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Reference 4.3 Modifying Clips in the Primary Storyline

When reviewing the storyline's flow, an additional clip or two may fill in story gaps. The flow may be disrupted by extra words or sounds at the start or end of a sound bite. Thanks to the magnetic properties of the storyline, the solutions to these problems are painless.

The append edit added the selected clip or clips to the end of the storyline. Sometimes a clip needs to be placed between those appended storyline clips; an insert edit will wedge a browser clip between two storyline clips.


The trimming tools allows you to remove, or add, an extra breath, sound, word, or movement from or to a clip. Final Cut Pro includes several trimming tools. The basic trim tool you'll learn in this lesson is called ripple trim.


The ripple trim allows you to remove media from a project clip, frame by frame if desired. The ripple trim also allows you to insert media to a project clip.

Whether you're performing an insert edit or a ripple trim in the storyline, the adjoining clips in the storyline stick together. Remove a clip and the subsequent clips move forward and hook up to the previous clip. Insert a clip between others and the subsequent clips move right to make room.

Exercise 4.3.1 Performing Insert Edits

When you dragged MVI_1044 to its new location, you performed an insert edit. Clips to the right of the new clip slid right to make room, while clips to the left retained their positions. Previously, you marked another sound bite as a select that needs to be added to the project. In this exercise, you will insert this clip into the project, but without dragging it.

  1. In the Browser, switch to thumbnail view, then perform a search for awe.


    The search identifies one clip, MVI_1043. The filmstrip displays two favorite ranges within the clip.

  2. In the Browser, skim the second favorite of MVI_1043.


    Depending on your display's resolution, you may have difficulty skimming the clip at a speed that makes the audio intelligible. Expanding the filmstrip by zooming in will help you skim the clip.

  3. Drag the Zoom slider to right until the zoom scale reads 5s.

  4. Skim the second favorite in MVI_1043 again.

    At this scale setting, each thumbnail in the filmstrip represents five seconds of source media. This time you can identify the sound bites by listening to the pitch-corrected audio. Notice the torn edge on the left end of the row. That indicates the clip continues from the previous line of thumbnails. The start and end of the clip are represented by a solid edge as shown on the right side of the filmstrip.

  5. In the clip's filmstrip, ensure that the second favorite range is selected.

    Next, you need to choose where this clip belongs in the storyline by cueing the playhead to the desired location.

  6. In the Timeline, skim between MVI_1043 and MVI_1044.

    MVI_1043 must be edited between those two clips with frame accuracy. To help you precisely place the playhead on the edit point between the two clips, you can turn on snapping.

    At the upper-right of the Timeline locate the Skimming, Audio Skimming, Audio Soloing, and Snapping buttons.

  7. If necessar, click the Snapping button to turn on snapping, or press N.

  8. Skim over several clips and edit points within the project.

    Notice that the skimmer jumps to the edit points. To prepare for the insert edit, you need to cue the playhead to the desired edit point.

  9. Snap the skimmer to the edit point between MVI_1043 and MVI_1044, then click to cue the playhead here.


    The "L" bracket indicates this frame is the start point.

  10. In the Browser, verify that the clip's second range is still selected.
  11. In the toolbar, click the Insert edit button, or press W.


    The second select of MVI_1043 is placed into the project between the two storyline clips, and a missing sound bite becomes part of the storyline.

Exercise 4.3.2 Rippling the Primary Storyline

When you pulled your select sound bites in Lesson 3, you included some extraneous material. (The reason you left some extra material in your favorites will become apparent during this exercise.) However, everyday editing is all about trimming down to create a more concise story, or padding the story to extend its length. You will now learn how to use ripple trimming to remove that extra content, and also how to reinsert content when you trim off too much.

  1. Locate the playhead at the end point of MVI_1055, the second clip in the project.

    Some extra content, where Mitch says, "Uh, so," needs to be trimmed, leaving a new end point after Mitch says, "Whole new look."

    Before you perform this bit of clip trimming, zoom in on the edit so that you may operate the tools with greater precision.

