Navigation can be thought of two ways; navigating through time-based media (video) and navigating through your SyncSketch Project. This document concerns the former. All of these will apply to realtime synced reviews (meaning that these will affect playback for all members in the synced review) or when working solo.
Various playback methods and modes are also discussed.
Timeline playback controls
There's more to playback than dragging or clicking the timeline playhead and toggling playback with the space bar. For example:
You can focus on a specific range of the timeline in a video for playback or looping:
- Set a range start point ([ icon or comma key) and/or end point (] icon or period/full stop key).
- When both are set, playback will be restricted to the specified range.
- When one is set, the range is assumed to include the other end of the timeline.
- You can extend the range of one endpoint or the other by one frame by holding down Control-Shift and using the right or left arrow keys.
- You can clear the start point using Control-, which will extend the range to the beginning of the movie. Likewise, Control-. will extend the range to the end of the movie.
- The / key will clear both the start and the end points at once
- Dragging in the timeline while holding down the left mouse button will directly select a new range.
This essential feature can be toggled on and off using the Loop icon or Control-L, and it will observe the selected playback range as described above.
The Change Playback Rate control is a menu that can be used to adjust playback speed in various increments.
Keyboard controls provide finer-grained control than the options displayed in the menu. The J, K and L keys are very useful in this regard; repeatedly tapping the L key speeds up playback incrementally, and repeatedly tapping the J key slows it down incrementally. The K key between them pauses playback and reset the speed to the clip's original value.
Note: Playback rate cannot currently be negative (reverse playback) because Web browsers don't support backwards playback reliably enough.
Finding "just the spot" in a video timeline is an important part of conducting a review, and mastering the available controls can make synced reviews run much more smoothly.
The most common timeline navigation tools are clicking in the timeline ("seeking") or dragging the playhead in the timeline ("scrubbing"). But SyncSketch features much better tools as well.
Basic navigation functions are available using the keyboard as you might expect.
- The right and left arrow keys can be used to nudge the playhead by one frame in the timeline ("stepping").
- The Home and End keys jump to the first and last frames of the video, respectively. If a range is selected (see below) they will jump to the beginning and and of the selected range.
- The U and O keys will jump by increments backward and forward, respectively. Each tap jumps about 20% of the way through the timeline, up to a maximum of 10 seconds per tap.
- The F key reveals a dialog allowing you to enter the exact frame number you would like to jump to.
These controls and many others can be reviewed inside the Review Player by typing the ? key (Shift-/ on English keyboards) to reveal the list of keyboard commands.
A time bar does not always provide sufficient precision when a long video clip is loaded, or if the screen is small (i.e. a tablet). For this, there are precision scrubbing tools available.
For devices that have a connected keyboard:
Holding down the K key and dragging the cursor within the video playback area will provide a good deal of precision.
For tablet devices:
The controls along one edge of the screen include the Thumb Controls which can scrub the timeline with varying degrees of precision using just your thumb. See Using the SyncSketch Drawing Tools for details.
Navigating by Annotation
Annotations (sketches and comments) are associated with specific frames of video. Clicking on a comment in the Notes panel at the right (type the H key if the panel isn't visible) will jump you to the frame it's associated with. For 3D assets, it will also restore the exact camera framing.
Tip: In addition to review feedback, comments can be useful for "bookmarking" segments of video that you need to frequently return to. You can even choose a distinct phrase like "#segment 1", "#segment 2" etc. and filter the comments panel by clicking on the magnifying glass and typing "#segment" to display only these bookmarks for quick navigation.
Sketches are noted in the timeline as a thin vertical line, but clicking on the exact frame to see the corresponding sketch can be tricky.
The Jump to Previous/Next sketch controls will allow you to jump directly from annotation to annotation to breeze through the comments and sketches without fussy timeline scrubbing. You can also use the up and down arrow keys.
Navigating by link
Sometimes you want to direct someone's attention to a specific part of a video or a specific question in a comment, perhaps by emailing them a URL. You can do just that, and SyncSketch makes it as painless as possible for your recipient to follow your link and respond.
Not only can you create a link to a review or even a specific clip in the playlist, you can get a URL that links directly to a specific frame. The Copy Frame Link option is under the Share Link menu in the upper right:
As a shortcut you can just click on Share Link and it will copy the frame link for you without having to choose the menu item.
Furthermore, you can link to a specific comment on a specific frame, useful when there are several comments on the same frame. That option is available under the comment's action menu:
Navigating by Audio Waveform
Short clips will have a subtle audio waveform display in the background of the timeline that can be useful for navigating directly to a distinctive audio event.