Moving Around in the Timeline

Soundtrack Pro provides several controls that let you change the view of the Timeline and move to different parts of your project. You can zoom in or out for a closer or wider view of the Timeline, control how many tracks are displayed in the Timeline, create an area in the Timeline that plays back repeatedly, and change which part of the project is currently visible using the scroll bars and project controls. You can split the Timeline view and use the Global Timeline view to quickly move to different parts of your project.

Using the Scroll Bars

If the entire project cannot be displayed in the Timeline, you can scroll through the project using the horizontal scroll bar located at the bottom of the Timeline. Drag the horizontal scroll bar left or right to move the visible part of the Timeline.

If your project contains more tracks than can be displayed in the Timeline, a vertical scroll bar appears along the right edge of the Timeline. Drag the vertical scroll bar up or down to change which tracks are visible.

Figure. Multitrack Timeline window showing vertical and horizontal scroll bars.

In the lower left of the project pane are the Timeline controls, including the Track Height control and Zoom control.

Using the Zoom Control

You can zoom in to make precise edits in the Timeline, or zoom out for a wider view of your project using the Zoom control.

The Zoom control features a slider on a graduated scale. Moving the slider to the left or clicking the left side of the control zooms in for a closer view, displaying a smaller area of the Timeline close up. Moving the slider to the right or clicking the right side of the control zooms out for a wider view, displaying a wider area of the Timeline.

Figure. Zoomed-out Timeline window.
Figure. Zoomed-in Timeline window.

You can also zoom in and out using menu commands or keyboard shortcuts. If your mouse has a scrollwheel, you can use it to zoom in and out. You can also fit the entire project in the visible area of the Timeline.

To zoom in
Do one of the following:
  • Choose View > Zoom In, or press Command-Plus (+).

  • Move the Zoom slider to the left.

  • Click the left side of the Zoom control.

  • If the mouse connected to your computer has a scrollwheel, position the pointer over the Zoom control and move the scrollwheel.

  • If your portable computer has a Multi-Touch trackpad, use the expand gesture.

To zoom out
Do one of the following:
  • Choose View > Zoom Out, or press Command-Minus (-).

  • Press the Down Arrow key.

  • Move the Zoom slider to the right.

  • Click the right side of the Zoom control.

  • If your mouse has a scrollwheel, position the pointer over the Zoom control and move the scrollwheel.

  • If your portable computer has a Multi-Touch trackpad, use the pinch gesture.

Note: You can change the default scrollwheel behavior in the General pane in Soundtrack Pro Preferences to zoom in or out at the playhead position or scroll the Timeline.

To fit the project in the visible area of the Timeline
  • Choose View > Fit in Window (or press Shift-Z).

Using the J, K, and L Keys for Shuttling

You can use the keyboard commands (the J, K, and L keys) to speed playback up to eight times normal speed. When you use the keyboard shortcuts, the only speed available under 1x is 1/2x.

Figure. J, K, and L keys.
To begin forward playback at normal (1x) speed
  • Press L.

To begin reverse playback at normal (1x) speed
  • Press J.

To pause playback
  • Press K.

To double the current playback speed
  • Press L or J again.

You can play back up to eight times normal speed, switching from 1x to 2x to 4x to 8x normal speed (pressing either key a total of four times).

Pressing the key for playback in the opposite direction halves the playback speed, slowing down playback in that direction until it reaches 1x playback. Playback then begins doubling in reverse, starting from 1x.

To immediately reverse the playback direction
  • Press K to pause, then press the key for the direction you want.

To move the playhead one frame at a time
  • Hold down the K key, then press J or L.

To move the playhead at below 1/2x speed
  • Hold down the K key, then press and hold down J or L.

Moving the Playhead with Keyboard Shortcuts

Soundtrack Pro provides a variety of keyboard shortcuts to move the playhead.

To move the playhead to the previous edit
  • Press the Up Arrow key.

To move the playhead to the next edit
  • Press the Down Arrow key.

To move the playhead to the previous edit and toggle the clip selection
  • Press Shift–Up Arrow.

To move the playhead to the next edit and toggle the clip selection
  • Press Shift–Down Arrow.

To move the playhead one frame to the left
  • Press the Left Arrow key.

To move the playhead one frame to the right
  • Press the Right Arrow key.

To move the playhead one gridline to the left
  • Press Option–Left Arrow.

To move the playhead one gridline to the right
  • Press Option–Right Arrow.

Note: The gridlines correspond to the divisions of time in the Time ruler. The units of time the gridlines display change depending on the Ruler Units setting in the Project tab and the current zoom level.

