How to Cut & Trim a Video Clip In Adobe Premiere (Videos)

January 24, 2019 5 min read

In this tutorial, you will learn the numerous ways that you can cut and trim clips in Adobe Premiere Pro CC. Cutting and trimming is a crucial skill all video editors need to understand to produce compelling stories. You may feel you have already grasped the basics of cutting your footage, but there are a host of different ways to cut and trim your clips, and this article will help you save time in this initial stage of post-production.

Using the Source Monitor

Once you have imported all of your media, you are ready to begin selecting the parts of the clips you wish to use. In the Edit Screen, you will see all of your imported media in the Project Panel. Double click on a clip to review it in the Source Monitor.

Play through your original clips by pressing the play button in the Source Monitor. Alternatively, if the Source Monitor is highlighted, you can press the space bar to start and stop the clip.

What Are In and Out Points?

If you select a clip and drag it to your timeline, the entire clip will be moved, including any bits you don’t need. The In and Out points are the markers you add to the parts of a clip you wish to use. Marking your clips saves a lot of time and prevents your timeline from becoming cluttered with the footage you don’t need.

How To Set Your Markers

In the Source Monitor, set your playhead to the point you want the section to start from, and use the ‘Mark In’ button to place a marker on the clip (I on your keyboard).

set markers

You can change this marker by simply resetting the playhead and re-clicking the ‘Mark in’ button. To create an out point, repeat the process using the ‘Mark Out’ button (O on your keyboard).

Adding Clips To Your Timeline

Once you set your In and Out markers, you can drag the clip from the Source Monitor to the timeline, creating an edited clip of your selection. If you wish to use another section of the same clip, return to the Source Monitor, reset the In and Out points and drag the new selection on to your timeline.

Go through all your clips gathering your footage on the timeline, reordering the clips as necessary, doing this will create a skeleton version of your film, so don’t worry about being too precise at this stage. You can return to your Project Panel at any time to import or select other clips.

The Source Monitor allows you to drag video, audio or both to the timeline, which can be extremely helpful if, for example, you are just adding B-Roll to a talking head. To add both video and audio to your timeline, drag and drop the image as we have shown you above. To add audio or video only, drag the clip from one of the icons at the bottom of the Source Monitor.

Editing Your Video Files

Now you have a skeleton version of your video in Premiere Pro, you can move on to the more delicate details of cutting and trimming.

Adding A Clip To Your Timeline

If you need to add a new clip to the middle of your timeline, dragging and dropping it will overwrite the clip you are placing it on. Instead, hold Command as you drag and drop, and the remaining clips in your timeline will move to make space for the new clip.

Trim Clip & Ripple Edit

If you want to trim the end of a clip, you can grab the end and drag it out, but you will only be able to do this if there is free space for the clip to be extended. If you want to lengthen a clip in the middle of the timeline, select the Ripple Edit tool first (Press B on your keyboard), this will move the remaining clips as well, extending the timeline. Press V to return to your Arrow tool.

Razor Tool

The Razor tool does what it says; it splices one clip into two. Select the tool (Press C on your keyboard) and click on a clip in the timeline where you wish to make a cut. You can now treat them as two separate clips.

You will most likely be using the Razor tool to delete a section of your footage. Once you have cut it out, press V to return to the Arrow tool, select the clip and press delete to remove it. Be advised that this will leave a space where the clip once was. If you do not want a gap, hold ALT as you delete the clip, and the rest of the timeline will adjust accordingly.

Slip Clip

The Slip Clip tool is one of the most underused tools in Adobe Premiere, but it can be beneficial. You would use the Slip Clip tool when, for example, you have edited your clips to the length you want, but you are not happy with the selection of the clip in question.

Rather than delete the clip, and drag in the footage again with slightly different In and Out points, select the Slip Clip Tool (Press Y on your Keyboard) In the timeline, click on the clip you wish to change and drag to the left or right to scroll through the full clip. The Media Viewer will show you the new In and Out points, as well as stills of the clips that precede and follow it.

Editing Audio Clips

editing audio clips

You may need to cut and trim the audio separately to the video. To do this, you will need to unlink the audio from the video. Select the clip in your timeline and right click to bring up the menu. Scroll down and select Unlink, you now have two separate audio and video track.

L and J Cuts

No matter what you are editing, if there is audio, you are likely to need to use J and L cuts. These are simple audio editing cuts that allow the sound to continue before or after the video plays. You would use this when, for example, you are cutting a scene between two people talking. A J or L cut will allow you to cut to another shot while hearing the audio of the clip before.

To do this, you will need to unlink your audio from your video. Select the audio track and drag the end out to the desired length.

If you have two clips both with audio, you can use the Ripple Edit tool to change the audio edit point. Unlink both video clips from the audio and select the Ripple Tool editor (B on your keyboard). While holding command, select the line between the two audio clips, and drag in the direction in which you wish the audio to continue.

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Using a variety of these tools and keyboard shortcuts, you can hone your skills to become a fast and efficient at video editing. Ultimately, this will save you time for the more creative elements of post-production. Whether you are working on an original film or a commercial video, learning how to cut video clips in Adobe Premiere Pro quickly can help you to save money and free you up to work on more projects. To better understand the difference between cutting and splitting clips, head over to this tutorial!

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