Clip operations

The project timeline provides comprehensive support for selecting, adjusting, trimming, moving and copying clips.


Select clips in preparation for performing editing operations upon them. A selected clip receives an orange frame and is displayed as solid orange in the Navigator.

To select one clip, click it with the mouse. Any previous selections are removed. For a fast multiple selection, click in an open timeline area then drag out a selection frame that intersects the clips of interest. To select all clips with one command, press Ctrl+A.

To clear a selection click into any gap area of the timeline.

Multiple selection with keyboard and mouse

To create more complex multiple selections, left-click while pressing Shift, Ctrl or both together.

To select a series of clips: Click on the first and Shift-click on the last. The two clips together define a bounding rectangle, or selection frame, within which all clips are selected.

Toggle selection of one clip: Use Ctrl-click to reverse the selection state of a single clip without affecting any of the others.

Select rest of track: Press Ctrl+Shift-click to select all clips that start at or after the start position of the clicked clip. This function is particularly useful if you quickly want to get the rest of your timeline ‘out-of-the way’ for inserting new material, or to manually ripple left to close timeline gaps.


As you move your mouse pointer slowly over the clips on your timeline, you will notice that it changes to an arrow symbol while crossing the sides of each clip, an indication that you can click and drag to adjust the clip boundary.

Adjusting changes the length of a single clip on the timeline in overwrite mode (since insert mode would cause synchronization issues). If you drag the start of a clip to the right, a gap will be opened on the left side. If there is a clip to the immediate left of the clip being adjusted, dragging to the left overwrites it.

The adjustment pointer also appears when the mouse hovers at the ends of a gap – an empty space on a timeline track with at least one clip to its right.

It turns out that adjusting gaps in overwrite mode, as we do for clips, is not especially helpful. However, gaps do come in handy when you’re editing in smart mode if you want to ripple an individual track left or right, ignoring any resulting synchronization issues. Adjusting gaps therefore occurs in insert mode.

Even if no gap is available, incidentally, you can get the same result by holding Alt while adjusting the sides of a clip.


Over-trimming occurs when you try to extend the duration of a clip beyond the limits of its source material, a situation you typically want to avoid.

Notice that if you have over-trimmed your clip the invalid parts are shown in pink.

Avid Studio image001 Clip operations

Overtrimmed clip: The first and last frames will be frozen in the over-trimmed sections.

Over-trimming is not a crisis situation. You do not need to take action immediately. Avid Studio will simply extend the clip as specified by ‘freezing’ the first and last frames of the clip into the over-trimmed areas.

Depending on the duration of the over-trim, and the context, this simple approach may be all you need. A brief freeze-frame can even be visually effective in its own right.

The freeze-frame method will probably not give satisfactory results if it happens during a sequence involving rapid motion, however. In such exacting cases you might consider supplementing or replacing the clip, or prolonging it with the Speed function.


Changing the length of clips or gaps on the timeline is called ‘trimming’.

Multitrack trimming is a valuable editing skill. By trimming multiple tracks at once, you can assure that the clips coming later on the project timeline maintain their relative synchronization.

Trimming clips without consideration for content later on the timeline can disrupt the synchronization of your project. Soundtracks that don’t match the action and badly-timed titles are the kinds of problem that may result.

Avid Studio image002 Clip operations

Multiple track trimming

A rule for staying in sync

Avid Studio has powerful trimming tools to allow you to perform multitrack trimming without risk. Fortunately, there is a simple rule for safeguarding synchronization even on a complex timeline: open exactly one trim point on every track. Whether the trim point is attached to a clip or a gap, and at which end, are up to you.

Opening trim points

Move the mouse pointer to the beginning or end of a clip. Notice that the trim pointer faces left at the start of the clip and right at the end.

While the trim pointer is showing, click once at the point you want to trim. Then continue to open trim points on other clips if required.

You can open two trim points per track by holding down the Ctrl key to create the second point. This feature is useful for the trim both, slip trim, and slide trim operations, all described below.

Avid Studio image003 Clip operationsYou can also open a trim point by positioning the timeline scrubber near the cut you want to trim, then clicking the toggle trim mode button on the timeline toolbar.

When a trim point is opened several things happen:

·    The left or right edge of the clip is highlighted with an orange bar.

·    The toggle trim mode button becomes active.

·    The transport controls under the Player become trim adjustment tools.

·    You will see an orange outline around your preview to alert you that you are now in trim mode.

Avid Studio image004 Clip operations

Trim mode with trim adjust buttons

Closing trim mode

Trim mode can be closed either by clicking in a gray area away from the trim points, or by clicking the toggle trim mode button.

Editing modes

Avid Studio image005 Clip operationsThe current editing mode – smart, overwrite or insert – determines how trimming will affect other clips on the timeline. Select the mode from the dropdown list at the far right of the timeline toolbar.

