How to use markers/locators in Avid Media Composer for faster video editing

When it comes to editing in Avid Media Composer, markers can be the difference between an efficient, creative edit and an unwieldy morass. Markers — also known as locators or text locators — will turn you into a more organized video editor.

Markers are extremely versatile — essential for editing on the beat, tracking editing tasks, and identifying the exact frame of key subclips and soundbites at lightning speed. Editors often transcribe their clips using Simon Says, which supports timecode-based A.I. in 100 languages, and then seamlessly exports the transcripts as marker text files for Media Composer.

In this article we are going to show you how to master markers/locators for Avid Media Composer and utilize Simon Says to add transcript markers to clips.

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The Basics of Markers/Locators in Avid Media Composer

What are markers/locators?

Markers (or locators) are a lot like bookmarks — they allow you to identify specific clips and frames during the post-production process. Markers are for reference only, making them different from In and Out points, which have the ability to insert parts of clips/segments.

Similar to Adobe Premiere Pro and Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve, markers in Avid Media Composer can be applied to single frames of clips, as well as regions of clips with multiple frames (a.k.a. “spanned markers” or “ranged markers”). However, unlike Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve, Avid Media Composer markers can only be added to sequences — not source clips.

Besides simply marking clips and sequences, markers/locators also contain important information, including:

  • Name (by default, is the username of the marker’s creator)
  • Color 
  • Frame #
  • Track Info
  • Start/End Timecode
  • Duration
  • Comment

How to add and edit markers/locators

There are a few ways to create markers/locators in Media Composer:

  • The easiest way is to load a clip or sequence, cue the playhead at a frame, and then click on the ‘Add Marker’ button.
  • For spanned markers, set In and Out points on a clip or sequence first. Then navigate to ‘Tools’ > ‘Command Palette’ and select ‘Active Palette’. Click on the ‘Add Marker’ button to finish the process.
  • Alternatively, you can set up keyboard shortcuts via the ‘Command Palette’. Not only will this make adding markers much faster, it’ll also allow you to add markers on the fly during playback.

Once you’ve added markers, you can double-click them to open a dialog and adjust colors, edit marker name, add comments etc.

The Markers Window

Avid Media Composer also has a helpful ‘Markers Window’. Here, all the markers associated with a selected sequence are displayed in a list format, with their information. This allows you to quickly:

  • Scan through markers and make edits
  • Jump to marker points in a sequence
  • Import/export markers
  • Add/remove markers (in bulk)
  • Copy/paste markers from one sequence to another

To display the window, load a sequence, right-click the Source or Record monitor and select ‘Markers Window’.

Using Markers/Locators in your Avid Media Composer Workflow

Now that you’ve got the basics, let’s explore the three key ways you can use markers to improve your video editing workflow.

Clip synchronization 

Let’s start with one of the most common applications of markers. Markers make it easier to sync video and audio tracks together as well as add musical cues. 

Track tasks and improve collaboration 

Markers can be used throughout the editing process to create tasks and reminders, such as color corrections and replace filler segments. This is especially helpful if you’re working alongside another editor or colorist. For an even more organized workflow, you can use different marker colors to indicate task status or task type.

Search and filter with PhraseFind

PhraseFind is a powerful tool in Avid Media Composer designed to search and filter clips throughout your entire project. Once you’ve started adding markers, you can use PhraseFind search and filter clips by marker comments. If you have a standardized list of keywords, you can group multiple clips together.

Creating Transcript Markers/Locators for Avid Media Composer with Simon Says A.I.

The future of editing will be where all interview recordings are transcribed with Artificial Intelligence. As time-coded, text versions of spoken dialogue, video transcripts are a great asset to edit with — they allow speedy identification of soundbites to assemble your sequence faster. 

With Simon Says you can generate timecode-based transcripts in almost any language on Earth. 

Simon Says auto-generates a video transcript in minutes and you can export it to dozens of formats, including for Media Composer as markers with speaker names and a handy color coding:

  • Red: Normal line of transcription
  • Yellow: Bookmarked line of transcription
  • Black: Line of transcription marked “no speaker” 

Learn all the details on how to use Simon Says with Media Composer here.

Simon Says is accessible for Mac, Windows, and Linux users via the website. There is also a native Mac app. For more information on transcript markers for Avid Media Composer, check out our step-by-step tutorial here.