Adobe Premiere: Advanced Editing Techniques

We will learn about:
  • The trimming modes

  • Trimming in the Program Monitor

  • Working with split edits

  • Changing clip speeds

  • Nested sequences

The Trimming Modes

There are five trim modes in Premiere Pro. Those five modes are regular, ripple, rolling, slip, and slide. 

Let's learn how to use each one.

Regular Trims

You do not have to click any buttons in the Tools panel or the Timeline to access the regular trim tool.   If you hover your mouse pointer over the edge of a clip, you will see it turn into the regular trim tool. 

It looks like this:

This is the most basic of the trimming tools.

NOTE: Remember that if your audio and video files are linked, you will trim both of them when you trim one.   For that reason, before you start to trim, you should unlink the tracks if you do not want that to happen.

The regular trim tool is a red arrow, like shown above, however, where it appears will let you know what you can do with it.

Here is what we mean. In the snapshot above, you can drag inward or outward using the tool.   If the tool had down up on the clip, instead of on the outside of the clip, it would mean that you could only drag inward. When you reach the beginning or end of a clip, you will not be able to drag any further when dragging outward. In order to extend the length of the clip, you will have to slow the playback speed. We will learn about that later.

 When dragging outward:

  • You cannot use the regular trim tool when the clip shares a border with another clip or the start of a sequence.

  • You cannot use the regular trim tool when dragging outward will move other clips. 

That said, here is how to use the regular trim tool to trim a clip on the Timeline.

Hover your mouse over the edge of a clip. You can trim inward or outward. The choice is yours.

Drag the edge of the clip in the direction you want to go. There will be a yellow box next to the pointer that shows you the length of the trim. It will be a positive number if you drag to the right. It will also show the duration of the clip. 

If you look at the Program Monitor, you will see it shows the length of the trim and clip duration. It also shows the original timecode of the frame being displayed. This makes it easy to trim to a known frame in the source clip.

Ripple Trims

The ripple trim is like an insert edit if you lengthen a clip. It is like an extract edit if you shorten a clip. This type of trim affects all synced tracks unless you disable Sync Lock. 

The ripple trim tool looks just like the regular trim tool except that it is yellow instead of red. 

To use the ripple trim tool, go to the Tools panel and click the Ripple Edit tool. It looks like this:   You can also press B.

Next, hover your mouse pointer over the edge of the clip you want to trim. You will see the pointer change to the ripple tool.   Drag in the direction you want to go. 

As with the regular trim tool, you will see a yellow box that shows the length of the trim and the clip's duration. 

In the Program Monitor, you will see the length of the trim and the clip's duration.   You will also see two frames displayed. One shows the new trim point. The other shows the adjacent clip.  

Rolling Trims

A rolling trim's purpose is to adjust the meeting point of two neighboring clips, but keeping the In point of the first clip or the Out point of the second clip fixed.  

In a rolling trim, one clip is shortened, but the other clip is lengthened by the same amount that the first one is shortened.   It is take from one (in terms of length) and give to the other.

This edit should be used to change how one clip flows into another.

To make a rolling trim, click on the Rolling Edit tool in the Tools panel. It looks like this: 

Hover your mouse over the point where the two clips meet. You will see the pointer change to the rolling edit pointer.

Now, drag the edge in the direction you want to go.

In the screenshot below, we are dragging inward. We added the arrows to the screenshot to show the direction of the drag.

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As you can see above, the yellow box appears as it did with other trims.

In the Program Monitor, you can see the trim's duration, as well as the second clip's duration. You will also see two frames: the last frame from the first clip on the left, and the first frame of the second clip on the right.

Slip Edits

Slip edits are one of the neatest ones that Premiere Pro offers. Let's say that you set In and Out points in a source clip in the Program Monitor. You move it to the Timeline and realize that you need a few more seconds of the source footage than you originally thought.  

This could be a real headache without the slip edit. You would have to remove the clip from the Timeline, go back to the Program Monitor, then adjust your In and Out points, etc.    

However, by using a slip edit, you can make the adjustments right in the Timeline. You can just drag the content in that clip forward by the number of seconds you need.

To make a slip edit, click the Slip tool in the Tools panel. It looks like this: 

Your mouse pointer then turns to the slip pointer.

Next, click the clip you want to trim. Drag it to the right to extend the seconds. Drag it to the left to decrease the seconds.

In the Program Monitor, the two large frames show you the In and Out points of the clip. The source timecode is shown as well. The smaller frames show the adjacent clips. These will not change.

