Learning how to crop a video in Premiere Pro is very easy and anyone who’s starting out as a video editor should know how to do it.
I am going to break it down for you into 5 steps that are easy to follow.
By the way, you can crop photos in the exact same way as you crop videos.
Alright, so as you may or may not know me and my team are editing videos remotely for clients.
If you want someone else to crop the video for you, you can check out our services here.
Or you can hit me up directly and I can hook you up with a discount.
But enough with the shamless self promotion and advertising.
Let’s get back on topic.
Here is a very short video explaining how to crop a video in Premiere 2020.
And for those of you who want the step by step text tutorial, we have that below as well, with updated screen shots for Premiere Pro 2023.
Part 1: How do you crop a video in Premiere Pro?
How can crop a video using Premiere by following the 5 steps presented below.
Step 1 – Import the file you want to crop
First and foremost import the video in Premiere Pro.
To do that go to File > Import and just pick the video file you want to crop, or hit CTRL+I on your keyboard.
Or, you can create a sequence and just drag and drop your video on the timeline inside Premiere Pro.
Step 2 – Search for the crop effect
Go to the Effects panel, and select the Video Effects > Transform > Crop.
Or simply do a search for the work “crop” and the Crop effct will pop up.
Step 3 – Applying the crop effect to the video
Do apply the crop to your video just drag and drop the crop fx on top your clip on the timeline.
Alternatively you can double click the crop effect while the video clip is selected on the timline.
When you see the little fx square turn purple the crop effect has been applied to your video.
Don’t panic if you see no changes to the aspect of your video.
You need to start adjusting the settings of the crop effect to see the cropping being applied to the video.
Step 4 – Cropping the video
Next go to the Effects Control panel.
There you should see the controls or settings, whatever you want to call them for the Crop effect.
The Crop effect in Premiere Pro allows you to start cropping a video from each side: left, right, top or bottom.
The settings of each of these 4 sides are controlled in percentages.
0% means there’s nothing cropped, while 100% means it’s cropped all the way to the other side. If that makes any sense?
Here’s the clip with cinematic bars by cropping the top and bottom.
Step 5 – Automate the crop effect
You might notice that each of these 4 controls also has a little stopwatch next to it which allows you to automate the Crop effect.
So it can start from 0% and go to 50% over a certain period of time, for example.
You can adjust the percentages like this:
Or you can use the handles to drag each side of the video, like this:
There are really creative ways to use this, as we are about to see down below in just a bit.
Part 2: The crop stretch feature
As you might have noticed, there’s a little check box right there which says “Zoom“.
If you click on that, Premiere stretches the video so that it fills out the entire screen after you cropped a chunk out of it.
I find it useless for the most part, to be frank.
But there is one really cool way you can turn that into a really, really cool effect.
Here’s one way it looks, depeding on the settings.
Part 3: Other creative ways to actually use the crop effect
Even though the crop effect in Adobe’s Premiere might seem dull and boring, there are a few ways you can use it to make your videos look cooler than they really are. Joking! I know your videos are cool anyway.
Here are a handful of creative ways you can use the crop effect in Premiere Pro to ramp up the quality and feel of your video editing:
- Cinematic bars (cinematic bar reveal & cut to b-roll)
- Split screens
- Clone people
- Slide transition
- Text reveal
Hopefully I will find the time to demonstrate all these in a new YouTube video.
Part 4: Cropping and aspect ratio
As a video editor you will learn that the crop effect comes in very handy when you want to change the aspect ratio of your videos.
Say you have a regular 16:9 video and you want to post it on Instagram or TikTok, or any other social platform that requires the video to be in a specific aspect ratio such as vertical or square formats.
9:16 and 1:1, or 4:5 are common aspect ratios use on social.
By using the crop effect you can basically take any video and turn it in any aspect ratio you want.
Here are some examples of how you can do that inside Premiere with the crop effect.
Vertical format (great for YouTube Shorts, or Instagram)
Make sure you also adjust the resolution of your sequence and export to match the resolution of the cropped video.
Cropping videos is very useful and can be done very easily. It’s one of the basic video editing techniques that any upcoming video editor must know.
Nevertheless it can be used in many other creative ways to spice up your edits and step up the look of your videos.
I hope this has been informative, thank you for reading.
Cristian Stanciu is a freelance video editor, owner, and post-production coordinator of Veedyou Media – a company offering video editing services to videographers, marketing agencies, video production studios, or brands all over the globe.