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.
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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