline.)

To snap to the decibel lines moving keyframes up and down (in level):

  1. To display the decibel lines in the Timeline, you first need to increase the size of the tracks.  Select the appropriate tracks, then continually pressing Command + L (Mac) or Control + L (Windows).  Eventually, the tracks will exhibit white decibel markers.
  2. Hover the mouse cursor over a keyframe, and Command + drag (Mac) or Control + drag (Windows) up or down.  The keyframe will snap to each decibel line.

To move or delete multiple keyframes simultaneously:

  1. Mark an IN point (I key) and an OUT point (O key) around the keyframes you want to move.
  2. Hover the mouse over one of the keyframes until the cursor becomes a hand, and then move up or down as desired.  All keyframes between the IN and OUT points move in tandem.
  3. To delete multiple keyframes, simply hover the mouse over one of the keyframes, and then press Delete on the keyboard.  All keyframes between the IN and OUT points are deleted.

To use the Audio Mixer to adjust keyframe gain:

  1. Open the Audio Mixer from the Tools menu.
  2. Click on a keyframe.  (It will flash purple.)
  3. Adjust the level slider to move the keyframe up or down.  To move multiple keyframes at once, gang the tracks in the Audio Mixer.

    (To return a keyframe value back to “0,” Option + click (Mac) or Alt + click (Windows) inside the appropriate level slider of the Audio Mixer.)