Sync Locks and Why You Need Them
I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t turn sync locks on in the timeline. That seems like a shame to me. In the old days this feature was buggy and many people ended up avoiding it. But now I leave them on all the time. The reason is simple — sync locks allow you to make complex trims on multi-track sequences all day long and still be in sync when you’re done.
Specifically, it means that when you’re trimming, you can ignore any track that contains black at the blue cursor. No more need to create add-edits in black and put rollers on them. And no need to get rid of those add-edits later.
You can go from the first image below to the second in one step. Even though trim rollers are only on V1 and A1, everything stays in sync, and all downstream clips move forward.
In some cases, the blue cursor doesn’t necessarily need to be parked over black for sync locks to work. Nearby black will be trimmed, if necessary. But it’s not always clear what’s going to happen, so it’s probably better to use them only when the blue cursor is actually sitting on black.
Sync locks also allow you to extract a chunk of material in all tracks without having to turn them all on — all you need to do is enable a single track. When you hit the extract key you’ll pull material out of all tracks with sync locks.
In general, sync locks don’t affect segment mode. So you should still be careful with sync when dragging clips around. A setting can help — but it’s quirky. It’s in timeline settings, under the edit tab: “Segment Drag Sync Locks.”
If you turn it on, sync locks will help keep you in sync in segment mode, but segment mode might not behave as you expect. For example, if you’re in yellow segment mode and you want to rearrange some picture clips, you’ll end up recutting any audio in that area — even though you’re not changing sync and you haven’t touched the sound. That’s just bad and ought to be fixed pronto. The tradeoff is that you will be able to move L-shaped picture and audio clips together, inserting black as needed to avoid unnecessarily chopping things up. That’s so tantalizing that I’ve left this setting on for months now trying to get used to it. But I’ve reluctantly decided to leave it off. Avid badly needs to take another look at this. It wouldn’t take much to make it work well.
None of this however, changes the fact that I live by sync locks. If you’re in segment mode most of the time you may prefer them off, but if you tend to be in trim mode a lot sync locks should be your friend. If you haven’t tried them lately, you might want to take another look.
Keep in mind that sync locks are remembered separately for each sequence. So you’ll need to turn them on every time you make a new one. To turn all sync locks on at once, click the rectangle under the sync locks column in either EC1 or TC1. To turn them all off, click there again.