How to Crop and Rotate Video

 In Best Practices

1174091870, Tempura

Sometimes you capture videos, and then realize they are not positioned the way you wished. Or (maybe) you want to flip the image to create a special effect.

It also, quite often occurs that you only want to use a specific area of a video. It could be that you want to focus the attention on that section, or eliminate defects in the surrounding area.

In both situations, you need to master how to crop and rotate videos to get your desired result. Cropping and rotating videos will help you both achieve the desired framing, and position the images for your content.

In this article, you’ll learn how to crop and rotate videos on generic video editing apps and software. We also share how you can best do this using the iStock video editor. Let’s get started.

How to Crop and Rotate Videos

Blue and Orange infographic of a person video editing.

1286329832, SurfUpVector

With the different devices and video websites available, rotating or cropping a video can appear more complicated than it needs to be. You must have some basic knowledge of the tool you’ll need, and most importantly, how to go about it.

We’ll be breaking down the steps for the many devices and sites so you can see how they stack up and decide which one is best for your needs.

Mac (iMovie)

iMovie is a video application built into the MacOS ecosystem. You can use it directly to rotate and crop your video. If you’re accustomed to the app, you probably know how to handle it with precision. But if you don’t know, follow the steps below.

Open iMovie and Choose Your Target Video

First thing, locate the iMovie app on your computer and launch it. Next, select “File” then choose “Import” to upload your target video to iMovie.

Screenshot of iMovie showing how to import a video.

Crop Photos and Videos

iMovie is relatively intuitive and user-friendly. Upon choosing your target video, you can easily figure out the following steps with the icons in the toolbar. To crop the video, select the “Crop” icon in the browser toolbar above the Viewer.  

Screenshot of iMovie showing how to crop a video.

You can shrink the video and eliminate all unwanted sections to your liking. Now, let’s discuss how you can rotate your clips on iMovie.

Rotate Photos and Videos

Rotating the video is just as easy. For this, you need to locate the “Rotate” icons (counterclockwise and clockwise).

Screenshot of iMovie showing how to rotate a video.

Each helps you rotate the clip right or left depending on the direction of the arrow on the icon.

Preview and Save

After completing the settings for rotating and cropping your video, preview to see the result before validating it. You can do this by selecting the “Play” button.

Upon verification and approval, you can now save the final video. Just select “Done” to finalize the rotation or cropping in iMovie.

PC

Cropping or rotating your video on a Windows PC is a bit more complicated. It’s hard to come by an integrated Windows program that can perform both actions, so we suggest two different programs you can use.

Rotate (Windows Photo App)

If you are familiar with the Windows Photo application, you probably know it features a video editor. If you are not familiar with the program, it’s fine. We’ll show you the different steps you’ll need to follow to successfully rotate your video.

Notice that the app will not allow you to crop the video, but you will be able to trim it, add music, and perform many other basic modifications. Here’s how to rotate your video using Photo App for Windows.

  1. Find and Launch Photos on Your Computer

Press the “Windows Key” on your keyboard and start typing photo. Photos will be suggested to you. Select it to open.

Screenshot of PC Photos showing how to import a video.

  1. Open the Video Editor

After opening the app, you will need to choose “Video Editor” to start editing your video.

A screenshot of how to open Video Editor.

  1. Upload Your Video

The next step in the process is to upload the video you want to rotate. Select “New Video Project” to begin the process.

Screenshot for how to create a new video project.

Select “Add” and you will now be able to upload your video according to its location. After uploading your video, you will see your editing features appear. You will be presented with a dashboard with a library of features to edit your video (below).

Video Editor screenshot showcasing the different editing features you can use.

  1. Rotate Your Video

Now you can use the “Rotate” icon to turn your video. It appears with the spinning arrow, and every click turns the video a notich in one direction. Continue until you get the position you want.

Video Editor screenshot showcasing how to rotate video.

  1. Validate and Save

When you are satisfied with the position of the video, all that remains is for you to save it. You can do this by selecting the “Finish your video” button in the top right-hand corner of the tool. Next, you will need to choose the resolution for the quality you want for your video, and then export it to the location of your choice.

Video Editor screenshot showcasing how to properly save your final project.

Crop (VLC Media Player)

VLC is basically a video player that also offers basic functionality for video editing, including video cropping. Using VLC for cropping videos involves several steps and may seem a bit complicated. So, you need to carefully take the following steps to do it seamlessly.

