Using the Roll Tool to Change Where a Cut Occurs

A roll edit adjusts the Out point and In point of two adjacent clips simultaneously. If you like where two clips are placed in the Timeline, but you want to change when the cut point happens, you can use the Roll tool. No clips move in the Timeline as a result; only the edit point between the two clips moves. This is a two-sided edit, meaning that two clips’ edit points are affected simultaneously: the first clip’s Out point and the next clip’s In point are both adjusted by a roll edit. However, no other clips in the sequence are affected.

Note: When you perform a roll edit, the overall duration of the sequence stays the same, but both clips change duration. One gets longer while the other gets shorter to compensate. This means that you don’t have to worry about causing sync problems between linked clip items on different tracks.

Using the Roll tool, you move the Out point of the outgoing clip and the In point of the incoming clip simultaneously.

Figure. Diagram showing a roll edit in which an edit point is moved to the left, shortening the outgoing clip and lengthening the incoming clip.

In the example above, clip B gets shorter while clip C becomes longer, but the combined duration of the two clips stays the same.

Figure. Rool tool in the Tool palette.

Roll edits are useful when the relative Timeline position of two clips is good, but you want to change when the edit point occurs between them. For example, suppose your sequence has two clips showing an Olympic diver diving into a pool from two different angles. The first thing you need to do is adjust each clip until their edit points align on a similar action. This is called matching on action, or a match cut. You could align the edit point in the Timeline so that when the diver hits the water in one camera angle, the diver is also hitting the water in the second angle. Once you have a cut point with matching action, you can roll the edit point earlier or later to change when the edit occurs. For example, you could roll the edit to the point where the diver is midway between the diving board and the water.

Tips for Using the Roll Tool

There are a few tips for using the Roll tool:

  • If you can’t drag any further while rolling an edit, you have reached the end of the media on one of the two clips. Final Cut Pro displays a Media Limit message in this case.

  • With the Roll tool selected, hold down the Shift key to switch temporarily to the Ripple tool.

  • While dragging, press the Command key to “gear down” and make a more precise edit.

Rolling Edit Points in the Timeline

The easiest place to see how a roll edit affects your clips is the Timeline.

To do a roll edit in the Timeline
  1. Select the Roll tool in the Tool palette (or press the R key).

  2. Select an edit point between two clips.

    If linked selection is on, the edit points of linked items are also selected. For more information, see Controls That Affect Trim Edits.

    Figure. Timeline window showing a selected edit point.
  3. Do one of the following:

    • Drag the edit point left or right.

      As you drag, the Canvas shows a two-up display with the Out point of the outgoing clip on the left and the In point of the incoming clip on the right (see also About the Two-Up Display in the Canvas).

      Figure. Canvas window showing a two-up display of the Out point of the outgoing clip and the In point of the incoming clip.
    • Type a plus sign (+) or a minus sign (-) followed by the number of frames to add or subtract from the current edit, then press Return.

      Figure. Timeline window showing an edit point being rolled.
      Figure. Timeline window showing that the outgoing clip is shorter and the incoming clip is longer after a roll edit.
To roll edit points on multiple tracks simultaneously
  1. Do one of the following:

    • Press the Command key while clicking to select multiple edit points.

    • Select the Edit Selection tool in the Tool palette (or press the G key), then drag to select multiple edit points.

      Figure. Timeline window showing edit points selected in multiple video and audio tracks.
  2. Use the Roll tool to perform the roll edit across all of the tracks.

    Figure. Timeline window showing edit points being dragged in multiple tracks with the Roll tool.
    Figure. Timeline window showing the new position of edit points in multiple tracks after a roll edit.

Doing Roll Edits in the Viewer

Final Cut Pro allows you to perform roll edits in the Viewer by setting In or Out points while the Roll tool is selected.

To do a roll edit in the Viewer
  1. Open a sequence clip in the Viewer.

  2. Select the Roll tool in the Tool palette (or press the R key).

  3. Do one of the following:

    • Drag the In or Out point along the Viewer’s scrubber bar to roll the edit.

    • Press I or O to set a new In or Out point.

Look in the Timeline to make sure the roll edit did what you expected.