Previewing clips

on Wednesday, August 27, 2008

As you gaze at the clips in your clip browser, you’ll notice that a thumbnail image is shown for each clip. This thumbnail usually shows the first frame of the clip; although it may suggest the clip’s basic content, you won’t really know exactly what the clip contains until you actually preview the whole thing. Previewing a clip is easy: Just click your chosen clip in the browser, and then click the Play button in the playback controls of your software’s preview window.
As the clip plays, notice that the play head under the preview window moves. You can move to any portion of a clip by clicking-and-dragging the play head with the mouse.
As you preview clips and identify portions you want to use in your movies, you’ll find precise, frame-by-frame control of the play head is crucial. The best way to get that precision is to use keyboard buttons instead of the mouse. If you’re using different editing software, check the manufacturer’s documentation for keyboard controls.

As you can see, some controls are fairly standardized across many different video-editing applications. In fact, the Spacebar also controls the Play/Stop/Pause function in professional-grade video editors like Adobe Premiere and Apple Final Cut Pro.
If you don’t like using the keyboard to try to move to just the right frame, you may want to invest in a multimedia controller such as the SpaceShuttle A/V from Contour A/V Solutions ( This device connects to your computer’s USB port and features a knob and dial that you can use to precisely control video playback. It’s so much easier than using the mouse or keyboard, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without one!