Deleting a Clip in One Step

Back in the old ABVB days, if you wanted to delete a clip you simply selected it in segment mode and hit the delete key. But Meridien changed that. If a clip contained effects, (or, in the case of an audio clip, if it contained volume graphs), then selecting and deleting only deleted the effects. You had to re-select the clip (or clips) and hit delete again to make it disappear. The re-selection turned out to be a pain, especially if you were trying to delete several clips at once.

Well, it turns out that the Media Composer does indeed offer a shortcut for single-step clip deletion. It’s the ordinary cut command (command-x on the Mac, ctrl-x on the PC) — but with segment mode turned on. To delete a clip in one step, hit red segment mode, click the clip and then hit cmd-x. The clip goes away. (This is different from hitting cut when segment mode isn’t on. In that case you’ll cut everything between your marks.)

A couple of additional tips:

  • The cut command obeys the segment mode you’re in. If you’re in extract/splice-in (yellow) the clips are extracted. If you’re in lift/overwrite (red), they’re lifted.
  • You can use this command to delete a range of clips without selecting them all. Click the first and last clips in a group and hit cmd-x and the clips will disappear along with everything in between.
  • The material you cut goes to the clipboard. So if you want to put it somewhere else just load clipboard contents into the source monitor (with the clipboard button or the pull-down menu above the source monitor) and edit as needed.
  • Since the material goes to the clipboard, it’ll obey the paste command (command-v), inserting it at the current cursor position. If you prefer an overwrite, then select lift/overwrite segment mode first.

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16 Comments on “Deleting a Clip in One Step”

  1. ronsuss Says:

    still extra steps compared to highlighting or clicking on clip in FCP and hitting delete. why does Avid make you select a button first.

  2. Steve Says:

    Because “segment mode” is not turned on all the time. That makes for a lot of flexibility and prevents you from making mistakes. Selecting the button also gives you a choice between a lift and an extract. How would you make that distinction in FCP?

  3. Shane Ross Says:

    Ahhh…thank you. I knew there had to be SOME way. Tired of pressing delete 2 or 3 times.

    I also made a quick key to get me into segment mode so that helps.

  4. Steve Says:

    You don’t need a quick key — just drag the segment mode buttons from the command palette to your keyboard. Maybe that’s what you mean. Either way, I couldn’t live without it.

  5. Judith Allen Says:

    …. but will it work on multiple clips in different tracks across the timeline – deleting those selected and preserving those inbetween and on the same track but not selected?

    If so, woohoo! I’ve needed that for ages. Often wondered if there could be a function for Avid to re-highlight the segments it had just performed an action on (or indeed, not removing the highlighting – all you have to do is click somewhere else), but this is just as good. Or better.

  6. Ben Says:

    Thanks for this, it’s one of those things that drives me nuts in MC, particularly if I’ve got multiple clips selected.
    I have F8/F9 mapped as the two segment modes, so once I’ve got the clips selected, I should be able to do the rest with the keyboard.

  7. Steve Says:

    Judith — to clarify, if you select two clips in the same track that are separated by other clips, and you don’t select the clips in between, when you hit command-x all clips, including the ones in between will be lifted or extracted.

    And responding to Ben — yes, it would be great if the selection stayed on after you hit delete the first time — that would get Judith what she’s looking for and save all of us a lot of clicks reselecting things. Or, as you say, a shortcut to “re-select last selection” would be very handy.

  8. Martin Baker Says:

    > Selecting the button also gives you a choice between a lift and an extract. How would you make that distinction in FCP?

    With the Shift or Command key – Command-X cuts the selection to clipboard and leaves a gap, Shift-X cuts the selection to clipboard and closes the gap.

  9. ronsuss Says:

    the delete key by the qwerty keys lifts in FCP and the little delete key next to the end key extracts in FCP. its that easy. segment mode is an uneccesary step with an interactive timeline like FCP has. I am not putting down Avid, I have been working on Avid since the last official beta release in 1989. FCP just has more flexibility in the timeline that allows me to work faster and be more creative. I always feel like I am working with an anchor around my neck when I have to cut on an Avid. just my opinion!

  10. Lu Nelson Says:

    emm yeah I have to agree FCP is a little more fluid on that point —
    it’s basically the shift key that does it, whether cutting, pasting or deleting (shift-X, shift-V, shift-DEL resp.). These are what FCP calls “Ripple” actions — Ripple Cut, Ripple Paste, Ripple Delete and what Avid would call Extract/Insert edits. The normal versions of these in FCP are Command-X, Command-V, and simply DELETE; they operate like what Avid calls Lift/Overwrite mode.
    FCP is able to use both quite fluidly without requiring a second mode; but the catch is that you have to pay attention to whether you have a clip or clips selected. FCP will always operate on a selected clip or clips before it looks at the marks you set, so you end up having to make a habit of using the Deselect command a lot (normally Command-Shift-A) if you are wanting to lift/extract/cut/insert/delete/whatever based on marks.


  11. with command-x you will loose sync!
    better use T to markin-out segment and X.

  12. Steve Says:

    That seems to be the tradeoff. The MC offers most of the same shortcuts, though they aren’t always as consistent as in FCP. In FCP you’re in ‘segment mode’ all the time and if you don’t want to be dragging clips around you have to turn it off. In MC you have to put yourself in that mode.

    In this regard, the difference between the programs is a matter of personal preference, based on the kind of material you are working on and how you like to cut. I don’t use segment mode nearly as much as trim mode. The flexibility of being able to trim any transition, drag any other along (in any direction) to keep sync, and, most important, being able to monitor or watch/listen to any transition — audio or video — while doing this, wins, for me.

  13. ronsuss Says:

    yes Steve you are right about the trim functions. Avid is and has always had great trim tools and FCP’s just suck. However, I have learned to get around the poor trim tools in FCP and approach my trimming like I used to when I was cutting film. After a while it stops being a problem and becomes just another way of working. Thanks for you website. I look forward to every new entry.

  14. jhaygood Says:

    The shortcomings of FCP trims are incomprehensible to me. ‘Nuff said on that. But I would LOVE to be able to turn clips on and off in the timeline in Avid like in FCP. That is a winner of a feature.

    I’ll check out these segment tips – see how they can be used.


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