How To Crop Videos With Free Software

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 21, 2011
Updated • Mar 27, 2012
Music and Video, Tutorials, Video

I record game videos every now and then to upload them to the YouTube channel of one of my pet-project websites. I used to use Fraps for that in the beginning, but have switched in past months to the excellent MSI Afterburner which started supporting screen video recording in the latest beta versions. Both programs work similar, the core difference for me is that MSI Afterburner saves the recording to one single video file, while Fraps separates them in 4.x Gigabyte chunks on the hard drive. And since I'm using MSI Afterburner anyway for controlling the fan speed of my NVIDIA video card, it was the better choice for me.

Game resolutions can differ a lot. I recently recorded the first few levels of the Tower Defense game iBomber Defense which I purchased on Steam. The game has a maximum resolution of 1600x1200. The problem was that my desktop resolution is set to 1920x200. This meant ugly black bars on the left and right side of the video.

I first tried to remove the black bars using VirtualDub, the program that I normally use for video editing. This somehow did not work for me, even though I used the correct filter and selected the Cropping option there.

An alternative is Avidemux. The free open source software offers a similar functionality as VirtualDub. You can load one or multiple source videos into the program, convert them into a different format and apply filters to the resulting video. Among the available filters is the Crop tool which can be used to remove left, right, top or bottom space. This can be used to remove black borders from a video for instance.

Cropping Video

Download the free Avidemux software from the project website over at Sourceforge. The program is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

Install the software and load your video files via the file menu into the application. You load the first file via File > Open, and additional files via File > Append. You then have to replace the Copy action under Video with another codec. I have selected MPEG-4 ASP (Xvid) for instance.

Click on the Filters button afterwards and selected Transform > Crop from the selection.

Click on the Configure button afterwards. This opens a preview image of the video. Enter pixels in the left, right, top or bottom fields to crop the video. The values are immediately shown on the preview image so that it is easy to fine tune them. You can also try the auto crop button which picked up the black bars in my test video nicely.

Click on the OK button to accept the changes. You can then click on Preview in the previous configuration screen to see how the cropped video will look like. If you are satisfied close the window.

All you need to do know is to save the video via File > Save > Save Video or with the Ctrl-S shortcut. The process may take some time depending on the performance of your computer and the length of the video.

And that's all there is to it. This is without doubt one of the easiest way to crop a video.


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  1. Irene said on February 15, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    I imported a video and cropped the screen in filters to suit my needs. When I save the file it only saves 7 min 10 seconds. My video is 30 min long and My A and B points are the beginning and the end of the file. Any idea?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 15, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      What do the A and B values read on the main screen?

      1. Irene said on February 15, 2017 at 5:15 pm

        I closed everything and opened it again and now it saves the whole video.

        Thanks for the quick reply anyway :)

  2. Len said on March 13, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    I did exactly as you stated. I brought in an AVI file, tried every video output (1 at a time) , did a crop, saved the file. Every output had no video codec.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 13, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      What do you mean by that? That you cannot play the video?

  3. Nihir said on October 23, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Many years later this came in handy at the perfect time. Thank you for posting this.

  4. Swaffles said on December 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Thank you so much for the tutorial! It worked perfectly except that it altered the colors of my .avi file. It changed everyone’s skin color to blue and I think the tones have flattened? Is there a way to fix that?


  5. Kevin McGowan said on November 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    This worked perfectly (ubuntu 12.10). Thanks, I’d been pulling my hair out trying to get iMovie on a Mac to do this without destroying the video quality.

  6. TIPS said on November 22, 2012 at 4:07 am

    Video Crop and other settings are in:
    (above) Video > Filters…
    Then on main screen (The video will show normal, then saved, the filters will be applied)
    –Video Output:
    Mpeg4 AVC(x264)
    –Audio Output
    –Output Format
    MP4 Muxer
    >>>>>>>>NOTE: dont use copy on video/audio output because the filters don’t apply

  7. David Broome said on November 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Waste of time. Like everyone else I get what I started with but unplayable.

  8. Khurram said on November 10, 2012 at 2:40 am

    I followed all instructions, I can’t play the video in preview, when it saves, it’s only audio. Using Windows 7, please help…

  9. Khurram said on November 10, 2012 at 2:39 am

    I followed all instructions, I can’t play the video in preview, when it saves, it’s only audio. Using Windows 7, please help…

  10. *!:DECCAS:!* said on October 19, 2012 at 3:37 am

    I followed the instructions, but when i save it still has borders. I crop it, the black goes green, i click ok, i click close then save. I can’t preview it in avidemux as it just crashes. what am i doing wrong? (Windows 7)

  11. Mike J said on September 23, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Could not get it to work;kept crashing. Using XP SP3.

    1. rcloud7 said on July 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      yeah this didnt work at all, and your instructions are a bit off, the options/ menus GUI is not exactly like you describe

  12. Mike J said on September 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks for this, Martin, I will give it a try. I have been attempting to edit vids with Machete Lite sans success;the online instructions give a sort of overview and a description of the “buttons” but no real step-by-step; or maybe I am just too dumb.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 21, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      It works really nicely. YouTube on the other hand added borders again, haha, that felt kinda strange.

      1. prakash said on September 22, 2011 at 9:05 pm

        who are you bey

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