Insert mode: Clips to the right of a trimmed clip and on the same track will shift left or right to accommodate the new length of the clip. Synchronization with other tracks may be lost, but no clips are overwritten.

Overwrite mode: Only the clips you are trimming, and any neighboring clips they happen to overwrite, are altered in this mode. Synchronization across tracks is not affected.

Smart mode: During trimming, smart mode is equivalent to insert mode.

Trimming the beginning of a clip

Prepare to trim the beginning of a clip (the ‘mark-in’ point) by clicking at the left-hand edge of the clip while the trim pointer is visible. With a trim point thus established, you can add or remove frames from the beginning of the clip.

To trim on the clip, drag the trim point to the left or right.

To trim on the Player, use the trim buttons to trim one or ten frames either forwards or backwards. Click the loop play button for a looping preview of the trim region.

Avid Studio image006 Clip operations

In-point trim selected

Trimming the end of the clip

To trim the end of the clip (or ‘mark-out’ point), open a trim point by clicking at the right-hand edge of a clip when the mouse pointer changes to a rightward-pointing arrow. Now you can add or remove frames from the end of your clip.

Once again you can trim directly on the clip by dragging the trim point, or on the Player while it remains in trim mode.

Avid Studio image007 Clip operations

Out-point trim selected

Trimming gaps

The project timeline lets you trim not just the clips upon it but also the gaps between them. Trimming gaps might not sound terribly useful at first, but is in fact handy. For instance, the easiest way to insert or delete space on a single timeline track is to trim the right-hand edge of a gap. All clips to the right of the gap are shifted as a block when this is done.

Also, when you need to open a trim point on each track in order to maintain synchronization while trimming, you may often choose to trim the duration of a gap rather than that of a clip. (Remember the rule: one trim point on every track is required for keeping in sync.)

Trimming a gap, whether at the start or the end, is accomplished in exactly the same way described above for trimming a clip.

Avid Studio image008 Clip operations

Two gaps selected and an audio out point trim

Trim both

In this operation, two adjacent clips (or a clip and an adjacent gap) are trimmed simultaneously. Any frames added to the left-hand item are taken away from the one on the right, and vice versa, as long as space and material are available. All you are moving is the cut-point where the items meet. One application for this technique is adjusting visual cuts to the beat of a music soundtrack.

To start, click at the end of the left-hand clip to open the first trim point, then Ctrl-click at the beginning of the right-hand clip to open the second.

When positioned over the adjacent trim points you just opened, the mouse pointer should be a horizontal two-headed arrow. Drag left or right to move the clip boundary, or use the Player in trim mode.

Avid Studio image009 Clip operations

Trim both: Adjacent out and in trim-points have been selected

Slip trim

To change the starting frame of a clip within the source material, but leave its duration unchanged, open one trim point at the start of a clip, and another at the end of either the same clip or one later on its timeline track.

Drag either trim point horizontally or use the Player trim controls to reposition the clip within its source.

Avid Studio image010 Clip operations

Slip trim: In and out trim-points of clip selected

Slide trim

A slide trim is an extended version of the trim both technique described above. In this case you open trim-points at the end of one clip and the beginning of another later on the timeline. Instead of sliding a single clip boundary along the timeline, as in trim both, you are sliding two that move together. All clips between the two trim points are repositioned earlier or later on the timeline.

Both slip trimming and slide trimming can be useful for synchronizing clip contents to material on other tracks.

Avid Studio image011 Clip operations

Slide trim: An out trim-point has been opened on the first clip, and an in-point on the third

Monitoring trim points

When you are trimming with multiple trim points, it is helpful to switch the preview from one trim location to another to make sure that each is properly set. Selecting a trim-point for monitoring makes it the source for audio and video during preview.

Opening a trim-point causes it to be monitored. When multiple trim-points are involved, therefore, you can check on each one as it is created. To select a trim-point for monitoring directly, Ctrl-click it. While trim mode is active, pressing Tab cycles through the open points.

Moving and copying

To move a selection of one or more clips, place the mouse pointer on any selected clip and watch for it to change to a hand symbol. When it does, start dragging the clip to the desired position.

Move can be thought of as a two-step process. First, the selection is deleted from the current timeline, according to the rules of the current edit mode. Second, the selection is moved to the desired end position, where it is inserted in a left-to-right fashion per track. The relative position of all selected clips on all tracks is retained.

Moving a ‘sparse selection’ (a selection in which some clips per track are selected while others in the same region are not) is possible, but may be confusing unless executed in overwrite mode. Moving either single clips or a complete timeline cross-section is more straightforward and should be preferred when possible.

Holding down the Alt key while moving clips allows you to toggle between insert and overwrite modes. Standard smart operation is the same as insert, since the most frequent use of horizontal moves is to reorder the playback sequence.


Holding down the Ctrl key while moving a selection of clips, will copy the clips instead of moving them.

Clip operations