How to trim a video: 4 easy methods for beginners

Trimming your video is the first step to tightening up your content. Learn 4 quick and easy video trimming methods for beginners in this guide.
January 17, 2024
Lara Unnerstall
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Matt D., Copywriter
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Editing is an essential, often overlooked, tragically unloved part of the creative process. That’s true of writing, of audio, and yes, of video too,

Unless you can reliably open your mouth and emit a string of perfect sentences, with background music and b-roll projected from your eye sockets, you need to edit your online video before you publish it.

That goes for vlogs and documentary-style videos, but also for tutorials and short social videos. At the very least, every video needs to be trimmed. 

Trimming the beginning and the end of your video helps keep it to a length that won’t repel viewers (and nixes the dreaded Millennial pause). If you really force yourself to cut all but the very best parts, it also leaves you with tighter, more compelling content.

How to trim a video: 4 quick methods

How to trim a video with Descript

Step 1: Upload your video file

First, open your video project in the Descript app. If you’re importing a new file, you can upload from your computer or drag it into your project.

Image of Descript dashboard before uploading video file.
Upload your video file into Descript’s editor easily.

Step 2: Transcribe your video file into text

When you drag and drop the file, Descript will prompt you to transcribe the file and assign speaker names.

Image of transcript auto generated by Descript from video file
Descript will automatically create a transcript from your video file

If there’s more than one speaker, Descript will detect them and add Speaker Labels in the transcript. Once the video is transcribed, you’re ready to start trimming.

💡PRO TIP: Remove filler words in seconds to make your speakers sound more polished. With Descript, you can easily remove “ums,” “uhs,” and dozens of other filler words with a click. 

 

Image of Descript’s filler word removal tool

Step 3: Highlight the words you want to cut

When you do, Descript will highlight the corresponding video in the timeline below.

Cut it just like you would in a doc: command+C, or right click and choose Cut, or tap your backspace key to delete text.

Trimming a video with Descripts video trimming tool
Trim your video by editing a transcript that Descript generates 

Descript will edit it out of the transcript and the corresponding video, and automatically save your work.

That’s really all you need to know to cut your original video down to a manageable length. Depending on where you’re posting it and the level of polish you want, you may also want to add fades, filters, b-roll, or effects to smooth over your cuts and liven up your story. You can even adjust the aspect ratio if you’re creating a TikTok video and need to change the video format.

💡PRO TIP: Toggle on Studio Sound to improve your videos audio quality. Sound Sound removes background noise and enhances speech, so you can produce studio-quality sound without the studio.

Toggling on Studio Sound by Descript

Step 4: Share video on website or social media 

Once you're done editing, publish your new video to your website or social media. 

With Descript, you can publish videos up to 4K (on paid plans) directly to your YouTube channel. Add your YouTube video title, thumbnail, description, category, tags, and access from your dashboard.

Uploading video from Descript to YouTube.

You can also make basic cuts the same way you do in other editing tools, using Descript’s Trim Tool. 

Hover your cursor over the pinned track at the bottom of your Script Editor until you see the edit boundary pop up. It’ll look like a small bracket with two arrows on either side of it:

Trimming videos with Descript’s video trimming tool
Cut videos with Descript’s video trimmer

How to trim a video in Windows

The easiest way to trim a video on Windows is using Clipchamp, which is built-in to Windows 11. If you have Windows 10, you’ll need to download Clipchamp onto your computer.

Clipchamp offers simple video editing tools that make it easy to trim content quickly, even if you have no experience. Here’s how it works. 

Step 1. Open the Clipchamp and choose the video you want to edit from your computer.

Creating a new video to trim in Clipchamp

Step 2. Click the Add to timeline button or drag and drop your video into the timeline.

Selecting the Add to timeline option in Clipchamp

Step 3. Click the timeline to highlight your video. Then, drag the green handles in to trim.

Step 4. Once you're finished, export the video in 1080p. You can also export it as a GIF if its under 15 seconds long. 

How to trim a video on Mac

Trimming a video on an Apple Mac computer is simple using its native tool, QuickTime Player. Here’s how it works:

Step 1. Open the QuickTime Player app on your Mac and upload the video you want to trim.

Step 2. Then, choose Edit and select the Trim option.

Choosing the Trim option in QuickTime Player

Step 3. You’ll notice a yellow trimming bar pop up at the bottom of your video. Drag the handles in the trimming bar. The areas outside of the yellow handles will be trimmed.

Video with yellow trim bar in QuickTime Player.

Step 4. Once you find the perfect length, click the Trim button. 

