Introduction to the Smart Tool

Today is release day for Media Composer 5, Avid’s biggest update in years. Let me offer a big, hearty, “congratulations” to everybody at Avid who made this possible. You all are doing great work.

Avid is listening to editors again, for the first time in many years. There are workflow enhancements in this build, to be sure, but there are also long-overdue changes to the editing model. To mark the day, I’ve posted a new tutorial, offering a brief introduction to the Smart Tool, Avid’s new timeline palette that merges Trim Mode and Segment Mode into an always-on interaction model that should appeal to people who prefer a more segment-based, grab-and-drag editing style. This doesn’t begin to cover all the new features, but it should get you started. Avid has also created some videos of their own, here and here.

I’ll be demoing many of the new features at the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group (LAFCPUG) meeting next Wednesday, June 16th at 6:45 pm. Meanwhile, I’m making final changes on my upcoming book, Avid Agility. With luck, it’ll be available at Amazon sometime in July. I hope you’ll find it essential reading.

Check out the tutorial below. A larger version is available on Vimeo.

Explore posts in the same categories: Avid, Avid Technical Tips, With Video

10 Comments on “Introduction to the Smart Tool”

  1. eyal Says:

    Hello, Thanks for the video, I saw that you control in
    avid mc 5..
    in Past you could click on one of the segment mode
    For example on the lift Working a bit and then press
    the extrect and in One click Eliminates the lift and active extrect.
    in avid mc 5 the 2 segment work in this example.

    How can I work like in the past?

  2. Steve Says:

    I can’t make that out. Can you be a little more explicit?

  3. Loren Says:

    Steve –

    Terrific overview with many subtleties. Interesting how several commands have changed to reflect similar functions in Final Cut Pro! Examples: Shift-L for Linked Clip Toggle, holding Option with click to override links.

    Very handy. Can’t wait for your book AVID AGILITY.

  4. mot Says:

    Thanks for the tip. Though not exactly to wish for birthdays, this tool may come handy

  5. Maarten Says:

    Thanks for some great tips. Do you know if it’s possible to link the 2 segment modes in the smart tool together. I would like to push one button to (de)activate the yellow and red segment mode at the same time.

  6. Steve Says:

    The only thing you can do is set the Smart Tool up with the tools you want activated and then turn it all on or off from the keyboard with the smart tool toggle. A custom key that will trigger two buttons isn’t available. You’d have to map each button (they’re on the shifted keyboard, by default).

  7. Ra-ey Saleh Says:

    Hey Steve,
    Get overview of the Smart Tool, in fact I think the best I seen. I know v5 has infuriated some old school friends of mine so i’ll be directing them to this and the More and Tweaks posts – great work.
    I do have a question for you…
    I see that you can now copy/paste clips in segment mode. It simply pastes fro whereever the position indicator is, which is fine. The annoying thing is that it only seems to paste onto the same Video track no matter which is seleced. Do you know of a way to paste a clip onto another track? I’d especially like to paste a clip directly above the one I copied – this would be great for creating ‘power windows’ in CC.

  8. Steve Says:

    Yea, that’s a limitation, certainly. Pastes always go to the track they came from. But you can work around it by copying to the source monitor and then editing the clip wherever you want.

    There are three ways to get your copied material into the source monitor:

    1. Select the clip (or, with no clips selected, make marks and select tracks) and hit Command-Option-c. The clip or clips go directly to source monitor (but not the clipboard).

    2. Select the clip(s), hit copy, then select Clipboard Contents from the clip menu above the source monitor.

    3. Put the Clipboard Contents button under the source monitor. Copy your material. Hit the button.

    Make sense? (All detailed in Avid Agility, page 42.)


  9. Steve Says:

    Also, for more about taming the Smart Tool, check these posts:

    Tweaking the Smart Tool

    More on the Smart Tool

  10. Ra-ey Saleh Says:

    Thanks Steve, yeah the keyboard shortcut is a good one and one I use all the time (though the PC version CONTROL+ALT+C). I guess I was just hoping with v5 and the ability to copy a clip in this way that there was a cool way to do this. It would be great if you could select a clip, hold down a modifier key(s) and then automatically copy/paste a clip somewhere else (i.e. directly above). Maybe in the next version!
    Thanks again.

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