Understanding Time Information in the Track Editor

There are a variety of time-related elements that appear in the Track Editor. Some only display time information while others allow you to change the information. The time values help you identify the position of markers, clips, the playhead, and the pointer within the video, audio, and subtitle streams.

Figure. Top part of the Track Editor showing the playhead, the playhead's timecode, the pointer's timecode, the timeline's timecode, and the selected clip's start and end timecodes.

Timecode in the Timeline

The timeline’s timecode is continuous throughout the track. You can choose from two sources for the timecode: zero-based and asset-based.

  • Zero-based timecode: This timecode starts the timeline at 00:00:00:00. You cannot change the zero-based timecode, and the assets assigned to the V1 stream do not affect it.
  • Asset-based timecode: This timecode can be based either on the timecode of the first clip on the V1 stream or on a value you enter in the Track Inspector.
To choose the timeline’s timecode source
Do one of the following:
  • Choose View > Timescale > Zero-Based Timecode or View > Timescale > Asset-Based Timecode.

  • Control-click in the timeline, then choose either Zero-Based Timecode or Asset-Based Timecode from the shortcut menu.

    Figure. Upper-left part of the Track Editor showing the zero and asset-based timecode shortcut menu.

The pointer position, playhead, and start and end timecode values change to match the timecode source you choose.

If you choose the asset-based timecode source, you can also choose whether to use the clip’s timecode or a value you enter.

To configure the asset-based timecode source
  1. Choose Asset-Based Timecode as the timecode source for the Track Editor’s timeline.

  2. Click the Other tab in the Track Inspector. If the Inspector is not showing the track properties, select the track’s name in the Outline tab, its tile in the Graphical tab, or click an empty area in any of the Track Editor streams.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To use the timecode from the first clip in the V1 stream: Click the Reset button. This sets the Track Offset value to 00:00:00:00, which forces the timeline to use the clip’s timecode.
    • To set the timecode to start at a specific value: Enter a new timecode value in the Track Offset field. The timeline’s first frame is set to this number.
      Figure. Timestamps section of the Other tab of the Track Inspector.

Being able to force the timeline’s timecode to start at a specific value can be useful whenever you are importing a marker list or subtitle file that is based on timecode different from the zero-based or asset-based values.

Note: For NTSC projects, the type of timecode in the first asset—drop frame or non-drop frame—determines the type of timecode for the timeline.

Clip Start and End Timecode

Timecode start and end values appear when you select a clip (video, audio, or subtitle) in one of the streams. These values indicate the position of the clip with respect to the timeline’s selected timecode source. Depending on the stream, you can enter new start values to reposition the clip or new end values to trim the clip’s size.

Figure. Upper-right part of the Track Editor showing the Start and End timecode values and how the selected clip is darker than the others.

See Editing Video and Audio Clips for more information.


The playhead provides a visual indication of what part of the track is currently playing in the Viewer tab. When you play the track, the playhead moves along the track’s timeline. It also provides a way to scroll across the timeline and see the video in the Viewer tab.

The playhead is in the timeline’s timecode area. With new tracks, the playhead is located at the track’s start.

Figure. Upper-left part of the Track Editor showing the playhead at the beginning of the track.

A playhead icon appears in the timeline scroller area to let you know where it is relative to the part of the timeline being shown, which is useful if you cannot see the playhead in the Track Editor. For example, if the playhead icon appears to the left of the scroller, that means the playhead is at a point in time before the clips currently visible in the timeline.

Figure. Track Editor showing the playhead in the timeline's scroller.

Positioning the Playhead by Dragging

You can drag the playhead along the timeline to see the video (and subtitle, if applicable). This is useful when placing markers because it allows you to see the actual video frame.

As you drag the playhead along the timeline, the timecode of its current position appears in the playhead timecode entry. A line extends across all of the streams, indicating the playhead position.

Figure. Upper-left part of the Track Editor showing the playhead's current timecode.

You can also click anywhere in the timeline to move the playhead to that position and have the video at that position appear in the Viewer tab. Playback starts at this point if you click the Play button in the Viewer tab.

Positioning the Playhead by Using Keyboard Shortcuts

There are a number of keyboard shortcuts that you can use to position the playhead.

  • Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys: Move the playhead one frame at a time.
  • Shift–Left Arrow and Shift–Right Arrow keys: Move the playhead one second at a time.
  • Option–Left Arrow and Option–Right Arrow keys: Move the playhead one GOP at a time.
  • Control–Left Arrow and Control–Right Arrow keys: Move the playhead to the next marker.
  • Command–Left Arrow and Command–Right Arrow keys: Move the playhead to the start or end of the selected clip.
  • Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys: Move the playhead to the next clip edge (includes all clips in all streams) or marker.
  • Home and End keys: Move the playhead to the start or end of the timeline.

See Keyboard Shortcuts for a complete list of keyboard shortcuts.

Positioning the Playhead by Entering a Timecode Value

You can also set the playhead’s position by entering a timecode value in the playhead position entry. The playhead jumps to its new position.

Figure. Upper-left part of the Track Editor showing how to enter playhead timecode values.

See About the Viewer Tab for more information on using the Viewer tab.