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Chapter 4. Compositions > Setting the Time

Setting the Time

Before you add footage to a composition, you must first specify the time at which the layer will begin in the composition. Setting the current time of the composition also sets the starting point for an added layer. You can do this several ways: using the Time Controls palette, the Composition window, the Time Layout window, or keyboard shortcuts.

Using the Time Controls palette

You can control the playback of the Footage, Composition, Time Layout, and Layer windows using the Time Controls palette. Figure 4.35 describes how they function.

Figure 4.35. The Time Controls window.


To show the Time Controls palette:

If the Time Controls palette is hidden, choose Windows > Show Time Controls.

If the Time Controls palette is visible but not active, click the Time Controls tab to bring it to the front of the palette window.

To set the current time in the Time Layout window:

In the Time Layout window, drag the current time marker to the frame you want (Figure 4.36).

Figure 4.36. In the Time Layout window, drag the time marker to change the current frame (displayed in the Composition window).


Use the current time display to see the current time numerically.

To cue the current time of the composition numerically:

1.
Do any of the following things:

In the Composition window, click the time display (Figure 4.37).

Figure 4.37. Click the time display in the Composition window…


or

In the Time Layout window, click the time display (Figure 4.38).

Figure 4.38. … or in the Time Layout window…


or

Press Command-g (Mac) or Ctrl-g (Windows).

The Go To Time dialog box appears.

2.
In the Go To Time dialog box, do one of the following things:

Enter an absolute time—a specific frame number—to which you want to cue the current time (Figure 4.39).

Figure 4.39. … or use the keyboard shortcut to open the Go To Time dialog box. Enter a specific frame number, or absolute time, to cue the current frame…


Enter a plus (+) or minus (-) and a relative time—the number of frames you want to add or subtract from the current frame. Numbers over 99 are interpreted as seconds and frames (Figure 4.40).

Figure 4.40. …or enter a time relative to the current frame by entering a plus (+) or minus (-) and the number of frames.


3.
Click OK to close the Go To Time dialog box.

Tip

Obviously, you'll need to change the current time in the Composition, Time Layout, Footage, and Layer windows frequently. It's worthwhile to familiarize yourself with the keyboard shortcuts that will help you get around. Here are two keyboard shortcuts to get you started: on an expanded keyboard, Page Down to advance one frame, Page Up to go back one frame.


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