Clip Color

I’m sure this will be obvious to some of you, but I’ve found that many people don’t use Avid’s powerful ability to colorize clips in the timeline. It’s not always intuitive, but once set up, this can be very helpful in finding things visually.

You can colorize clips in no less than four ways:

  1. The timeline can show you all offline material in red. This can be very helpful if you want to do a quick check before making a digital cut.
  2. You can change the color of an individual clip anywhere in the timeline. Useful to tag something so you can easily find it again.
  3. You can have the MC show you every instance of a particular source clip in a specific color. This offers a quick answer to “Where did I use this shot?” or “How many times did I use this shot?”
  4. You can have the MC distinguish clips based on their resolution or whether they are standard def or high def.

Each feature is invoked in a slightly different way — and therein lies the confusion.

1. To invoke “offline” clip coloring, simply select that option in the timeline popup menu.


Now, every offline clip will be displayed in red.

2. To colorize a specific shot — Avid calls this “local” color — several steps are needed. First, make sure that local color is turned on by selecting that option in the timeline popup.

Turn On Local Color In Tl

Then select the clip you’re interested in using segment mode, and change it’s color via the Edit menu:

Set Local Clip Color

The shot you selected via segment mode will change color.

3. To colorize every instance of a particular source clip, first turn that feature on in the timeline by selecting Clip Color > Source. Then go to the bin that contains the clip and activate the “color” bin column.

Turn On Clip Color In Bin

Finally, put your cursor into the “color” bin column. A popup menu will appear and you can select a color for that source clip. Every time you use that shot in a sequence it’ll be shown in the color you choose.

4. To have the timeline colorize SD and HD clips, select that option from the timeline popup. For more about resolution coloring (using Avid’s “MultiRez” feature) see your manual.

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9 Comments on “Clip Color”

  1. Ralph Foster Says:

    I have found that on OSX film composer the Local color setting “falls off” the clip if you do anything to it including pan and audio level changes. This turned out to be quite useful as my editor did not like to see the local color setting but I could use it to see what had changed in a cut. I would color everything green then if he adjusted anything or cut anything new material into the cut it would show up in my timeline view as having no color. I quick and simple alternative to the “change list” which shows up changes to sound aswell as picture. Useful when you have to keep 2 sets of master edits going (offline/online, SD/HD) in 2 seperate projects.

  2. Mark Burton Says:

    Ralph, that is an amazing tip, definitely going to use that now.

  3. Steve Says:

    You lose the color if you trim the clip, too? That’s not very helpful.

  4. Mark Burton Says:

    having tested this now, I see that trimming a clip does not change the color. Clearly a new shot cut in would show up, but a trim would not. Can you elaborate on how you used this Ralph?

    • Ralph Foster Says:

      Several years later I reply to Mark Burton… I was only using it to determine new sound files that had not gone to the mix or original dialogue that had been returned to the timeline after we were using stems. My editor insisted on leaving original dialogue on one set of tracks and stems on another but wouldn’t tell me when I was to export one or the other (He was a kind of mix on the fly guy and would raise the appropriate faders at the right point rather than keyframe it). It was not a complete replacement for the changelist so maybe I misled you mentioning it.
      New clips showed up with a no color, clips I knew about had a color I’d given them before so I knew where I’d been and I could color in which original dialogue was set to replace the stems.
      Incidentally I thought this “feature” had been fixed but in v2.8.3 at least its still there so adjusting the volume or adding keyframes still looses you local color.
      Thank heavens I just reread the post below and can now right click in the timeline to put it back when I want to!

  5. Steve Says:

    How about something simple like right clicking a clip and up comes “Show Me Where I used this in my Sequence”?

  6. Steve Says:

    Sure would be simpler. And it would be nice to select a clip in segment mode and right click on it to change its “local” color.

  7. Scott Janush Says:

    I change color all the time using a right click in segment mode.
    This is how I get ready for a DI or online. I will color anything that is ready for final assembly in green and use various other colors for VFX, DigOpt, DI fixes etc… I can go thru the timeless very quickly and check overall reel status.


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