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Final Cut Pro for Avid Editors: Trimming Clips

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Diana Weynand covers the basic Avid approach to trimming and shows how to perform those same functions in Final Cut Pro.
This chapter is from the book

Use the Trim window

Perform dual-roller and single-roller trimming

Use J-K-L trimming

Trim in the Timeline

Trim by dragging edit points

Trim with keyboard shortcuts

Trim by time amount

Work with linked selection

Create split edits using trim tools

Asymmetrical trimming

Trim in the Viewer

In this lesson, we will cover the basic Avid approach to trimming and show how to perform those same functions in Final Cut Pro. In general, FCP is far less modal than Avid. You can perform trims in FCP just as you can with Avid’s Smart Tool without entering a “trim mode,” whereas with previous Avid versions, you always enter Trim mode to trim. Both, however, have similar trim windows that behave in similar ways. Like Avid, FCP lets you trim clips by dragging an edit point in the Timeline or entering a trim duration. In addition, FCP also has dedicated trim tools in the Tool palette. You have numerous ways to trim clips in FCP. The trick is to find your comfort zone of what’s familiar and then to explore the new alternatives.

Also in Avid, unless you lock tracks (or turn off Link Selection in Avid 5), you are free to adjust individual tracks separately. In FCP, the default is to bind or “link” the video and audio portions of a clip so that when you select one track, all tracks are selected. However, FCP also has a linked selection feature. This feature is covered in depth in Lesson 8, but this lesson includes steps to select just the audio or video portion of a clip so that you may trim one track at a time to create a split edit or L-cut.

Although most trim functions are covered in this lesson, a few additional techniques for changing the length of a clip in the Timeline are covered in Lesson 6—such as trimming an edit using the Extend function, or dividing a clip by using Add Edit.

Working with the Trim Edit Window

While Avid 5 has adopted many of the direct trimming features available in Final Cut Pro, there are many versions of Avid Media Composer in which you have to select a separate mode to trim. In Final Cut Pro, you never change modes per se, but one way to trim is to access a Trim Edit window, which is much like Avid’s big trim window. Inside the Trim Edit window, FCP handles trimming virtually the same way Avid does. To open the FCP Trim Edit window, you can lasso an edit point with a special tool, or simply double-click the edit point. If you want to map a Trim Edit button to simulate clicking Avid’s Trim Mode button, you can map it to one of the button bars. You can also use keyboard shortcuts.

To open the FCP Trim Edit window:

Do one of the following:

  • Double-click the edit point between two clips in the Timeline.
  • From the Tool palette, choose the Edit Selection tool (the second tool), or press G, and lasso an edit point.
  • From the button list (Option-J), add the Trim Edit button to your Timeline button bar, and click it to open the edit point closest to the playhead.
  • In the Timeline, press Command-7 to open the edit point closest to the playhead.

    A familiar “big” trim window opens on top of the Viewer and Canvas window areas.

For every function on the A side of the window, you will find corresponding functions on the B side. The preview and trim keys are in the middle of the window, beneath the A and B images.

To close the Trim Edit window:

Do one of the following:

  • Press Command-W.
  • Click anywhere in the Timeline except an edit point.
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