Ripple, Roll, Slip & Slide: Editing Tips for Video Storytellers

Apr
4
2012
Faculty

Editing video is a process of refinement.

Like sculptors, we begin with a block of raw material. It resembles what we hope to create, but only in essence. Slowly but surely, we chisel away, discarding large chunks at first, then smaller ones. Eventually, we’re happy with the rough form. It’s time to use precision tools to fine-tune our creations.

For video editors, these are a set of four trimming tools found in most major editing platforms: ripple, roll, slip and slide. These tools adjust clips’ in points (when they start playing) out points (when they stop) and their positions in the timeline, giving the editor fine-grained control over the sequence.

Let’s take a look at each…

1. Ripple Edit

What it does: Changes a clip’s in or out point, lengthening or shortening the clip and making the entire sequence longer or shorter.

When to use it: You want to make a clip longer or shorter, but you don’t want to affect any other clips, and you don’t mind if the overall sequence gets shorter or longer. If it isn’t critical to keep your overall sequence length unchanged, the ripple edit is a good first option because it allows clips to be edited one-by-one.

2. Roll Edit

What it does: Changes a clip’s out point and an adjacent clip’s in point simultaneously. The lengths of both clips change, but in equal proportion. The overall length of the sequence stays the same.

When to use it: You don’t want to change the overall sequence length, but you do want to change a clip’s in or out point, and you don’t mind if an adjacent clip is affected.

3. Slip Edit

What it does: Changes a clip’s in and out points, but in the same direction and by the same degree.

When to use it: You want to change the particular portion of a clip included in the final edit, but you don’t want to affect any other clips or the sequence length.

4. Slide Edit

What it does: Changes the position of a clip in the timeline without affecting the length of the clip. One adjacent clip becomes longer and the other proportionally shorter to account for the slide.

When to use it: You want to change when a clip starts, and you don’t mind adjusting adjacent clips’ lengths to do so.

Comparing Common Trimming Tools
Change Sequence Length Change Target Clip’s Length Change Target Clip’s In/Out Point Change Other Clips’ In/Out Points
Ripple Edit Yes Yes In or Out No
Roll Edit No Yes In or Out In or Out
Slip Edit No No In or Out No
Slide Edit No* No No In or Out

*A slide edit does change the sequence length when the clip being slid is the last one and it’s moved to earlier in the timeline.