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How to Crop a Video in iMovie on Mac? [Step by Step]

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Jun 17, 2022• Proven solutions

Video Editing depends on many factors, from the quality of the footage to the additional elements introduced during editing, be it audio, transitions, or any other component. But the primary thought to keep in mind is that the subject of the video needs to be in focus, achievable with the help of the crop function that can emphasize and even remove unnecessary elements from a clip.

The crop function can be applied to crop photos from the footage, incorporate a close-up shot of the subject and eliminate undesired sections. It can also come in handy if some of the video files you need do not match the intended aspect ratio for the project. You can zoom in or zoom out with the help of the crop function, allowing you to fit them into the frame.

Author's Note: When filming, try to record any video in the highest resolution allowed on your camera. This decision will allow you to crop into the footage or select a nice portion of it without affecting the resolution of the clip.

In this guide, we will be using iMovie, a video editing software, part of Apple's suite of pre-installed applications, which is a great inlet for beginner creators and those that are more skilled than the average joe.

But if you are looking for free video editing software that has more to offer when compared to iMovie. Wondershare Filmora is a great alternative, and we have also included steps on how to crop footage in a Filmora Project.

Note: We documented the steps in this guide with iMovie and WonderShare Filmora.

How to Crop Video in iMovie on Mac?

Once you have iMovie opened on your Mac, follow the steps listed below.

Step 1: Create a Project and choose Movie to create a long format video.

crop-video-imovie

Step 2: Import a Video File and place it onto the Timeline.

crop-video-imovie

Step 3: Bring up the cropping controls for a video by clicking on the Cropping button (marked in red).

Following that Click on the Crop to Fill button (marked in yellow) to bring up the adjustable frame, which you can control to pick your desired portion of the video clip.

Then click on the Apply button (marked in Green) to confirm your selection.

Note: The bounding box used in this option is locked to a 16:9 aspect ratio.

crop-video-imovie

Things to Keep in Mind

- You can also apply a crop on footage imported into the media browser.

- You can restore a clip to its original aspect ratio by clicking on the Fit button in the cropping tools menu.

An alternate way to Crop Video with Wondershare Filmora

While having access to a free and pre-installed video editing tool like iMovie is great, in my opinion, the software does lack certain features that can make the end video project more immersive and dynamic. Thus, if interested you can also attempt using alternate free video editing tools. 

Filmora Video Editor is one such alternative that packs in more features and has a similar emphasis on quick accessibility like iMovie. The use of icons that resemble those found across various mobile operating systems is also a bonus that helps increase familiarity.

If you do not already have Wondershare Filmora, you can download the software by visiting the official website.

Download Filmora9 Win Version Download Filmora9 Mac Version

Once you have Wondershare Filmora installed, follow the steps listed below to learn how you can use the crop tool.

Step 1: Import a Video File into the newly created Video Project.

crop-video-imovie

Step 2: Drag any clip onto the Timeline and select it to bring up the next set of interactions.

crop-video-imovie

Step 3: Select Crop Options (marked in Red) to open the Crop window.

crop-video-imovie

Step 4: Pick an edge from the visible box and resize them to select the portion you want to keep in the clip and press OK.

crop-video-imovie

These steps will ensure the footage is cropped to the desired size.

Before You Leave

Another feature we recommend keeping your eye out for is Keyframing.

Keyframes will allow you to create a wide variety of effects with your video files. We define them as a feature that allows you set Enter and Exit points and any footage between those boundaries can have different properties from the rest of the footage. Some properties on which you can use keyframing are zoom, rotation, and crop.

An example of how keyframing works is defined below:

Set Keyframe 1 at an exact time (say the tenth second) and give it zoom level zero, and now create Keyframe 2 at the twentieth second and define the zoom level as thirty. So now, between the tenth second and twentieth second, the zoom factor on your footage will steadily increase. And in case you want to focus on an object that is not in the center of the frame, you can do some while zooming by changing the position component.

We recommend experimenting with this feature if you want to add a more dynamic movement-based feeling to your video project.

The Bottom Line

Thus coming to the bottom line, cropping footage is fairly straightforward, be it in Filmora Wondershare or iMovie. And both software have their respective advantages and quality of life features.

But in our opinion, if you are a creator who is just starting out, Wondershare Filmora's approach to editing will be a better base to start with, as while iMovie isn't limited, it is a very basic type of editing software, that is perfect if you want to stitch the footage together, but a little complex to use in case you need to derive more.

Wondershare Filmora owns the fact that it wants to be a proper editing tool, and as such present users with dedicated audio and video tracks that you don't have to always split. Its modern iconography is also a huge positive.

Thus, due to its thoughtful and no-frills approach, Filmora is the one to pick if you wish to do more than just basic editing.

author avatar
Liza Brown
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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