How to Trim a Video

how to trim videos captions

When you make a video, you are constantly competing for people’s attention. Trimming the beginning or end of a video can help your video get the attention it deserves. 

Once you get people interested, the next goal is to keep them watching. Keeping the attention of your viewers is vital, and you can do this by cutting unnecessary content with the trimming tool.

Trimming is a fundamental element of editing. Trimming usually refers to taking off either part of the beginning or end of a video clip. Sometimes this is referred to as trimming the top or tail (beginning or end).

Why Trim Videos

Trimming is critical to making sure that your video starts quickly and you don’t lose your audience’s attention. 

The first five seconds of a video are where you draw your viewers in and convince them to stick around for everything you have to say. Strategic video trimming helps you cut out everything unnecessary, leaving just the content your audience desires.

If you’re following best practices when recording your video, you probably have the camera running before the action starts. Starting your audio and video recording before the action ensures you don’t miss any part of the shot that you’ll need later. It’s also an opportunity to add a sound that allows you to sync your audio and video when editing.

trim video clap board

How is trimming different from splitting and cropping?

As we discussed above, trimming usually refers to taking off either part of the beginning or end of a video clip. Of course, there are other ways to edit your video beyond simply trimming the beginning and the end. Splitting and cropping are two common techniques.

Splitting cuts a video clip into two parts. This editing trick comes in handy when you have a long video or need to place a transition between two sections. You can split the clips and work with them separately. This often makes editing a large video easier, as you don’t have to work with a single, huge clip.

Cropping involves removing excess pixels around the edge of a photo or video. Crop mode is non-destructive which means you can “un-crop” your video if you don’t like the changes you made. 

Trimming, cropping and splitting are great techniques to have in your video editing tool belt.

How to trim videos (2 ways to quickly trim a video)

Depending on the tool you use, the exact steps you follow to trim a video can be slightly different. However, the concepts are the same.

For this first example, I’ll use Snagit

Use the Snagit Video Trimmer

Download a free trial of Snagit and get started today!


Option 1: Trimming a video using Snagit

Snagit is one of the easiest ways to quickly trim the beginning and end of a video clip. The four steps below demonstrate this simple process. 

Step 1: Record or open a video in Snagit

If you’re capturing a screen recording, your video will automatically open in the editor when you’re finished. If you’re editing an existing recording, open the file in the Snagit editor in either your Mac or Windows computer.

Step 2: Select a portion of video to trim

Use the playhead in and out points to select the portion of the clip you’d like to trim.

trim video cancel cut

Step 3: Click cut to remove the selected portion

Click the cut, or trim, button to remove the selected portion of the video. Snagit adds a small yellow mark in the timeline to indicate where a portion of the video was cut.

Continue to select a portion of your video until you have the video content you need.

Note: In some other programs you can use Delete, which will remove the portion entirely.

trim video select cut

Step 4: Save your trimmed video

Save your newly trimmed clip. If you want to preserve your original clip, use the “Save as” option and save the new clip under a new file name that is different from the original.

trim video save as

Option 2: Trimming a video using Camtasia

You can also use a video editor like Camtasia to trim videos on your Mac or Windows computer. 

Camtasia, and some other video editors, make trimming video clips incredibly easy.

Unlike Snagit, the video cutter in Camtasia allows you to trim the video and audio files separately.

The simplest way to trim a video clip is to hover over the edge of a clip which will cause the trimming cursor to appear. 

Download a free trial of Camtasia!

Download a free trial of Camtasia and get started today!


Here’s a more detailed way on how to trim a video.

Step 1: Import or record a video and add it to the timeline

Add your video to your video editor and then click and drag it to your timeline. If you recorded your video in Camtasia, it will be added to the clip bin automatically and you can drag it to the timeline.

Step 2: Use editing tools to trim your clip

There are two methods for trimming in Camtasia:

A. In the editor, use the green and red playhead handles to select the portion of the clip you want to trim. 

trim video red green playhead screenshot

Click the cut button to remove the selection.

trim video cut clip screenshot

Cut will remove the clip, but save it to your clipboard so you can paste it somewhere else if you wish.

Then click and drag the end of the clip to the point that you want to trim. If you trim too much, no worries. Editing in Camtasia is non-destructive so you can always click and drag the end of the clip back out.

B. The second method is to split and then trim a clip.

To do this, move the playhead to the location from which you want to trim content.

Then click the Split button to slice the clip in two.

Now you can delete the part you no longer need, or keep the clips and trim each. 

If you’d like to learn more about trimming, splitting, and other video editing techniques checkout our Editing In-Depth tutorial video.

Want to continue growing your skills?

Trimming is just one way to enhance or edit your videos. Learn more about video editing and creation below!

Learn how to merge your video content

How to get perfect lighting for your video

Matt Pierce

Matt Pierce is a Learning & Video Ambassador at TechSmith. In this role speaks and teaches about video creation and visual communication. A graduate of Indiana University he has ten years of experience working in learning and development with a focus on visual instruction. He has directly managed the training, user assistance, video, and other teams for TechSmith. Teach him something @piercemr

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