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Cropping is a common photo-editing feature since it removes unwanted portions of a shot and improves the quality of the clip. Just like photos, cropping is executable with several apps across multiple devices and platforms.
However, for many first-timers, cropping can be confusing, considering it's similar to trimming and splitting.
In this blog, you will learn the difference between cropping, trimming and splitting and go through step-by-step guides on how to crop videos on Android, iOS and PC.
Difference Between Video Cropping, Trimming, and Splitting
Splitting, Trimming, and Cropping are all editing actions used to remove unwanted elements from videos. The fundamental difference between all three is the location of the unwanted portion.
For cropping, the unwanted element(s) is in the shot or frame. You don’t want to remove the entire section but bit parts of the frame. Cropping lets you remove elements from the bottom, left, right, or left corners, ultimately changing the overall composition of the frame.
Trimming is removing unwanted sections from the beginning or end of the clip. It is about redefining where the video begins and ends. Unlike splitting or cropping, trimming is far more straightforward and clear-cut in its application.
Lastly, splitting serves the same purpose as trimming, except the unwanted part is in the middle sections of the clip. If you don’t want to remove the beginning or end of the footage but rather a part in the middle, splitting is your go-to editing action.
It involves dividing the clip and isolating the unwanted section before deleting it from the editing timeline. It is routinely used to change or improve the narrative of a video, and the execution can be far more complex.
So, to recap,
- Cropping - removing unwanted elements from a frame or shot
- Trimming - removing unwanted elements from the beginning or end of a clip
- Splitting - removing unwanted elements from the middle of a clip
Now that we have that cleared up let’s learn how to crop videos.
How to Crop a Video on Android
Android is one of the two most popular mobile device platforms, used by hundreds of millions of people around the globe. Its app store contains an endless list of apps you can use to edit video content, including cropping a video.
For this guide, we will use the video editing app, YouCut. It is one of the most popular video editing tools on Android, and it is free. Its features are many, including music effects, filters, voice recording, and playback speed settings.
When it comes to cropping, YouCut has multiple preset options that streamline the process. You can choose to crop videos based on the official dimensions of social platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and others.
The video editing app is easy to use. It has a playback button to replay a video countless times to ensure the main subjects remain in focus throughout the clip.
How to Crop a Video with YouCut
If you don’t have YouCut, you can download and install the app by visiting here. If you do, simply launch the app and follow these steps.
STEP 1 - Select and Add a Video to the Editor
Once the app is opened, click the + button at the bottom of the splash screen (the first screen after launching the app). It will take you to a gallery of your recent media files.
If the video you want to edit is here, select it and click the arrow button at the lower end of the screen. Otherwise, select the drop-down arrow at the top of the app to open the folder containing the video.
STEP 2 - Open the Crop Function to Crop
Importing the video is half the work. Once you have successfully done that, scroll through the editing features by swiping left at the base of the YouCut editor to select the Crop function. It is towards the end of the row.
Select “Crop” when you find it to open its controls.
You will see a list of preset options, including Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube dimensions.
If you intend to publish your video on any of these platforms, select the relevant one and edit based on the dimension.
Besides the defined options, there are other dimensions to choose from and a freehand option if you don’t have a set size in mind.
Use the playback button to track the subjects that appear in the frame. When you are satisfied, click the arrow button on the bottom right corner to return to the main editing page.
STEP 3 - Save and Publish
On the main editing page, you can perform additional editing actions like setting the audio volume, rotating or flipping the clip. You can even trim and split parts of the clip.
When you finish, hit ‘Save’ at the top of the screen. A pop-up screen will appear for you to set the output quality. For best results, always opt for the highest possible quality.
Once you are set, select Save again to launch the rendering process.
When rendering is complete, the video saves to an auto-created YouCut folder in your phone.
You can leave the app to access it or share the video directly to any social media or messaging platform from within the app.
That’s it. You have successfully cropped a video with YouCut using your Android device.
How to Crop a Video on iOS
Similarly, there are plenty of video editing app options on iOS. However, if you are only interested in cropping a video, we recommend iMovie.
It usually comes installed with an iPhone or iPad, but you can always download and install it from the App Store if it is not on your device. iMovie is free and has various editing features, functional enough to make it your go-to editing app for online or personal video creation.
Cropping with iMovie is very easy. It does, however, have a different execution from YouCut. Instead of dimension-based cropping, iMovie uses zooming. By zooming in on the relevant subject in each frame, unwanted parts get cropped out.
Confused? Don’t be. Here is the step-by-step guide on how it works.
How to Crop Video with iMovie
Once you have confirmed iMove is installed on your device, follow these steps to crop your video.
STEP 1 - Import the Video
As always, the first step to editing any video is importing it into the editor, and it is pretty easy to do this with iMovie.
To import, open the app and select the Projects tab.
Under Projects, select the Plus icon to start a new project.
A pop-up window with options to choose between Movie and Trailer will open. Select Movie.
After this, the app will open your gallery to choose the video you want to edit. Select it and click Create Movie at the bottom of the screen.
STEP 2 - Crop the Video
Now that the video is in the editor, you can begin cropping. Start by tapping the video in the timeline. This will bring up the Zoom icon in the upper right-hand corner of the main editor window.
Once it appears, use two fingers to zoom in and out of the video. The wider the distance between your fingers, the deeper the zoom into the main subject, cropping out other parts of the frame and vice versa if you want to zoom out.
When you finish, tap Done at the upper left-hand corner of the editor.
STEP 3 - Save and Export
After cropping the video, you can either save it to your device or share it directly with friends or online to any of the listed social media platforms.
