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Trimming Tips in Premiere Pro CS6

When editors talk about trimming, they are talking about shortening clips, or trimming away the unneeded parts of the raw footage.

This is the process of going through your footage, finding the good bits (Setting Ins & Outs), then fine tuning them in the timeline with the Ripple, Roll, Slip, & Slide tools.

Premiere CS6 adds some new features to make this easier, and we will look at those in this article.

Step 1- Hover Scrub 

The new Hover Scrub feature is a Quick Way to view your footage.

Premiere CS6 defaults to the “Editing Workspace”, which is a 2-up view (large Source and Record window) with the Project set to Icon View.

If you used an earlier version of Premiere Pro, you can switch to the old default by going to Workspace > Editing (CS 5.55).

Workspace > Editing (CS 5.55)

In the Project window, move your cursor over a clip (don’t click) and it will rewind (move left) or fast forward (move right). This is a handy way to quickly view your footage without having to load it into the Source window. If you see an audio waveform icon on the clip, that means it has audio.


If you click on the clip, a yellow bar appears with a playhead. You can drag the playhead to scrub, or use the JKL keys (J rewinds, K stops, L forward). If you press the J or L keys repeatedly the clip will rewind/forward faster. If you press I or O while the clip is playing you can trim it on the fly. You can also toggle off Hover Scrub with Shift-H.

Hover Scrub is a big time saver, and I rarely set Ins & Outs from the Source Window anymore except for creating subclips. 

*Tip*- When you start assembling selected clips into a Sequence, don’t focus on exact timing. Set loose In and Outs and do most of your trimming in the timeline with the trim tools.


Step 2 - Creating Subclips 

If you have long clips (say multiple interviews or voice overs) you will want to break this into smaller clips, or subclips. This will save you time, so you don't have to scrub through the long clip every time you want to find a different part of the clip. David Smith covers the details on subclipping in “Storyboard Editing Tricks in Premiere Pro”.

Step 3 - Performing a Rolling Edit

Click on an open sequence (Shift-3). Press T to select the nearest edit point as a rolling edit (both sides of the edit selected). In the Program Panel there is a Blue line over each side of the edit. When you perform a rolling edit, the length of your sequence doesn't change. If you shorten one clip, the other becomes longer.

Rolling Edit. If you shorten one clip, the other becomes longer.

To perform the edit, press the -1 or -5 buttons to trim left (shortens outgoing clip), or the +1 or +5 buttons to trim right (lengthens outgoing clip). To the Left/Right of the Trim Buttons are white numbers (Out Shift/In Shift) that show the number of frames trimmed. If you pressed pressed -5 twice the number shown would be -10.

If you click on the square between the minus and plus number in the Program window, you will add the default transition (1 second cross dissolve).

Clicking on the square between the minus and plus number in the Program window will add the default transition.

Step 4 - Performing a Ripple Edit 

Press Control-T to switch from a Rolling Edit to Ripple Left. In the Program Panel there is a Blue line over the left side of the edit. This tells you that only one side of the edit is being trimmed. When you perform a Ripple Edit, the length of your sequence does change. If you shorten a clip, the sequence becomes shorter. If you lengthen a clip, the sequence becomes longer.

Ripple Edit

To perform the edit, press the -1 or -5 buttons to trim left (shortens the clip), or the +1 or +5 buttons to trim right (lengthens the clip) Press Control-T again to select Ripple Right to trim the next clip.

Ripple Edit

Gotcha - If you keep pressing Control-T you will get a one-sided red arrow (left) and then one-sided red arrow (right). This is the default edit tool, and this will leave a gap in your timeline. 

I recommend pressing Control-T again which will toggle you back through all the editing types (Roll/Ripple/Edit), or make a Ripple shortcut (see 5).

Step 5 - keyboard shortcuts & changing trim offset

People often talk about good editors being ‘fast”. Using shortcuts will speed up the trimming process. Use Option-Left Arrow to trim 1 frame Left. (add Shift to trim 5 frames). Use Option-Right Arrow to trim 1 frame Right (add Shift to trim 5 frames). To create your own shortcuts, go to Premiere Pro > Keyboard Shortcuts. In the search window type in what you are looking for (ex. trim). You can change or add the shortcut by clicking on the Application, pressing “Edit”, and typing the shortcut.

Premiere Pro > Keyboard Shortcuts.

If you are coming from Final Cut or Media Composer, you can start with those from the “Keyboard Layout Preset” and customize from there.

Keyboard Layout Preset.

If you want your Large Trim Offset to be something besides the 5 frame default, you change this in Premiere Pro > Preferences > Trim.

Premiere Pro > Preferences > Trim.

Step 6 - Performing a Slip Edit 

When performing a Slip, the clip stays the same length, just the starting and end frames change.

An example of this would be you want a person to walk into frame, instead of already being in frame. (You would slip the clip so they start out of frame)

Put the playhead over a clip in the Timeline and press Y to select the Slip tool.

Slip Tool.

Then click on the clip, and drag right to slip earlier, left to slip later. (You will see the timecode change as you drag and use that as a guide). You can also Slip numerically with the keyboard, which I prefer as it gives you more control. Double-click on the clip in the sequence, and then click once more on the clip. 

Use Option-Commad-Left/Right arrows to Slip 1 frame (add Shift to Slip 5 frames).

Step 7 - Performing a Slip Edit 

This type of trim looks at 3 clips, and slides the middle clip, with the clip to the left and right changing in length (doesn't effect other clips in the timeline like a Ripple). Put the playhead over a clip in the Timeline and press U to select the Slide tool.

Slide Tool.

Then click on the clip, and drag to slide the clip. You can Slide numerically by double-clicking on the clip in the sequence and then click once more on the clip. Use Option-, (comma) to Slide 1 frame left, Option-.(period) to Slide 1 frame right (add Shift for 5 frames)

These Tips should speed up your editing process, and allow you to focus more on editing and less on which tool to use.

Clay Asbury

Clay Asbury | Articles by this author

Clay is an Adobe/Apple Certified Instructor with over 13 years video production/editing experience. His approachable and effective teaching style has developed from teaching at Adobe/Apple Training Centers and various colleges.. He writes video editing tips and articles at claygasbury.com . He wrote the chapter on trimming in "Edit Well: Final Cut Studio Techniques from the Pros", from Peachpit Press.


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