Picture editing is about creatively approaching story structure, knowing how to fit puzzle pieces together to create moments, and utilizing reactions to help dialogue flow smoothly. But perhaps the most important thing when sitting with a client is knowing how to do those things quickly, and to be fast is to know your keyboard shortcuts.

It’s amazing how much time it actually takes to move your hand from your keyboard to your mouse and back again, and that time adds up. Some research shows that knowing keyboard shortcuts could save you upwards of 8 days of work per year.

We’re now seeing products like tablets or Blackmagic Design’s new editor keyboard come out to help editors do their jobs faster. Being a “mouse-less” editor is valuable! Especially when working with Avid Media Composer, which relies heavily on track patching to assign destinations in a sequence for your edits.

Learning new keyboards can be tricky if you work with multiple NLEs, so we created this Avid Media Composer keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet to help you learn the default Avid Keyboard settings.

Media-composer-shortcuts_0Graphic by April Tapley

Though certainly, one of the handiest features of Media Composer is its ability to customize your keyboard and workspace as needed, and also easily import and export user settings to take with you to different machines.

I personally like to customize my keyboard settings and bring my user profile with me when I work in different places, but it’s useful to learn the default settings as well. I will also use project-specific settings.

For example, on narrative work where sound work is extensive, I like to assign all of my audio tracks to keys so I can toggle between track patches without retreating to my mouse each time. Or, on documentary work, it’s helpful to have different colored markers assigned to keys in order to make different types of notes quickly. 


You can download our documentary keyboard settings and give them a try.

Happy editing!