Keyframe Volume In Avid Xpress

A “sample plot” allows an editor to see the waveform for an audio track.

Avid Xpress video-editing programs provide user-friendly approaches to keyframing and adjusting the volume, or gain, of audio tracks in the time line. You can manipulate tracks individually; Xpress software offers intricate frame-by-frame detail for audio adjustment. You can make changes with either keyboard or mouse, depending upon your preference.


1. Open the options menu located to the bottom left of the time line, denoted by an icon that has a black horizontal bar sandwiched between two white horizontal bars. Roll over the icon with the mouse pointer to yield a name bubble that reads “fast menu,” and click it to provide a list of time line options. Roll over the sub-menu “audio data” to reveal several audio time line options including “sample plot” and “auto gain.” Turn on the sample plot to display the waveform in the audio tracks, allowing quick identification of volumetric peaks and valleys. For keyframing volume, toggle the “auto gain” setting. When you select it from the audio data menu, “auto gain” displays a single horizontal line running end-to-end on the audio clips in the time line.

2. Avid editing software, though mouse-compatible, remains more keyboard-command friendly.

Insert a keyframe by keyboard command when the vertical position marker rests at the position in the time line where you desire a change in an audio clip. On a standard American QWERTY keyboard, the default key for audio keyframe insertion is typically either the quotation mark key or the “N” key. Select “keyboard” from the “settings” menu to determine which button keyframe insertion is assigned to. This displays an image of the keyboard with command key assignment icons. Look for a magenta triangle icon that points upward. Push the key on which this icon is displayed to insert a keyframe into the auto gain line. Alternatively, insert a keyframe by using the mouse pointer to click the keyframe icon on the keyboard settings image.

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3. Locate the keyframe, a small triangle, on the auto gain line. You can drag it up or down with the mouse pointer. Set the volume at a specific point by raising or lowering the keyframe while using the decibel level lines that run across the audio clip as points of reference. To move the keyframe horizontally along the clip gain line, hold the Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) key, then click and drag with the mouse pointer. Change keyframe properties by clicking on the keyframe to select it (it changes color) and opening the “effect editor.”

4. Insert multiple keyframes in an audio clip in order to selectively manipulate and balance audio levels. You can raise the level of quietly recorded portions and tone down “hot audio.”