Once you click Done, select the Sharing/Action button. It will open another small window to choose what you want to do with the video.
When you click Save Video, you also have to select the output settings. Don’t forget to choose the highest possible quality.
You now know how to crop videos on iOS using iMovie.
Cropping with iMovie on Mac
One significant advantage of using iMovie to crop videos is that the same tool is available on macOS. Using the app follows the same simple process, with a slight difference.
Instead of using the zoom feature, iMovie on Mac has a standard cropping tool. After importing the video with the same steps as in iOS, select the video in the timeline.
You should see a panel of editing tools, including the mismatched rectangle icon of the Crop action.
Select it to open Crop controls. There will be a rectangle on the main window.
Place and stretch the handlebars of the rectangle to cover the areas you want to focus on. The editor will crop out the areas outside the rectangle.
Don’t forget to preview the clip using the playback button after every crop to avoid starting all over again after saving.
Click the blue checkmark in the upper right corner to complete the crop.
After this, cropping is complete. Save the video or share it with friends and family or online by clicking the Sharing action button at the uppermost top right corner of the screen.
How to Crop a Video on PC
Professional video editors and those who wish to apply advanced tools to their videos might find apps like Adobe Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve more applicable for their projects.
However, for those with much more simplified interests, more straightforward tools like Windows Video Editor, Keevi, and EZGif are more appropriate.
In this guide, we will use the latter. It is free and completely web-based, meaning you don’t have to download software. EZGif also supports files up to 100MB in size across multiple formats, AVI, 3GP, MP4, WebM, MOV, FLV, and a couple more.
How to Crop a Video Online with EZGif
This tool offers a plethora of editing features. However, a useful one for workflow is the ability to import files via URL.
Click this link and paste the copied URL in the dedicated address bar.
If the file is on your computer, click the Choose File button to upload it manually.
Then click Upload Video when you finish and follow these steps to crop the video.
STEP 1 - Select the Cropped Area
When the video has been uploaded to the website, use the mouse to select the area you want to crop.
Doing so will create a rectangle with dotted lines over the video with handlebars that you can use to edit the selected area further.
However, you should only jump straight to this action if you do not have a set aspect ratio in mind. If you do, scroll down to select from a list of options.
You can also manually enter the dimension for each side.
Once you have selected the area you want to crop, click Crop Video.
STEP 2 - Save the Video
When the cropping is done, the video will show up below the ‘Crop Video’ button.
Once the cropped video is there, use the playback button to check and ensure everything is in order. If it is, you can perform other actions like converting it to a GIF file, rotate, reverse, or cut the video. Otherwise, scroll back up to the cropping section to repeat the process.
When you finish, hit Save at the right end of the action buttons. It will automatically download the cropped video to your computer.
Once the download is complete, you can share it to any platform or person you want manually.
Why Crop Videos?
Although simple, cropping is one of the essential editing actions you should perform on a video. Here are a couple of reasons why learning how to perform it is a valuable skill.
- Remove unwanted sections
Cropping out irrelevant objects and subjects in your footage enhances its value, ensuring your audience only focuses on your primary content.
Furthermore, it also makes your video look professional and increases its production value.
- Change aspect ratio
It is possible to change the aspect ratio of a video without removing any part of it. But you can also do this with cropping—especially when working with tools like iMovie that do not have a dedicated aspect ratio setting.
- Optimize video for online use
Cropping your video is a smart way to guarantee visual optimization for every platform of distribution. However, there is no one-size-fits-all dimension, which is why you should opt for apps with easy-to-use cropping tools.
Reshaping the video in a way that considers each viewing platform ensures you maximize the engagement and conversion abilities of the video.
- To create a split-screen
There are so many production tricks you can achieve by cropping videos. One of them is creating a split-screen. It allows you to pack more content inside an aspect ratio.
Other tricks include video-in-picture, merging video with text, cinematic effect, and blending clips.
What You Should Look for in a Video Cropper
So far, this blog has covered video cropping apps like YouCut, EZGif, and iMovie. If you are not a fan of either, here are a few factors to consider when looking for the best video cropping tool.
- Supports multiple file formats
Unless you can guarantee your videos will always have a specific file format, a video cropper that supports multiple file formats is the best option.
Most videos come in AVI, MPEG, MP4, FLV, MOV, 3GP, and WebM. Therefore, any video cropping tool that supports any of these formats is acceptable.
- Easy to use
A suitable video cropper should be easy to use and intuitive, with little to zero prior video editing knowledge.
You will typically find tools that meet this criterion among native video editing tools like Windows’ Video Editor and Apple’s iMovie. Online and mobile tools like EZGif, Keevi, and YouCut also have this quality.
However, suppose you plan on doing a lot more than cropping and do not mind investing time to learn. In that case, advanced editing apps like Adobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, and Final Cut are good options to consider.
- Has preset cropping formats
Cropping should be simple, and one of the features that guarantee that are preset formats. A good video cropper should have preset dimensions applicable for different platforms.
That way, you can simply select one and focus on making sure the relevant shots are in each frame.
- Supports adjustable dimensions
While having presets is good, the best tools for cropping videos also allow you to edit the dimensions. This way, you can quickly refocus out of frame shots without compromising the quality of the video.
This can either be through the manipulation of handlebars or drag support for the cropping area. Either way, the right tool should have adjustable dimensions.
Remember, cropping is a vital editing step, and it is easy to execute when you’ve got the right tool. So far, we have covered three - YouCut, iMovie, and EZGif. They are free and helpful for anyone at any skill level.
If you are still considering an alternative, try Keevi Video Editor. It is free with link import capabilities and has easy-to-use cropping features with aspect ratio compatibility for all major social media platforms.