How to trim a video on mobile (Android & iPhone)

The trim features on Android and iPhone work similarly to desktop trimmers, in which you tap and hold the trim bar and select the video portion you want to keep. 

Getting to the trim tool may look a little different depending on your device, but the concept is the same.

Android:

  1. Open the video you want to edit.
  2. Tap the Edit button. 
  3. Adjust the trim bar.

The trim bar on Android phones are thick, white bars at the beginning and end of your video. Just move the vertical lines to fine tune and get the video to your desired length. 

Image of trim bar on Android phone

iPhone:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap the video you want to edit.
  3. Move the sliders on both sides of the video timeline. 
  4. Preview your video by pressing the play button. 
Image of user cropping a video on iPhone

There are many video editing apps available for iOS and Android devices if you need more advanced features. Some popular ones include Video Cutter, CapCut, and FilmoraGo. You can download them in the App Store or Google Play Store.

The difference between trimming, cropping, and splitting

Here are some final thoughts on the difference between trimming a video, cropping a video, and splitting a video. They can function as different aspects in Descript’s free video editing software as well.

Trimming is the act of cutting off the beginning and the end of the video clip to make the intro and exit quicker-paced. It increases your chances of keeping your audience engaged. 

Cropping a video is the act of removing the black bars or unwanted edges around the edge of your video so that you can zoom in on the clip itself. It’s a visual edit rather than a pacing edit.

Finally, splitting is the editing process you take to cut your video clip into parts. It’s useful when you want to insert an extended, more complicated transition between two sections. It's also helpful when you’re editing a large video clip, and you want to break that clip into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Take a free tour today and see why thousands of marketers rely on Descript to create world-class marketing videos. 

How to trim videos FAQ

How do I shorten the length of a video?

With video editing software, you can select and remove sections of a video to reduce its length. This usually involves dragging the edges of the video timeline to set new start and end points.

How do I cut out part of a video?

To cut out parts of your video, use a video editor to select the specific segment you want to remove. Then, delete or trim it out. To do this, set markers on the video timeline to isolate the section before cutting.

What’s the best tool to trim videos?

Descript is considered one of the best tools for trimming videos. With a user-friendly interface and transcription-based editing, you can easily trim videos by editing text. Or, you can trim them by adjusting the markers in your video timeline. 

Lara Unnerstall
Former Video Producer at Descript. Filmmaker, writer, and dog weirdo.
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How to trim a video: 4 easy methods for beginners

Camara Kit

Editing is an essential, often overlooked, tragically unloved part of the creative process. That’s true of writing, of audio, and yes, of video too,

Unless you can reliably open your mouth and emit a string of perfect sentences, with background music and b-roll projected from your eye sockets, you need to edit your online video before you publish it.

That goes for vlogs and documentary-style videos, but also for tutorials and short social videos. At the very least, every video needs to be trimmed. 

Trimming the beginning and the end of your video helps keep it to a length that won’t repel viewers (and nixes the dreaded Millennial pause). If you really force yourself to cut all but the very best parts, it also leaves you with tighter, more compelling content.

An audio/video editor that includes transcription, screen recording, and publishing.
Check out our useful, powerful tools.

How to trim a video: 4 quick methods

How to trim a video with Descript

Step 1: Upload your video file

First, open your video project in the Descript app. If you’re importing a new file, you can upload from your computer or drag it into your project.

Image of Descript dashboard before uploading video file.
Upload your video file into Descript’s editor easily.

Step 2: Transcribe your video file into text

When you drag and drop the file, Descript will prompt you to transcribe the file and assign speaker names.

Image of transcript auto generated by Descript from video file
Descript will automatically create a transcript from your video file

If there’s more than one speaker, Descript will detect them and add Speaker Labels in the transcript. Once the video is transcribed, you’re ready to start trimming.

💡PRO TIP: Remove filler words in seconds to make your speakers sound more polished. With Descript, you can easily remove “ums,” “uhs,” and dozens of other filler words with a click. 

 

Image of Descript’s filler word removal tool

Step 3: Highlight the words you want to cut

When you do, Descript will highlight the corresponding video in the timeline below.

Cut it just like you would in a doc: command+C, or right click and choose Cut, or tap your backspace key to delete text.

Trimming a video with Descripts video trimming tool
Trim your video by editing a transcript that Descript generates 

Descript will edit it out of the transcript and the corresponding video, and automatically save your work.

That’s really all you need to know to cut your original video down to a manageable length. Depending on where you’re posting it and the level of polish you want, you may also want to add fades, filters, b-roll, or effects to smooth over your cuts and liven up your story. You can even adjust the aspect ratio if you’re creating a TikTok video and need to change the video format.

