QuickTime Has a Hidden Editing Tool for Cutting Clips Out of Videos

QuickTime Has a Hidden Editing Tool for Cutting Clips Out of Videos

On a Mac, there are plenty of video editors that will happily take your money. But for simple editing, you don’t need to spend a dime. There’s iMovie, of course, which offers enough tools to chop together a video. But for the simplest of edits, don’t bother: You can, instead, use QuickTime to not only trim videos, but to cut clips out of them, too.

If you’ve ever used QuickTime to quickly edit a video before, you’re probably quite familiar with the “Trim” feature. Trim allows you to quickly take off part of the beginning and ending of a video clip, which is great for editing out accidental starts or that awkward march to the camera to stop the recording.

But Trim can only take you so far. If you need to take a section out of the clip, you’re seemingly out of luck. For any tasks more than trimming the start or finish of a video, it seems your only option is to fire up iMovie and deal with an entire editing program for a simple cut. As it turns out, QuickTime does have additional editing tools that can save you a trip to iMovie, or something more complex like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. I had no idea, until I stumbled upon this Reddit post on r/MacOS.

To start, open your video in QuickTime, then queue up the video to the spot where you’d like to make your first cut, and hit Command + Y. QuickTime will load, then reload the timeline, now with two clips: The first leading up to the cut, and the second showing everything after. Now, let the video play until you’re ready to make the next cut, then hit Command + Y again.

If done right, you successfully separated one part of the video from the others. You can now click and drag this clip to another part of the timeline, say if you’d rather it appear first, or more towards the end of the video. If you double-click a clip, you can activate a trimming tool for that clip alone.

Of course, the number one use-case for this type of tool will likely be for deleting these types of clips, and that’s easy, too. Click on a clip to select it, and, making sure no other clips are selected as well, hit Delete. The clip will disappear from the timeline, leaving you free to hit “Done” and save the video with your edits.

There’s more you can do with these clips, too. Highlight one, then hit “Edit” in the menu bar to find options like rotating left or right, flipping horizontally or vertically, removing the clip’s audio or video (without affected the rest of the clips in the video), and the ability to add a new clip after the current selection. That last one is super useful, since it allows you to combine multiple videos together into one.

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