Slide Edits

A slide edit is by far the most difficult of the edits to get used to. Part of the reason is because the slide edit involves three clips instead of just one or two. 

In a slide edit, the In point for the first clip, as well as the Out point for the third clip do not change.  The middle clip does not change at all.   Instead, you will either shorten or lengthen the first clip with the reverse happening to the third.   If you shorten the first clip, you lengthen the third and vice versa.

You will use the middle clip to shorten or lengthen the first and third clips.

To make a slide edit, click the Slide tool in the Tools panel. It looks like this: 

Next, click the middle clip of the three you want to edit, then drag in the direction you want to go.

Release the mouse when you are finished.

Trimming in the Program Monitor

The Program Monitor can be a better place to trip your clips if you are working in audio, because you will be able to hear the audio while you trim.   However, only three trims are available in the Program Monitor. These trims are the regular, ripple, and rolling.  

To get to the trim mode in the Program Monitor, you can press the T key or double click on any edit point with either the regular, ripple, or rolling tool. You can also drag a marquee around an edit point using the ripple or rolling edit pointer, as shown below.

Take a look at the Program Monitor, as pictured below.


We have labeled the controls in Trim Mode in the next snapshot.

Here is how the controls (labeled above) work:

  • Trim Backward Many trims backward by the number of frames that you have specified in the Trim Preferences Dialogue box (Edit>Preferences>Trim) 

  • Trim Forward Many is the same as Trim Backward Many except that it trims forward. 

  • In Shift Counter is how many frames the In point of the second clip has been changed. 

  • Trim Forward trims forward one clip. 

  • Trim Backward trims backward one clip. 

  • Out Shift Counter shows how many frames the Out point in the first clip has been changed. 

  • Trim Mode Indicator shows the type of edit. A blue line under both windows is a rolling edit. If it is just under one window it is a regular or ripple edit.

To choose an editing mode, right click on the intersection between the two clips in the Timeline:

The best way to learn the different trimming techniques both in the Timeline and the Program Monitor is to take time to practice them.   You will get a better feel for how each works, and you will learn which one to use when you need to trim clips in your projects.

About Split Edits

Split Edits are also known as L-cuts and J-cuts.   These are edits where audio can be heard before the video is seen (J-cut) or audio still plays after the video goes to the next clip or scene (L-cut). You use the Rolling Edit too to perform split edits.

To create a rolling edit, go to the Tools panel and click the Rolling Edit tool. You can also press N.

We are going to use two audio tracks as example.

Now, hover your mouse between the audio clips you want to trim. You will then see the rolling edit pointer.

Next, Alt+click where these two files intersect. The edit will be applied to the selected video track.

Drag the edge in the direction you want to go. If you go to the right, it produces a J-cut. If you go to the left, it produces an L-cut.

Change the Clip Speed

We mentioned changing the clip speed earlier. Now let's learn how to do it. 

Click the clip for which you want to change the speed.   We are going to speed up the click we have selected below.

Next, right click on that clip and choose Speed/Duration from the menu.

You will then see the Clip Speed/Duration dialogue box.

Enter the desired speed or duration. 

You can select Reverse Speed if you want the clip to run in reverse.

If the clip has audio you want to use, check Maintain Auto Pitch.

Check the Ripple Edit, Shifting Trail Clips if you want to ripple the edit through the other clips on the track, as well as synced tracks.  Not checking this box will leave a gap if you make the clip faster. If you are slowing the clip down, it will not extend beyond the original Out point.

Click OK.

The Rate Stretch Tool

The Rate Stretch tool allows you to match the timing of one clip to another on a different track. The Rate Stretch tool looks like this: 

Here is how to use it:

Go to the Tools panel and select the Rate Stretch tool.

Next, drag the edge of the clip whose speed you want to change to the desired location for the desired length.

Now, release the pointer. The clip speed is adjusted automatically.

Nested Sequences

By definition, a nested sequence is when you insert a sequence into another sequence. When you do this, the nested sequence looks like a linked clip. 

To create a nested sequence on the Timeline, select the clips that you want to insert into a sequence.

Right click on any of those selected clips.

Select Nest.

Enter a name for the sequence and click OK.

The nested sequence appears on the Project panel.

It also replaces the clips on the Timeline with the sequence. 

To nest a sequence in a sequence, open the sequence on the Timeline for which you want to insert a sequence into. 

Drag the sequence you want to insert into the sequence on the Timeline.