People searching for ways to crop a YouTube video might have different needs. The term "crop" itself is ambiguous, some people mistake trim for crop, and some tutorials on cropping a video are talking about trimming. There are still others referring crop as in crop out a part of the YouTube video to save.
What do you have in mind?
- Crop unwanted parts such as your fingers unintentionally recorded;
- Crop and zoom in so as to focus on a certain area in your footage;
- Crop and trim a YouTube video that's not yours (with the consent from the owner);
- Crop to change the aspect ratio to better fit YouTube with full screen and not black bars.
This post answers all the above needs and illustrated the methods and tools to be used in the following parts.
Part 1. How to Crop a Video in YouTube Studio
Besides uploading and managing videos, playlists, analyzing statistics, YouTube Studio does come with a built-in YouTube Video Editor. It allows you to trim and split uploaded videos, and even to blur faces in the video.
Can you crop a video in YouTube?
Yes and no. Before June 2016, you can crop a video in YouTube Studio directly with formatting tags. But this feature is not available from then on.
Previously, you can go to YouTube Studio and add tags such as yt:crop=16:9, yt:stretch=16:9. Just as how you add normal tags, right under the title and description section when you are uploading a video.
If you have ever visited YouTube Help page regarding formatting tags, you shall see the method described as such in the screenshot below. Now this page has completed changed.
Side note: the tag formatting method is gone for good. It has nothing to do with Studio Beta version. Even if you can find some workaround to go back to the old Video Studio, this yt:crop=16:9 won't work either.
Part 2. How to Crop a YouTube Video Before Uploading
Since there is no direct way to crop (not trim) a video with YouTube's publishing tool and built-in editor, the best practice is to crop your content before uploading.
Depending on which OS you are using, the tools to use are quite different.
- If you are publishing a YouTube video directly via iPhone or iPad, you can crop it easily using Apple's photos app or iMovie.
- If you are on Windows, there is no native app to use. Windows Movie Maker or its replacement Video Editor in Photos app doesn't have a cropping tool.
- If you are on Mac, iMovie and Final Cut Pro are two quick choices.
As macOS and iOS both have their native utilities to serve as croppers, while Windows doesn't have any, it seems that cropping a video on Windows could be a headache. To solve that problem, we tested several video editing software and utilities that work nicely to crop a video.
The only question left for you is, are you expecting a video cropper that is lightweight and requires less computing resources, or you prefer a professional non-linear editing tool to crop a video and in the meantime performs more editing, such as add transitions, merge several video clips, add text or stickers, etc.
From solution 1 to solution 3, we offer you tools from the most lightweight and easiest to more complex and feature-rich one.
Solution 1: VideoProc by Digiarty
Best for: Quickly and easily crop and edit large videos even on a slow computer
Runs on: Windows/Mac | Software Size: about 47MB | Skill level: beginner friendly
VideoProc is a lightweight video editor, with basic function enough for beginners. Simple doesn't mean less powerful— it lays out all the essential functions in the friendly UI, while hiding advanced settings for power users.
To crop, cut, trim, rotate a video, or add effects, you just click the corresponding icon to call out each functioning window.
Here is a quick demonstration to crop a video before uploading to YouTube:
Step 1. Launch VideoProc, and click the Video icon to start editing.
Step 2. Drag and drop your video.
Step 3. Click target format, and select YouTube Video > MP4. This software will churn out a video that matches best YouTube video settings.
You can adjust the quality: the higher, the larger of the file size and hence a better quality.
A little explanation: target format including many user-ready presets for the output video. It is designed to save time for beginner users. You can quickly choose a preset depending on where the video goes, without knowing the nitty-gritty of which codec or format works better for a specific platform.
Step 4. Click Crop from the bar right below your video. In the pop up window, tick enable crop, and now you can freely drag the dotted lines into any size.
- If you want the cropping box to be a certain aspect ratio, you can choose it from the drop-down menu in preset. For instance, you can make it to be 16:9, 4:3, or the square-shaped 1:1.
- You can quickly trim off unwanted part after cropping. Simply click on Cut option next to the Crop from the bar.
Solution 2: Camtasia by TechSmith
Best for: Trim, crop and edit tutorial videos for YouTube
Runs on: Windows/Mac | Software Size: about 500MB | Skill level: Know basic concepts about video editing
Camtasia is a video editor with powerful screen recorder built-in, making it an ideal choice to crop tutorial videos for YouTube. You can also crop and edit any other videos you shot with iPhone, GoPro, DSLR, drones, etc.
The cropping mode is easy to find in Camtasia.
Step 1. Launch Camtasia and click New Project.
Step 2. Import your video into the media bin.
Step 3. Drag your video onto the timeline.
Step 4. Click the cropping mode icon right above your video.
Note: You can press Alt key to quickly switch between cropping mode and general selection mode.
Tips : Using the Cropping Mode to Create Split Screen Effects
With the cropping mode offered by Camtasia, you can easily crop two or more videos, and display them on the screen simultaneously. Let's say you are a YouTuber running a channel on dancing tutorials, you can showcase the front and side view on screen at the same time so that the views can better understand how the dance steps look like from different angles.
As our developer explains, cropping allows you to remove unwanted portions of the image, or adjust the edges of the video. In so doing, you can either improve the composition to create filmic look, change the aspect ratio of a video, or simply get rid of a messy background.
Solution 3: DaVinci Resolve by Blackmagic Design
Best for: Crop a video and color-grade it to a professional look
Runs on: Windows/Mac | Software Size: more than 1GB | Skill level: Professional
DaVinci Resolve is a professional non-linear video editor with industry-leading color grading utilities. One can seldom find another tool that is free and comes with so many powerful functions. That also means, if you only use DaVinci Resolve as a video cropper, it is overkill.
Step 1. Import your video into DaVinci Resolve and add it to the timeline.
Step 2. Click the Transform icon right under the monitor.
Step 3. Choose Crop from the dropdown menu.
Step 4. Drag the handles on the white line to crop a video. You can crop to custom resolution easily.
Note: You can also resize video size without cropping, if what you are looking for is resizing rather than cropping. The tool is Transform, right above the Crop tool.
How to Crop a Posted YouTube Video and Save
As we have already discussed in the opening part, you cannot crop a video with YouTube's built-in editor since 2016. Though you can trim or blur a posted YouTube video, the cropping is a no go.
To crop a published video, the workaround is to save the video, crop it, and re-upload it to YouTube. But the negative part is that you will lose your views, likes and comments on that video. The best way is to prepare your video before it's too late: make sure your video is 16:9 so that there won't be unsightly black bars on the left and right side.
Follow the instructions on the picture to crop a YouTube video. Once you have saved your video to local drive, you can go to the editing mode in this software to easily crop the video.
VideoProc - Crop Videos from YouTube to Edit and Save
- Easy to use cropper, trimmer and cutter for novices with zero editing experience
- User-ready output formats specially designed for YouTube to retain best quality
- Lightweight and launches quickly even on low spec notebook
- Support 4K HEVC/H265 codec with hardware acceleration