Using the Focus and Cut tools when editing in Panopto

In a previous article, we covered Panopto streams and how multiple secondary sources (screens, document cameras/visualisers etc.) could all be captured. This article looks at editing those streams to control which your students see at any given time.

To edit your recording, click on the pencil icon in the top right when watching the video, or locate it in your list of recordings in Panopto, hover your mouse over it and select the Edit button that appears.

The Cut and Focus tools appear in the bar above your various streams.

Screenshot of Cut and Focus icons

They work in the same way but are the inverse of each other; the Cut tool cuts a section from a particular stream, while the Focus tool cuts the other streams and leaves the one you focus on intact. Anything cut is shown as a grey box in the streams. Note that these cuts are always reversible.

Screenshot of the streams in Edit view (P1, S1, S2, SL). At A, all streams are greyed out. At B, S2 is initally greyed out, then the grey section switches to S1, then back to S2 again; other streams are not greyed out. At C, S1 and S2 are both greyed out but not P1 or SL.

The image above shows various uses of the Cut and Focus tool across a number of streams. See the following text for a full explanation.

A – a cut to the whole recording

B – the focus tool has been used to switch the focus from the main screen (S1) to the visualiser (S2)

C – both the main screen and the visualiser are hidden; the main viewing window will display the slides

(Remember P1 is the Primary source stream, S1 and S2 are Secondary streams, and SL refers to the Slides. See Understanding Panopto streams for more information).

If you use the Cut tool in the Primary stream or the Slides stream, it will cut the entire recording; the viewer will simply skip past that whole section. You can see this by the fact that the grey box extends over all the streams (A). This is how you would normally edit a video to remove any mistakes or tidy up the start and end.

If the Cut tool is used in a Secondary video stream (S1 or S2 above), it will mean that stream is not displayed in the main viewing window and is not selectable from the icons underneath. That section of the stream is entirely hidden from students. However, the Primary stream will continue to play, and any Secondary streams that are not cut will either show in the main viewing window or be selectable from the icons underneath.

Screenshot showing secondary sources that students can select: Slides icon (students can choose to view this); Screen icon greyed out (students cannot view this); Camera icon highlighted (currently shown in main viewing window)

If all of the secondary video sources are cut, the main window will display the Slides (C).

When used on a Secondary stream, the Focus tool will only cut out other screens or cameras listed as secondary sources. It will not cut the Primary stream or the Slides. For example, if you wanted to switch from demonstrating something on your desktop to writing an equation on a piece of paper under a visualiser, you would record both of these streams and then edit the recording to focus on the visualiser stream while you were writing the equation. Your audio track (in the Primary stream) would keep running throughout (B).

Using the Focus tool on the Primary stream will have no effect unless you have added in a second Primary stream after recording (this would appear as P2). If you have two Primary streams, you can use the Focus tool to switch between them. Note only one Primary stream can be shown at a time. For advanced guidance on adding streams after recording, see Panopto’s help site.


The Slide stream works in a slightly different way from the others as it is not an audio or video stream. The slides are a sequence of still images. You can edit it by choosing ‘Slides’ from the menu on the left.

Screenshot of the slide editing pane

Each slide that appears in the recording will have a time stamp next to it. You can edit this time stamp if you want the slide to appear earlier or later, by clicking on the three vertical dots that appear next to the time stamp when you hover over it. Alternatively, you can delete the time stamp to remove that slide from the stream altogether. To add a slide back in, go to the point in your recording where you want it to be, and click on the plus sign of the slide you want to add. If you add the same slide in more than one place you will get multiple time stamps next to it.

You also have the option to upload a new PowerPoint presentation by clicking on ‘Add a presentation at the top. You can then include slides from that in the same way.


Photo by Mauríc Mascaro from Pexels