Cropping a video, to bring focus onto the important aspects and remove the extraneous parts of the scene, is one of the most valuable tools available to a video editor. It can be used as mentioned to ensure the viewer focuses on what is important, but also to magnify objects on the screen, such as with footage of nature. It has many uses, and one of the best tools available for cropping video is the free program Avidemux. Here we are going to go through the process of getting Avidemux running on your system and cropping some video.
You can find Avidemux for download here, it is available for a wide range of platforms, just download the version that fits your needs. Once downloaded, install in the standard way for your platform, this is the Wndows version (64bit).
One point of note during installation is that you can choose which parts of the program you wish to install. It is a very small footprint and for the best performance it is wise to simply install everything.
Once installed you will be presented with the program as seen here.
The next step is importing video. This can be done in two ways, by clicking the file folder icon at the top left you open a standard file browser to navigate to, and select your chosen video file, or alternatively you can simply drag you video into the main panel to import it.
Whichever route you take, you will end up with your video file loaded in like this.
Now you can edit the video as you need, Avidemux contains a wealth of features to enable the full spectrum of editing tasks to be completed. However, here we are going to look at the cropping tool, so on to the next step.
Avidemux has some idiosyncrasies in terms of operation, one of those is that to be able to edit any video, you have to choose your output format. Don’t worry though, this is easy, just use the dropdown at the side to choose the output format you want as can be seen here.
Once that is set you are free to start editing your footage.
It is important to understand how the editing process works in Avidemux, everything is accessed via the filters menu Video>Filters and from here you are faced with a new interface that enables you to choose the component you wish to use.
Selecting ‘Crop’ from the menu and pressing the green plus symbol at the bottom activated the crop tool and presents you with yet another view that allows you to adjust the crop to your tastes.
There are two options for cropping, you can use the Auto crop feature, which will detect any black lines and crop the footage between them, or if you are using the crop tool for something else, or just want to do it manually, you can set the crop via the left right top and bottom boxes. Values input here are the number of pixels from that edge the crop extends, as you are setting it, this is displayed with a green block signifying the area of the image that will be removed.
You can adjust this independently for all 4 edges as you wish.
Once you are happy with the crop, you click Ok and it takes you back to the familiar filter menu where you can use other components to perform more editing if you need.
6Saving the crop
One of the most common points of confusion with Avidemux comes at this point, as your video will look no different to when you started, and many think they have done something wrong, but this is another part of Avidemux workflow. These filters can only be applied when the video is reencoded, and you do that through the file>save menu.
Selecting this presents the familiar export dialogue and allows you to choose the name and destination of the file. Once that is done you click OK and you will see Avidemux processing your file and re-rendering it in this dialogue box.
How long it takes will depend on a few factors, how many other effects have been added, how fast a processor your computer has, and how large and what resolution the video is. Format also plays a part in the process too, with some formats taking less time to encode than others. Once it has finished, you can view your video and see the crop in action.
As we can see, although there are a few aspects of the workflow that are a little unintuitive, cropping video in Avidemux is a straightforward process that anyone can accomplish with a bit of patience.
One of the key things to remember with Avidemux is that you apply all of your filters before re-encoding, this again is a question of patience and a bit of organization to ensure everything you wish to do is completed in order.
Avidemux is a great piece of software, it lacks the polish of some of its commercial rivals of course, but behind the sometimes clunky interface there is a very broad range of features that allow you to accomplish more or less any editing task you may want. In terms of free programs this is about as good as it gets, and the output is, without a doubt, great quality. For anyone looking for a free solution to video editing problems, and who do not mind a learning process Avidemux provides a useful tool.
If Avidemux is too complicate for you, you can consider Wondershare Filmora (originally Wondershare Video Editor), which is an easy-to-use video editing tool to crop videos within several click. Download the free trial version blow.