Insider Tips: Make faster edits with Final Cut Pro’s Trim to Playhead

Every week, Insider asks one of our expert contributors to share a tip, tool, or technique that they use all the time and couldn’t live without. This week, Reuben Evans reveals the hidden option in Final Cut Pro’s Trim tool—Trim to Playhead.

Make faster edits with Final Cut Pro’s Trim to Playhead

The magnetic timeline allows Final Cut Pro editors to trim with unprecedented fluidity. One of the hallmark functions of the magnetic timeline is the Trim Start/Trim End pair of shortcuts. Just float your cursor over a part of a clip and press Opt+[ to trim the beginning of the clip to your playhead. Or you can use Opt+] to trim the end of the clip to the playhead or skimmer.

Trim better

However, did you know that there is one other option? Under the Trim menu, you’ll see an option for Trim to Playhead, and its shortcut is Opt+\.

This handy shortcut notices where your skimmer is in relation to the clip you’re over. So if you’re towards the beginning of the clip, and you press Opt+\, Final Cut Pro will trim the head of the clip to your playhead. Alternatively, if you’re closer to the end of the clip, it’ll trim the tail to the playhead.

This removes just one more beat of you having to think about which bracket to use. Because 95 percent of the time, if my playhead is towards the end, I want to trim the end of the clip. And that’s just one more way that Final Cut Pro can speed up editing and keep you in a state of flow.

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Screenshots from Amazing Grace (due for release in 2024). Courtesy of Visuals 1st Films, LLC.

Reuben Evans

Reuben Evans is an award-winning screenwriter, executive producer at Faithlife, and a member of the Producers Guild of America. He has produced and directed numerous documentaries and commercials. Reuben’s tools of choice are RED Cameras, Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve. He writes for Insider and is part of the Blade Ronner Media writers network. Reuben resides in Washington state with his wife, four kids, and one crazy goldendoodle puppy named Baker.

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