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As a teacher, trainer, and consultant I see a lot of people using Sony Vegas and run across a myriad of working styles and approaches. Some people are quite adept at applying the tools while others get mired in old habits some bad and are reluctant to try new tactics. Vegas is quite flexible and often has two or three ways to accomplish the same end. However, while there are no wrong ways, there are better, faster, and more efficient methods to perform certain tasks.
The Spacebar stops and starts Timeline playback with the stop returning the cursor to the starting point. To pause, hit Enter. However, if you have a dialog box, such as Event Pan/Crop open and in focus, the Spacebar wont work. Instead use F12 which always plays and stops the timeline playback no matter what window has the focus.
To shuttle through your Timeline use the J-K-L keys. Press J to move in reverse with each successive press going faster until reaching the maximum speed. Press K to Pause. Press L to move forward with each extra press increasing speed. Set the maximum JKL speeds in Options > Preferences > Editing Tab > JKL / shuttle speed.
Hold K while pressing either J or L for slower shuttling and each successive press (while still holding K) moves incrementally. For frame by frame movement use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard, though.
Personally, I feel turning on Auto Ripple is the most dangerous mode in Vegas. When enabled, every change you make ripples down the Timeline. You can totally mess up a project if you are not careful. Instead of having to always turn this mode on and off, learn the keyboard shortcuts instead for a post-edit ripple. With this approach, you make the edit, and then invoke the ripple without risk of unwanted results. Find the shortcuts in Edit > Post-Edit Ripple. The F shortcut and the Ctrl+Shift+F are invaluable.
When you need to trim video on the Timeline, grabbing the edge and pulling with your mouse is easy. However, it can be difficult for precise edits or when doing match cuts. Enter keypad trimming mode to the rescue. Keypad trimming works without the mouse and is often ideal for fine tuning a rough edit.
This works best on a full-size keyboard that has a separate number keypad. Laptop users may find investing in a USB external keypad a better approach than trying to use the ?keypad on their computer. Note: this requires a number keypad and not the QWERTY numbers.
Select the video event you want to edit and press ?5 on the keypad to toggle the mode on (and off).
Press the ?7 key to select the nearest event edge to the left and the ?9 key to select the nearest event edge to the right. Notice that Vegas places a red bracket at the edge with the bracket edges pointing in the direction of the edge to be trimmed. Continue to use ?7/9 to locate the edge(s) you need to trim.
Press the ?4 key to trim left and ?6 to trim right. The number of frames these will trim depends on your zoom level. The ?4/6 trim moves one screen pixel at a time which may be more than a single frame if your Timeline is zoomed out far. To always trim only a single frame, use the ?1 key for left and ?3 key for right.
In this example (from the Artbeats Burning House collection, www.artbeats.com), I want to trim the second event to when the fire mushrooms. A few hits of the ?6 key gets me in the ballpark and then I fine tune the edit with the ?3 key.
To close the gap after trimming, use the Post-edit ripple shortcut ?F.
Next, press the ?7 key to move the cursor to the event edge again (the edit point). Then press the keypad ?0 key to quickly preview the edit. Tweak as needed or hit ?5 to exit keypad trimming mode.
Occasionally, you are happy with the timing of an event, but not pleased where it starts within the clip itself. Slip trimming allows you to slide the video around inside the event without moving either edge trim location.
Hover the mouse over the video event, click, and hold Alt. Notice the cursor changes to a frame with arrows inside. Drag to slide the video inside the event around. The Video Preview shows a split screen view with the first frame on the left and the last frame on the right. Position the video as needed. Slip trimming can help create precise, match cuts far easier.
I hope you find these often overlooked tools a useful edition to your Sony Vegas editing workflow.
Jeffrey P. Fisher is a Sony Vegas Certified Trainer and he co-hosts the Sony Acid, Sony Sound Forge, and Sony Vegas forums on Digital Media Net (www.dmnforums.com). For more information visit his Web site at www.jeffreypfisher.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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