  2. With your skimmer or playhead cued around the end of MVI_1055, press Command-= (equals sign) to zoom into the Timeline.

    As you zoom, the thumbnails and waveforms expand to reveal where the trim should occur. The "uhh, so" phrase is displayed as the peaks of waveforms at the end of the clip. Those need to be removed. You can approach this edit in several ways. In this exercise, you will use the ripple trim function without getting the Trim tool.

  3. Identify the new end point by cueing the playhead before Mitch says, "uhh, so" at the end of MVI_1055.

    Locating the playhead at the desired trim point allows you to use snapping to make an exact trim with the default Select tool. This tool automatically changes function based on its location in the Timeline.

  4. In the Tools pop-up menu in the toolbar, verify that the Select tool is chosen, or press A.

  5. In the Timeline, place the mouse pointer over the end point of the clip.

  6. Without clicking, slowly move the mouse pointer back and forth across the edit point between the two clips' edit points.


    Notice how the pointer icon changes as the mouse pointer moves from one side of the edit to the other. The changing icon indicates that the Select tool automatically becomes the ripple trim tool.

    The ripple trim icon has a small filmstrip that always points toward the clip you will trim. Because you want to change the end point of MVI_1055, the filmstrip must point left toward the clip.

  7. With the ripple trim's filmstrip pointing toward the left, drag the end of the clip until it snaps to the playhead.

  8. Review the edit you completed by playing this portion of the Timeline.

    You easily changed the end point of the clip, thereby removing the extraneous content. The ripple trim also moved all the following clips earlier in the Timeline to fill in for the removed content. Now you'll trim off the start of the same clip.

  9. Scroll left in the project and adjust the zoom level of the Timeline to see the start point of MVI_1055.

  10. Play the start of the clip to identify the new start point before Mitch says, "And really the passion."

    You will cue the playhead here between Mitch saying, "of film" and "And really." Ideally, you will find a frame for an edit that has the interview subject appearing with eyes open and mouth closed. In this clip, you'll find such a frame just as Mitch finishes the word "film."

  11. With the playhead parked at the new start point's location, place the Select tool over the current start point of the clip.

    This time, the filmstrip of the ripple trim pointer will point to the right toward MVI_1055.

  12. Drag the start point of MVI_1055 and snap it to the playhead.


When ripple trimming a start point, you may notice that the clip to the left appears to move. However, the clip did not move because it still starts at 0:00. As you trimmed content from the beginning of MVI_1055, the clip's duration shortened, the following clips rippled left in time, and the Timeline timecode shifted accordingly.

Using the Keyboard to Ripple Trim an End Point

Sometimes the mouse or trackpad does not offer sufficiently fine control to perform a trim without setting an extreme view or altering your System Preferences. Fortunately, you can use keyboard shortcuts for greater precision.

  1. Locate the end point of the second, shorter MVI_1043; and cue the playhead before Mitch utters an extraneous "so." Ordinarily, you might press Command-= (equals sign) a few times to zoom your view into the edit.

    Because you have heard this interview already, you know that Mitch runs words and sentences together, thereby making this edit more difficult. Let's turn to keyboard shortcuts to help trim this clip.

  2. Select the end point of the second MVI_1043.


    With the end point selected, you can use keyboard shortcuts to trim the clip one frame at a time.

  3. Press the comma (,) key multiple times to ripple trim, removing content frame by frame.
  4. If necessary, press the period (.) key multiple times to insert content frame by frame.
  5. Skim to just before the edit point, and then play back the project to check your results.

    This trim edit will take a few tries to perfect, but let's leave it for now and move on.

  6. Proceed through the project removing extraneous clip content. When you're finished, the project should resemble the following table:

    Lifted Vignette Edit in Progress


    Start dialogue

    End dialogue


    Flying is

    a little kid


    And really the

    whole new look


    One thing that

    what we're shooting


    As I'm technically

    what we're experiencing


    You know it's

    opener for me


    Every time we may be

    see or capture


    At the end of the day

    adventure I went on


    Click to view larger image

    Lifted Vignette in progress

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