In this Premiere Pro video tutorial, check out how to cut an entire sequence to the beat of a soundtrack in only a matter of seconds.

Top image via Peter McKinnon.

If you’ve seen any YouTube video, commercial, or travel video in the past few years, you’ve most likely seen a video cut to the beat of a song. This style of editing is a perfect way to enliven your video with some rhythm and style. Cutting to the beat isn’t hard at all, and it can be a practical asset for any editor. If you’re in the business of editing videos in a hurry every day, the faster edit the better.

Here’s a brilliant trick that saves time when you’re cutting to a beat.


This technique is particularly helpful when you have a group of clips in a folder. In this particular example, Peter McKinnon is working with B-roll footage. So if you’re using B-roll and need to cut to different shots, this method will work wonders. Just make sure you have all your clips organized first.


Set Your Shortcut

Editing to a Beat? This Keyboard Shortcut Changes Everything — Set Shortcut

First things first: make sure your keyboard shortcut for M is set to Add Marker. To do this, go to Premiere Pro up in the toolbar and hit Keyboard Shortcuts. Then simply drag and drop onto the desired key (in this example, Peter uses M).

Once you’ve found the right track and have placed it on your timeline, let the song play. As you listen to the song, hit M (or whichever key you’ve assigned the Add Marker shortcut to) as the beat hits.

Place Your Markers

Editing to a Beat? This Keyboard Shortcut Changes Everything — Place Marker

Hitting the exact marker can be somewhat difficult at first, so it might take you a few tries to nail the cuts exactly the way you want. Rely on the bass line to stay oriented in the song.

Next, select all the clips you wish to use, hit Shift then choose the last clip. Once you’ve done this, hit Clip > Automate to Sequence, then make sure the Placement is At Unnumbered Markers, then hit Okay.

Add the Clips

Editing to a Beat? This Keyboard Shortcut Changes Everything — Add Clips

This will drop your selected clips into your timeline where you’ve placed the markers throughout the track. As you can see, if you’re working with a lot of footage for a long project, using already-edited footage will save you massive amounts of time on your next video.


Could this technique improve your workflow? Let us know what you think in the comments.