NOTE: I wrote an entire article on trimming techniques. Read it here.
But there are two other trims that don’t change the edges of a shot, they change the content or location of a clip.
Slip trim. Often called a “slip edit,” this changes the content of a clip in the Timeline without changing its location or duration.
Slide trim. Also called a “slide edit,” this changes the location of a clip in the Timeline without changing its content or duration.
I use slip trims VERY frequently for adjusting B-roll, but only rarely use a slide trim.
NOTE: Slide trims were an essential part of editing when Timelines only supported one or two tracks of video. Now, they are little used because we have an unlimited number of layers upon which to place clips. Still, FCP X includes this feature and its worth learning.
CREATE A SLIP TRIM
Here’s a typical example illustrated by using this NASA footage. Notice that the red solar flare and yellow star change in the middle of the clip.
The clip itself is exactly six seconds long. (Clips can be any duration for this to work, I’m simply illustrating the duration to prove that it doesn’t change as we do this trim.)
To engage the Slip tool, first select the Trim tool (shortcut: T) from the Toolbar. As we learned in the earlier article on trimming, if we click the Trim tool at the end of a clip, it turns into the Roll trim tool.
However, if we click the Trim tool in the middle of a clip, it becomes the Slip trim tool. Click and drag with the tool and notice that we are changing the content of the shot, without changing its location or duration. (Here, I’m shifting the start of the content to the left by a little more than a second.)
NOTE: What this is doing in technical terms is a ripple trim to both the In and Out of the same clip in the same direction and by the same amount.
You can drag a clip as much as you want – until it runs out of handles – to change the contents of the clip to best fit the needs of your project. (Here, I’m shifting the start of the content to the right by about three seconds.)
NOTE: Handles are extra video before the In and after the Out of a clip. Handles are essential for trimming and transitions.
I find Slip trims really useful in precisely determining the portions of a clip I want to use for B-roll or highlights.
NOTE: When the trim is complete, the duration of the clip still remains the same.
You can use a variety of keyboard shortcuts to slip a shot. First, though, you need to select the Trim tool, then select the clip and type:
Entering a timecode value also works to shift the content of a clip. Using either the keypad or the numbers on your keyboard type:
Plus followed by a number shifts the content of the selected clip that many frames to the right. Minus followed by a number shifts the content of the shot that many frames to the left.
NOTE: You don’t need to use punctuation. Type “10″ moves the selected edit point ten frames. Type “110″ moves it one second and ten frames. Type “10110″ moves it one minute one second and ten frames.
Also, FCP can do the math for you. If your project is 30 frames per second, typing “40″ moves the selected edit point one second and ten frames. If your project is 60 frames per second, typing “40″ moves it 40 frames.
THE SLIDE TRIM
A slide trim (also called a “slide edit”) moves the position of a clip in the Timeline without changing the content or duration of the clip. In the past, this was used because all clips needed to fit in a single track or layer in the video editor, because the software didn’t support more than two tracks of video.
NOTE: Technically, what this does is move a middle clip by ripple trimming the Out of the preceding clip, while at the same time ripple trimming the In of the following clip in the same direction and by the same amount. Because both the Out and In are trimming in the same direction, the middle clip moves with all other clips remaining in the same position.
Here’s how it works:
Here, for example, I slid the clip to the left (top) and right (bottom). Notice that the content and duration of the middle clip did not change, but the durations of the clips on either side of it did.
NOTE: A big limitation of this technique is that you can only slide a clip to the limit of the two clips around it. You can’t slide a clip past the beginning of the clip before it, nor after the end of the clip after it. And, the slide stops if either surrounding clip runs out of handles.
You might ask, “Larry, wouldn’t it be easier to simply put the middle clip above the other two clips and drag it where you want?”
And the answer is ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
If you select a clip with the Arrow tool and use the standard keyboard shortcuts: comma/period or timecode – you will slide the clip along the Timeline.
The benefit to moving a clip using a Slide, as opposed to the Position tool, is that the Slide trim does not leave gaps.
These two trim techniques are not obvious, but they can be very helpful once you know how they work. Experiment with them for your own projects and see what you think.
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