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How to Use the Trim Tool in Adobe Premiere Pro

As an editor, you’re going to hear the term trim thrown around often, but what exactly is a Trim, and what can you do with it? You’ll learn the answer to both of these questions in this guide for Adobe Premiere Pro.

What is a Trim?

Take a look at the example timeline below, with a sequence of four clips back-to-back. The Trim is the line in between the two clips, or the connection point between them. On the left side of the trim is the A side, and on the right side of the trim is the B side. Trims are really interesting because they control a lot of how your timeline actually functions.

Two screenshots of Premiere Pro, showing how to move the Trim along the clip in the timeline

If you move your mouse over a trim, grab the red icon and drag it to the left, that’s moving the trim – you’ve cut the back of the shot. In other words, what you’ve basically done is made a cut before the end of the A side, selected the piece in between the cut and the end of the shot, and removed it, creating a small gap.

The main function of the Trim tool is to reduce or extend the shot length. In the example below, you can see the shot of Brian sitting on the couch, and the next clip is of him working on the computer. If you wanted to use less of the first shot, you would drag the trim to the left, and then fill the gap by dragging the trim of the second clip to the left. When you play this section of the timeline back, you will see the A side is reduced in length, and the B side is extended.

In Premiere Pro, an editor trims a section of footage and moves the rest of the clip backwards to replace it and the text is also present as real text nearby.

Using the Command Key

However, the problem with that whole process is it’s quite slow for a simple edit. Fortunately, there’s actually a faster way to do that. If you hold the command key and move your mouse over the Trim, you’ll notice the icon is different.

In Premiere Pro, an editor moves the transition point of two clips backwards in time and the text is also present as real text nearby.

If you keep holding the command key, grab the trim and drag it to the left, what you’ve effectively done is the exact same thing but in one movement. When you use the Trim tool, the program monitor shows you the last frame of the A side, and the first frame of the B side. So, as you move the Trim while holding down the command key, the program monitor displays what you are removing from one shot, and adding from the other.

For more tutorials, Premiere Pro Quickstart is a beginner-level course designed to get new editors up and running as quickly as possible. It contains 40+ software tutorials and 23 downloadable assets to cut a practice project along with us.


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