Cropping videos can be a very useful way to edit them – provided you use it carefully. In the right hands being able to remove parts of the video adjacent to its frame can be very powerful, but it could just as easily end up ruining your video.
If you want to crop your videos more effectively, there are a few tips that you should try to use:
Always keep the aspect ratio in mind
No matter how you crop your video, you should make sure the final video has the right aspect ratio. In most cases that is 16:9 which is the standard widescreen HD aspect ratio, but there are exceptions where you may want a square (1:1) or vertical (9:16) aspect ratio.
If the aspect ratio isn’t correct the video may not be displayed properly when it is viewed and could be ‘stretched’ to fit the display, or appear in the letterbox with black bars.
Don’t crop too much of the video
Keep in mind that when you crop your video you are effectively reducing its resolution – so if you crop too much of it the resolution could end up much, much lower. Admittedly there is no definitive rule regarding how much you should or should not crop, as it will be based on the resolution the video will be viewed in.
Use the grid as a guideline
The grid is arguably one of the most useful tools when you’re cropping as you can use it as a guideline to arrange elements and decide on the frame that you want for your video. It is best if you use it in conjunction with composition techniques such as the rule of thirds or golden ratio.
Many video editors take that into account and will provide you with different grids that you can use to apply various composition techniques.
Watch where the frame ‘cut’ elements of the video
When you crop the video its new frame may intersect with elements of the video in different ways and essentially ‘cut’ them off. That is something you should watch for, as it can cause some elements to look odd or out of place.
As a rule if the frame ‘cuts’ a person, it is best that it not be at a joint. For example cutting off a person above or below a knee looks better than right on the knee itself.
Almost all video editors have a crop tool, and you should experiment with the one in yours. If you are looking for an easy way how to crop a video you could try Movavi Video Editor for example.
By using the tips listed above, you can take advantage of the crop feature as a tool to change the aspect ratio, improve the composition, ‘zoom in’ with a close-up, and much more. Just keep the tips in mind so that the impact of the crop will work out the way that you want it – without any unintended side effects.