Video Editing Terms to Know: Slip vs. Slide

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This article explains the difference between the video editing terms of slip and slide. You’ll also learn how to perform slip and slide in common video editing programs such as Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer.

Slip vs. Slide Video Editing — An Overview

Slip and slide are common video editing terms. These refer to different actions to take on a clip in a timeline. Let’s discuss what these mean.

What is a Slip?

To slip, or “slip a clip”, means to keep the clip in its place in the timeline but move the footage inside the clip either forward or backwards.

Imagine you have a 8 second piece of footage. You edit the first 5 seconds of it into the timeline. There are still 3 more seconds of the clip that could be used. You can keep that clip in its place in the timeline and slip it another 3 seconds so that the final 5 seconds of the clip are used. The total duration of the clip stays exactly the same when you slip it.

Imagine you are walking down the sidewalk on an icy day. And you slip and land on your bottom. You didn’t advance forward or move backwards. You slipped and stayed in place. Your state changed — standing to sitting (and ticked off). But you remained in place. You are the footage in this instance.

What is a Slide?

Similar to a slip, with a slide the total duration of your clip will not change. The difference is that 1) the actual footage does not change and 2) the placement of the clip in the timeline does.

When you perform a slide when video editing you are taking the clip in its current state and moving it forward or backward down the timeline.

Let’s go back to our icy sidewalk analogy. This time instead of falling down, you do your best Tom Cruise in Risky Business impression. Walking down the sidewalk you decide to push your momentum forward leaving your feet planted on the icy and you slideeeee. Your status didn’t change — you didn’t leave your feet. You slid down the sidewalk. You are the footage once again.

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Slip and Slide in Common Video Editing Programs

You can perform slip and slide in pretty much every video editing program (probably all of them — I just haven’t used absolutely everything though). Below details how to do this in Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer.

Slip Tool and Slide Tool in Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro has two specific tools to do this job. They are aptly named the “Slip Tool” and “Slide Tool”.

Slip Tool in PPro

To activate the Slip Tool in Premiere Pro hit the Y key. It can also be found in the Tools panel (see image). Next, click on the clip you want to slip and with the cursor still pressed down move the mouse left or right to slip it backwards or forwards. With the cursor held down, you can actually see the new first and last frames in the Program panel being displayed. Notice the clip does not move location on the timeline.

Slip Tool and Slide Tool in Premiere Pro Tools panel
Slip and Slide Tools
Premiere Pro clip in timeline using slip video editing
Click the clip and move left or right to adjust the Slip. Notice the Program monitor shows the new starting and ending frames.

Slide Tool in PPro

The Slide Tool is located under the Slip Tool in the Tools panel. Click and hold on the Slip Tool and choose the Slide Tool. The keyboard shortcut is the U key to activate it.

Next, click on a clip in the timeline. Move it to the left or to the right with the mouse held down. The footage of the clip doesn’t change but the location does. If there are clips adjacent to the clip you are moving, they will expand or shrink as you move the clip as long as there is footage to do so. If you just want to move a clip down the timeline and you don’t care if the adjacent clips expand/shrink, then just use the regular Selection Tool and click and move a clip.

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Slip and Slide Video Editing in Avid Media Composer

In Avid Media Composer, slipping and sliding is done in Trim Mode.

Slipping in Avid MC

To enter the Slip Trim Mode, hold down the Opt/Alt key and lasso the clip backwards (from right to left). You can click one of the rollers and pull left or right. Or use the keyboard shortcuts M, coma, period, and slash (/) to slip the clip. Check out this lesson from Mastering Avid Media Composer’s Keyboard Shortcuts series for finer details on these shortcuts (skip down to the “Slipping Keyboard Shortcuts in Avid” section).

Clip in Avid Media Composer with Slip Trim Mode activated
What your rollers should look like in Slip Trim Mode

You actually don’t need to be in Trim Mode to do a Slip in Avid Media Composer but it is super dangerous IMO. The M, coma, period, and slash (/) keys will still work and slip whatever tracks are active where the time position indicator is in the timeline when pressed. You need to be very careful not to hit these keys on accident.

When I was starting in Avid I’d hit these keys often on accident and not realize it and it would constantly knock my clips out of sync and I wouldn’t realize it until much later. I often do this now after spending a lot of time in Premiere where the period and coma keys are used to do Overwrite and Insert Edits.

Sliding in Avid MC

To enter Slide Trim Mode in Avid Media Composer hold down the Opt/Alt key and the Shift key and lasso the clip backwards (from right to left). Click one of the rollers and pull left or right to slide the clip. Or use the M, coma, period, and slash (/) keyboard shortcuts as discussed above.

Shoutout to DC Reels and rfitts on Twitter for helping me out with this shortcut.

Clip in Avid Media Composer with Slide Trim Mode activated
What your rollers should look like in Slide Trim Mode

If you now know what slip and slide editing is and how to use them in common video editing programs, I hope you stick around and check out some of the other tutorials on my website or consider signing up to get notified about new blog posts and happenings around EVF.

– Josh

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