For a complete list of keyboard shortcuts, see Soundtrack Pro Keyboard Shortcuts.

Using Multi-Track Gestures to Control Playback

If your portable computer has a Multi-Touch trackpad, you can use the rotate gesture to play back audio in the Timeline. The speed of playback is determined by the speed of the rotate gesture. For example, a very slow clockwise rotate gesture scrubs the audio forward from the position of the playhead. For more information on scrubbing audio, see Scrubbing Audio Files.

To move the playhead to the right
  • Use the rotate gesture clockwise.

To move the playhead to the left
  • Use the rotate gesture counterclockwise.

Setting Track Height

You set the height of tracks, busses, and submixes in the Timeline using the Track Height control. The Track Height control has four settings. The smallest rectangle sets the track height to a minimized setting, with each track (and track header) reduced to half-height, allowing more tracks to be displayed in the Timeline.

To set the height of tracks, busses, and submixes
Do one of the following:
  • Click one of the four rectangles on the Track Height control.

  • Press Command-6, Command-7, Command-8, or Command-9.

    Figure. Multitrack Timeline showing tracks with reduced height.
    Figure. Multitrack Timeline showing large track height.

    Note: Track header controls for setting up recording appear in the two tallest track heights only.

Using the Global Timeline View

The Global Timeline view, located above the Time display and Time ruler, shows a miniature view of the entire project. The playhead appears as a black vertical line with a triangular handle. The part of the project currently visible in the Timeline is indicated by a blue rectangle in the Global Timeline view.

To move to a new area of the Timeline using the Global Timeline view
  • Drag the visible area rectangle to a new position.

    Figure. Global Timeline view showing visible project area.

You can quickly move to different parts of the Timeline by dragging the blue rectangle. This is especially useful when working on longer projects. You can also drag the rectangle up or down to move vertically in the Global Timeline view. This is useful if your project contains more tracks, busses, and submixes than can be displayed in the project pane.

Using the Time Ruler

The Timeline has a Time ruler that shows the divisions of time in a project. You can set the playhead to a precise frame, point in time, or sample number using the Time-based units on the Time ruler, or to a specific musical measure or beat using the Beats-based units, to synchronize playback of audio clips in the Timeline.

The Time ruler changes depending on the time format of the project and the Time ruler units. If the project is currently set to Time-based format, Time-based units appear in the upper part of the ruler. If the project is set to Beats-based format, Beats-based units appear in the upper half of the ruler.

Figure. Time ruler.

You can use the Time ruler to position clips or the playhead at a precise point in time, including synchronizing them to a specific timecode reference in a video file.

To set the playhead to a specific point in the Time ruler
  • Click the Time ruler at the point where you want to set the playhead.

Working with the Cycle Region

You can create a cycle region in a project, an area that plays back repeatedly. This is sometimes called cycling or looping playback. A project has only one cycle region, but you can move and resize it as often as you want. Additionally, for selecting, marking, and exporting purposes, the cycle region functions much like In and Out points in Final Cut Pro.

You also use the cycle region when recording multiple takes. For information on recording, see Recording Audio in Soundtrack Pro.

To set the cycle region
Do one of the following:
  • Drag in the Time ruler from the beginning of where you want the cycle region to the end.

    Figure. Time ruler showing cycle region.
  • Position the playhead and press I to set the cycle region In point. Position the playhead and press O to set the cycle region Out point.

  • Press X to set the cycle region In and Out points at the boundaries of the clip that currently intersects the playhead. The clip on the uppermost track is used.

Note: For a complete list of keyboard shortcuts, see Soundtrack Pro Keyboard Shortcuts.

The cycle region is lighter in color than the rest of the Time ruler, with triangular markers indicating its start and end points. If a cycle region already exists, you can drag anywhere in the Time ruler outside of the current cycle region to set the cycle region to a new position.

If cycling is turned off, you must turn it on for the cycle region to be active. The Cycle button darkens to indicate that the cycle region is activated.

To activate or deactivate the cycle region
Do one of the following:
  • Click the Cycle button in the transport controls.

  • Press C.

To move the cycle region
  • Click in the bottom half of the cycle region and drag it to a new position in the Timeline.

To resize the cycle region
  • Drag either the In point or Out point handle in the Time ruler to resize the cycle region.

To remove the cycle region
Do one of the following:
  • Choose Edit > Cycle Region > Remove Cycle Region (or press Option-X).

  • Control-click the cycle region, choose Cycle Region from the shortcut menu, then choose Remove Cycle Region from the submenu.