  1. Play the Target Video on VLC

Playing the video on VLC will allow you to bring the video into the tool. You can start the editing process from there.

  1. Go Tools and Preferences

Start by selecting “Tools” in the viewer’s dashboard as the video plays. Next, choose “Preferences” from the dropdown.

Screenshot of VLC Player's tools and preferences menu.

  1. Set the Preferences for Cropping

Set “Show settings” for “All” — it is set to “Simple” by default.

Screenshot of how to crop videos using VLC Player.

  1. Crop the Video

Under “Advanced Preferences” select “Video” and expand the “Filters” option, then choose “Croppadd” to open the Video cropping filters.

Screenshot of how to use the Cropadd feature in VLC Player.

 Now, you can enter the specific pixels to crop from top/bottom/left/right as you like. Here is an example.

Screenshot of VLC Player's cropping filter menu.

  1. Validate and Save

The validation process is similar to the process you use to start cropping the video. Select “Video” and under “Filters” check the box for “Video cropping filter” and then “Save” to save the crop.

Screenshot of how to save your cropping settings in VLC Player.

Using iStock’s Video Editor to Crop Videos

Screenshot of how to start cropping a video in iStock Video Editor.

Try the iStock Video Editor

The iStock Video Editor is a better alternative to help you better crop and rotate your videos. It helps you choose from several video formats that deliver exactly what you need for the specific location you want to place the video. It also helps you to preserve the professional feel of your video while allowing you to get the dimensions and positions you want to best convey your message.

iStock’s video editor is easy to use. It boasts an intuitive interface and a plethora of video editing features. Here are the steps you need to follow to crop and rotate your video smoothly and efficiently.

Open the iStock Video Editor

First, go to the main page of the video editor.

Upload Your Video

As you open the video editor, select “Assets” and then “Upload” to upload your target video.  

How to upload a video in iStock Video Editor.

Edit the Video

Screenshot of how to edit a video in iStock Video Editor.

 

Now, choose “Edit” in the left side corner. The iStock video editor is optimized and preset to crop your videos automatically based on the location you want to post it.

 

Screenshot of how to choose an aspect ratio in iStock Video Editor.

  • The “Wide” format is optimized to crop your video for YouTube and Facebook.

 

Screenshot of how to obtain a wide aspect ratio in iStock Video Editor.

  • The “Square” format is optimized to crop your video for Instagram and Facebook feeds and the like.

 

Screenshot of how to obtain a square aspect ratio in iStock Video Editor.

  • The “Vertical” format is optimized to crop your video for Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. You should mainly use this format if you intend to use your video in stories, Instagram Reels, or YouTube shorts.

Screenshot of how to obtain a vertical aspect ratio in iStock Video Editor.

Save and Download

Select “Save & Preview” to export the video out of the editor. You will be able to view it before download.

Screenshot of how to save and download your video in iStock Video Editor.

Cropping and Rotating Video FAQ

Woman working on a laptop and a tablet.

1390859489, Sopradit

Can You Crop Video Using an iPhone?

Yes, it is possible and you can do it from the Photos application on your iPhone. You will need to locate the video in the Photos app, open it and select “Edit” in the top right corner. You can then choose the crop icon. This feature will give you the ability to crop your video and rotate it as you see fit.

Can You Crop and Rotate Video Using an Android?

The Google Photos app allows you to edit photos and videos. To edit your videos, play the video and tap the screen while the video is playing to bring up more options. Select the edit button in the bottom middle. Then choose “Crop” to crop the video. Rotate it by choosing the “Rotate” button.

Can I Export Vertical Videos From iMovie?

To date, iMovie does not have an option to export vertical videos from the application. However, there is a workaround. You can edit vertical videos using the iMovie application in combination with the Photos application on your iPhone.

Is There a Windows 10 Built-In App to Crop My Video?

No. There is still no built-in video editor with a cropping feature on any Windows 10 computer. But there is a workaround. You can install free software, such as VLC, Windows Movie Maker, etc., to get your cropping task started. Better yet, you can do it online using an application like iStock’s video editor.

Do I Need Adobe Premiere Pro to Crop and Rotate My Videos?

That’s a big no. Even if you don’t have a video editing tool, you can still rotate and crop your videos using the built-in video program on your computer like iMovie, VLC, or Photo.

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