💡PRO TIP: Toggle on Studio Sound to improve your videos audio quality. Sound Sound removes background noise and enhances speech, so you can produce studio-quality sound without the studio.

Toggling on Studio Sound by Descript

Step 4: Share video on website or social media 

Once you're done editing, publish your new video to your website or social media. 

With Descript, you can publish videos up to 4K (on paid plans) directly to your YouTube channel. Add your YouTube video title, thumbnail, description, category, tags, and access from your dashboard.

Uploading video from Descript to YouTube.

You can also make basic cuts the same way you do in other editing tools, using Descript’s Trim Tool. 

Hover your cursor over the pinned track at the bottom of your Script Editor until you see the edit boundary pop up. It’ll look like a small bracket with two arrows on either side of it:

Trimming videos with Descript’s video trimming tool
Cut videos with Descript’s video trimmer

How to trim a video in Windows

The easiest way to trim a video on Windows is using Clipchamp, which is built-in to Windows 11. If you have Windows 10, you’ll need to download Clipchamp onto your computer.

Clipchamp offers simple video editing tools that make it easy to trim content quickly, even if you have no experience. Here’s how it works. 

Step 1. Open the Clipchamp and choose the video you want to edit from your computer.

Creating a new video to trim in Clipchamp

Step 2. Click the Add to timeline button or drag and drop your video into the timeline.

Selecting the Add to timeline option in Clipchamp

Step 3. Click the timeline to highlight your video. Then, drag the green handles in to trim.

Step 4. Once you're finished, export the video in 1080p. You can also export it as a GIF if its under 15 seconds long. 

How to trim a video on Mac

Trimming a video on an Apple Mac computer is simple using its native tool, QuickTime Player. Here’s how it works:

Step 1. Open the QuickTime Player app on your Mac and upload the video you want to trim.

Step 2. Then, choose Edit and select the Trim option.

Choosing the Trim option in QuickTime Player

Step 3. You’ll notice a yellow trimming bar pop up at the bottom of your video. Drag the handles in the trimming bar. The areas outside of the yellow handles will be trimmed.

Video with yellow trim bar in QuickTime Player.

Step 4. Once you find the perfect length, click the Trim button. 

How to trim a video on mobile (Android & iPhone)

The trim features on Android and iPhone work similarly to desktop trimmers, in which you tap and hold the trim bar and select the video portion you want to keep. 

Getting to the trim tool may look a little different depending on your device, but the concept is the same.

Android:

  1. Open the video you want to edit.
  2. Tap the Edit button. 
  3. Adjust the trim bar.

The trim bar on Android phones are thick, white bars at the beginning and end of your video. Just move the vertical lines to fine tune and get the video to your desired length. 

Image of trim bar on Android phone

iPhone:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap the video you want to edit.
  3. Move the sliders on both sides of the video timeline. 
  4. Preview your video by pressing the play button. 
Image of user cropping a video on iPhone

There are many video editing apps available for iOS and Android devices if you need more advanced features. Some popular ones include Video Cutter, CapCut, and FilmoraGo. You can download them in the App Store or Google Play Store.

The difference between trimming, cropping, and splitting

Here are some final thoughts on the difference between trimming a video, cropping a video, and splitting a video. They can function as different aspects in Descript’s free video editing software as well.

Trimming is the act of cutting off the beginning and the end of the video clip to make the intro and exit quicker-paced. It increases your chances of keeping your audience engaged. 

Cropping a video is the act of removing the black bars or unwanted edges around the edge of your video so that you can zoom in on the clip itself. It’s a visual edit rather than a pacing edit.

Finally, splitting is the editing process you take to cut your video clip into parts. It’s useful when you want to insert an extended, more complicated transition between two sections. It's also helpful when you’re editing a large video clip, and you want to break that clip into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Take a free tour today and see why thousands of marketers rely on Descript to create world-class marketing videos. 

How to trim videos FAQ

How do I shorten the length of a video?

With video editing software, you can select and remove sections of a video to reduce its length. This usually involves dragging the edges of the video timeline to set new start and end points.

How do I cut out part of a video?

To cut out parts of your video, use a video editor to select the specific segment you want to remove. Then, delete or trim it out. To do this, set markers on the video timeline to isolate the section before cutting.

What’s the best tool to trim videos?

Descript is considered one of the best tools for trimming videos. With a user-friendly interface and transcription-based editing, you can easily trim videos by editing text. Or, you can trim them by adjusting the markers in your video timeline. 

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