Why should you crop a video in Premiere Pro? There are a few good reasons to use the crop effect in Adobe Premiere during video editing. For example, there may be a reason to use the crop tool because you don’t want to have a certain part of the video frame to be visible, like a stain of a raindrop that you forgot to wipe the lens. Another reason can be to create a letterbox (cinematic bars) for your cinematic short film to get that widescreen aspect ratio. Also, when you want to fit 2 or more video clips in a split-screen, the crop tool will be your best friend to accomplish this. Cropping videos in Adobe Premiere Pro is easy and fast to do when you know which steps you need to take. In this blog, I will explain everything about how to crop a video in Adobe Premiere Pro. Are you ready to learn something? Let’s start with the first step!

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Crop videos in Premiere Pro.

As mentioned in the introduction there can be several reasons to choose to crop your video. In the next steps, I will show you how to crop a video clip to get cinematic black bars for a widescreen ratio. Also, I will show you how to fit 2 video clips on a split-screen.


Cinematic Black Bars


Split Screen of 2 video clips

Import your video clips in Premiere Pro

To crop your video clip you need to import your content in your Project panel of Adobe Premiere Pro. Importing your video clips in Premiere Pro can be done in different ways. You can double click in your project panel, hit command i/control i for windows, or choose File > import.

How to add the video effect “crop” to your video clip?

Navigate to the “Effects” in your project panel and search for “crop” or click video effects > transform > crop.

How to use the “Crop Tool” to add Cinematic Black Bars ?

To create the cinematic black bars I advise to make use of an adjustment layer which you place above all video clips in your sequence where you want to apply the effect for. If you need help in how to add an adjustment layer to your sequence, read my other BLOG with the Premiere Pro tutorial on how to do this.

To crop a video in Adobe Premiere for the cinematic bars, drag the “crop” effect to your adjustment layer. Navigate to the effect controls panel and find Fx crop. You want to crop the top and bottom with 12% to realize the cinematic black bars for a widescreen ratio. With this percentage, you create an aspect ratio of 2.39.1 which is the standard ratio for cinemas.

Watch the video to see how to add an adjustment layer to crop cinematic black bars.

How to use the “Crop Tool” to make a split-screen of 2 video clips?

Drag the 2 video clips you want to split in your project timeline. First place them next to each other. We’re going to split the screen horizontally, so decide which clip you want to have on top, and which one you want to have at the bottom. Knowing, you have to split the screen between the 2 clips, every clip will cover 50% of the screen.

Drag the crop effect on the clip you want to have on the top, and decide which part of the clip you want to show. I always choose to have the main subject of the clip visible. In my case, I want to have the left clip at the bottom and the right clip at the top. The subject (the bridge) from the top video clip is located a bit more at the upper part of the screen. So for this one, I crop the top 15% and the bottom 35%, what makes a total crop of 50%.

Watch the video to see how to make a split-screen for 2 video clips.

Thereafter you move the clip which you want to have on the top, above the other clip in the timeline. In my case (see video above) you will see the top cropped video clip covers the other clip partly. To correct this, select the top clip in your timeline and navigate to the effects control panel. Under motion > Position you can move the clip in the right position. The advantage of not cropping the bottom clip is you can move this one as well to get the subject of the clip in the right position. That’s it, there is your split-screen!

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Cropping videos in Davince Resolve or Final Cut Pro

In this article, I only shared the steps for cropping a video in Adobe Premiere Pro, the software I use for editing videos. If you use another program like Davinci Resolve or Final Cut Pro and you want to know how to crop a video please have a look at the following pages:


Do you want to learn more?

I hope you learned a lot about how to crop a video in Adobe Premiere Pro.  If you still have any questions don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section!

Do you want to learn everything about videography and how to start making better travel videos? Then you definitely need to check out our HANDBOOK FOR SHOOTING TRAVEL VIDEOS. Discover what equipment you can use. Understand all technical information and let us inspire you how to be creative in making great looking cinematic travel videos!

Do you need more information about Adobe Premiere Pro? Read my other blogs with Adobe Premiere Pro tutorials!

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