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Setting the Time

Before you add footage to a composition, you must specify the time at which the layer will begin in the composition. By setting the composition’s current time, you can also set the starting point for an added layer. And, of course, setting the time also allows you to view a particular frame of the composition in the Comp panel. You can set the current time via the Preview panel, the Composition panel, or the Timeline panel; you can also use keyboard shortcuts to accomplish the task.

Using the Preview panel

You can use the Preview panel to control the playback of the Footage, Composition, Timeline, and Layer panels (whichever is selected and active). Figure 4.15 shows what the Preview panel’s buttons do.

Figure 4.15

Figure 4.15 The Preview panel. (In this figure, the RAM preview options are hidden.)

To set the current time in the Timeline panel:

  • In the Timeline panel, drag the current time indicator to the frame you want (Figure 4.16).

    Figure 4.16

    Figure 4.16 In the Timeline panel, drag the current time indicator to change the current frame (displayed in the Composition panel).

    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:

    • In the Composition panel, click the time display (Figure 4.17).

      Figure 4.17

      Figure 4.17 Click the time display in the Composition panel...

    • In the Timeline panel, click the time display (Figure 4.18).

      Figure 4.18

      Figure 4.18 ...or in the Timeline panel...

    • Press Shift-Option-J (Shift-Alt-J).

    The Go to Time dialog appears.

  2. Do either of the following:

    • Enter an absolute time (a specific frame number) to which you want to cue the current time (Figure 4.19).

      Figure 4.19

      Figure 4.19 ...or use the keyboard shortcut to open the Go to Time dialog. 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) (Figure 4.20). Numbers less than 100 are interpreted as frames so that entering 90 would be interpreted as 90 frames, or 3 seconds using a 30 fps timebase. Numbers greater than 99 are interpreted as seconds and frames so that entering 100 would be treated as 1 second and 0 frames.

      Figure 4.20

      Figure 4.20 ...or enter a time relative to the current frame by entering a plus (+) or minus (−) sign and the number of frames.

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