You’ve created a smashing video. The audio is great. Crisp and clear. The video quality is excellent. The topic you’ve chosen is one that you know your audience will love.
The only caveat? The video uploads with two very ugly black bars. Not only is it distracting for viewers, but it also doesn’t make your video feel and look professional. Not what you wanted.
So what do you do? You crop the video.
We’re living in a video-first world. For brands and content creators, this means making sure your video is of the absolute best quality it can be. Viewers love videos - but they’re not willing to watch low quality videos.
This post will teach you how cropping a video can amp up the quality of your video content and why it’s a crucial tool to have in today’s video-first world.
Without further ado, let's dive in.
What is the difference between crop, trim and slip?
But first, let’s discuss the three terms that are usually used in the video editing world interchangeably but are quite different- cropping, trimming, and slipping.
Cropping a video means you adjust the edges of a video clip or an image. It is when you resize the actual video on a canvas to perhaps remove any wanted parts or to make the video fit the desired ratio.
Suppose you made a video with your phone's camera with a ratio of 16:9 and now want to post it to Instagram. Since Instagram only allows 3:4, and 1:1 sized pictures and videos, you will have to crop the video to post it on Instagram.
Trimming a video refers to removing footage from the clip, either from the beginning or the end. This is most commonly done when you want the audience to focus on the important bits, so you remove the unnecessary parts.
Imagine you made a 10 minutes long video. Still, the relevant parts lie between 4 and 8 minutes, so you will trim the beginning and the end to make the video useful to you.
Slipping, on the other hand, is when you edit a clip such that the length of the video does not change, but you can move the footage inside your clip both forwards and backwards.
You have a 10-second video, but you only want to use 6 seconds of it. In that case, you can either use the first or last 6 seconds or any combination between 1 and 10 seconds - that is, moving your footage forwards and backwards.
However, the total duration of the clip will remain the same (6 seconds).
5 Easy Ways to Instantly Crop Your Video
No matter the device you use, cropping is one of the easiest video editing options. Here's how you can crop a video on different devices and software:
How to crop video with PlayPlay
Cropping a video with PlayPlay is super easy and barely takes any time. Discover how easily you can create professional videos with PlayPlay's platform, whether it's for Linkedin, Tiktok, Instagram or more. No more wondering, just use PlayPlay to crop videos, adjust them to your different platforms and bring your content to life.
Here’s how you can crop your video with PlayPlay.
- Open PlayPlay app.
- Add your video to the screen.
- Next, click on the Edit button.
- Click on Crop and select the area you’d like to crop in the video.
- Click Save and you’re done!
How to crop a video on Windows 10
On Windows 10 you need an external application to crop your video. Some easy (and free!) ways to crop your videos include.
Crop a video on PowerPoint
If you do not want to install a new app just for the sake of cropping your video, you can try to crop it with PowerPoint. It’s easy, has zero learning curve, and is super convenient.
- Launch the PowerPoint app on your Windows 10 device, and open a new presentation. On the first slide, insert the video you want to crop.
- Next, click on the video. From the options available, choose Format. You will now see a Crop function visible on the tool panel.
- Crop the video according to your preferences by dragging the crop handles.
- When you are pleased with how your video looks, save it. You can save the video by going to the File menu. From there, click on Export and choose the Create a Video option.
- You will then be prompted to choose the resolution and location of your file.
- Click on Create Video and your video is ready for use.
Crop a video on VLC
VLC media player is a pretty popular media player, owing to the fact that it is compatible with a wide range of devices and softwares.
Moreover, it is a free tool!
- Install the VLC media player if you don’t have it already. Once downloaded, launch the app.
- On the VLC app, open the video you want to crop. You can do this by clicking on Media and then hitting the “open file” button.
- Now that you have imported the video to the VLC media player, mark the areas you want to crop.
- You may also crop the intended areas by going to Tools, and then clicking on Effects and Filters. Then, tapping on Video Effects will lead you to the option to Crop.
- When you are satisfied with how your video looks, click on the Save button at the bottom right corner, and name it appropriately.
Crop a video on Windows Movie Maker
The Windows Movie Maker is an app built within the Windows for editing purposes. Likewise, it can also be used for cropping.
- Launch the Windows movie maker app. Import the video you want to crop.
- Once you have it imported, drag and drop the video to the Movie Maker timeline.
- On the animations tab, go to Pan and Zoom.
- Decide whichever effect suits you best. You can try multiple effects and see which one you like the most.
- Once done, you can save the cropped video.
Your video is now ready.
How to crop a video on Mac
To crop a video on your Mac:
- Go to the iMovie app on your device and select the clip you want to crop.
- On the toolbar, click on the cropping button (it should be right next to the palette icon).
- Click on the "Crop to Fill" button - an adjustable window should appear over your video. You should be able to move and resize the frame, which you should do until you are absolutely satisfied with the result.
- To finalize the sizes, click on the apply button (a blue coloured circle with a tick).
You can thus crop a video according to your desired ratios on your Mac and have it ready in no time.
How to crop a video on iPhone
If you wish to crop a video on your iPhone, worry not, for it is pretty easy.
- Open the Photos app on your iPhone and select the video you want to edit.
- Tap on edit; this should now display a bunch of editing tools on your screen.
- Choose the crop option and size the video however you like.
- Once you are satisfied with how the video looks, tap on save (if you don't want the original clip to be saved) or save as a new video (if you want to keep the new and original video separate.
How to crop a video on Android
Where we previously needed third-party apps to edit our videos, almost all Android phones now come with a built-in editor that allows you to do the work there and then.
If you want to crop a video on your Android, here's how you can do it.
- Open your phone's gallery and find the video you want to edit.
- After opening the video, tap edit at the bottom. On some devices, you will get the option to edit by tapping on the menu icon.
- You can crop your video however you want to in a circular shape, rectangular, or by dragging the points to make uniquely shaped quadrilaterals- all up to you!
- If you think you’ve messed up, you can always press the Restart button present on the lower right side, which will restore your video to its original state.
- When you are done cropping the video, tap on Save Copy to save a copy of the cropped video on your device.
5 Reasons Why Cropping Your Videos is Essential
Cropping a video has several benefits.
You can adjust the picture's dimensions to make it reflect your audience’s preferences and social media requirements. A cropping tool is also often used to remove any unwanted and irrelevant parts that might distract the viewers from the focal point of the video.
Let’s discuss all the reasons why a cropping tool should be an essential part of your video editing arsenal.
To fit different social media platform requirements
Different social media platforms require different size specifications for the visual content you post.
For example, Instagram only allows 1:1 and 3:4 ratios. If you took a full-sized photo with your phone, you’d have to crop it to a size that works on Instagram. Similar to that, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms have different picture and video requirements that you need to meet in order to be able to post.
It is also important to correctly crop your videos before posting them on social media platforms. You will not get likes, comments, shares, or views if your video is not correctly positioned.
From a business point of view, this simple mistake could end up costing you a lot. The more optimized your video content is, the better it will perform on social media.
To remove unnecessary background clutter
We crop videos so as to remove all the background clutter. The clutter at the back can distract viewers from what you are actually trying to show.
For example, you’ve shot an interview video. During post-production, you notice your team members working in the background. That can be distracting for viewers. It shifts the focus from the interview to the people meandering in the background.
A big no-no for professional brand videos. Cropping allows you to easily remove distractions from the background and create a focused, targeted video for your viewers.
To fix a mistake or irregularity during screen recording
Ever recorded a video and realized you’ve unknowingly filmed objects and persons that were not supposed to be there? Or maybe you’ve taken the video at a wrong angle? Or you’ve shot the video horizontally but want to upload it in vertical format.
To fix such mistakes, you have the option to crop your videos and get rid of all the unwanted items. Cropping videos also saves you from the hassle of shooting again. It helps to maintain professionalism and add decorum to our videos, especially when you're posting branded content on social platforms.
To cut the black bars from mobile videos
When you film a video using your phone, you will notice there are black bars on either side of the video. At times, the black bars look very off-putting and ruin the feel of the entire video, in which case it is best to get rid of them.
This is where an editing program that allows cropping comes in handy!
To show multiple video clips - or a picture with a video clip - on one screen.
Sometimes the videos and clips we make are differently sized. Where one may have been shot in a 1:1 frame, others could have been shot with a 9:16 frame. What to do when you want to compile these differently sized clips into a single video?
Easy. Use a cropping tool.
With the cropping tool, you can resize the clips and bring them to a uniform length. Thus, when compiled together and shown on a screen, they will look flawless.
How to Crop Videos for Social Media?
It would be great if all social media platforms accepted the same pictures and video sizes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
Different interface designs of different social media platforms require us to select and post photos with different dimensions.
To make the entire social media content posting process easy for you, we’ve listed the dimension requirements of each social media platform and how to crop videos on these social platforms.
Instagram has several different sub-platforms where you can post your video content.
Vertical, full-screen videos are suitable for stories and reels. Whereas on the feed and carousel, the best formats are 1:1 and 4:5 (only slightly taller than 1:1) video sizes.
To crop a video for Instagram:
- Go to the app and tap on the add icon (+).
- Select the video you want to post and click on next.
- On the bottom left, Instagram will display 2 arrows indicating the tool for resizing.
- Tap on that icon to resize or crop your videos according to Instagram's size requirements.
- When you are sure, the video is cropped well, click on Next and post the video.
Dimension requirements to post videos on Facebook are 1280 x 720 pixels.
Unlike Instagram, Facebook does not have a cropping tool to assist you, which is why you will need to crop your video beforehand.
You can do this easily through our super simple video editor - PlayPlay.
Twitter video dimension requirements are 1280x720 for landscape, 720x1280 for portrait, and 720x720 for square.
While Twitter allows you to trim your videos' length, it has no such editing option to crop them. Again, you can use editing apps like PlayPlay to crop your videos for Twitter with ease.
The video dimension requirement for TikTok is 1080×1920.
While TikTok has a great built-in video editor, it doesn’t yet allow cropping videos. So you need to optimize your video before you attempt to post it to TikTok.
Posting the right-sized video on TikTok is very essential because that is the only form of media that is shared on the app. There are no stories, posts, or different options that other social media platforms do.
You only get one try, and you need to get it right.
Because with TikTok's algorithm and the way your video can reach thousands, if not millions, you stand to gain a lot.
Cropping - a critical tool in your video editing arsenal?
The right video editing programs can easily amp up the quality of your video.
Cropping is an excellent way to clean up your video, make sure your audience understands your message, remove any distractions, and show your brand in the best light possible in the online world.
While video editing can seem a daunting task, especially for beginners, using video editing tools like PlayPlay can make your life infinitely easier.
It is not only easy to use with almost zero learning curves, but it also offers a multitude of editing features to further aid you in creating optimum videos for social media.
Try it now!