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How to crop a video on Windows 10 with Handbrake

Video editing apps aren’t uncommon but even paid apps don’t have a full set of video editing features. The feature many might miss is a crop feature. If you need to crop a video and you’re on Windows 10 system, Handbrake is the tool for the job. It’s powerful so your video quality won’t suffer, and it’s free.

Crop vs Trim

The feature you commonly find in video editors is a ‘Trim’ feature whereas you need to ‘crop’ a video. The difference is that trim applies to the playable length of a video. If you have a ten second video, and you remove the last two seconds from it, you’ve ‘trimmed’ your video. If you have a video that is 1920x1080px, and you remove/cut out the bottom 400px from it, you’ve cropped it.

Crop should also not be confused with resizing. Resizing keeps the whole video intact but reduces its resolution. Crop cuts a part out of it.

Crop a video with Handbrake

Open Handbrake and add the video you want to crop.  Once the video has been added, go to the Dimensions tab. Click the Preview button at the top (highlighted in the screenshot below).

The preview window will help you see how much of the video you’ve cropped out. On the main Handbreak window, you will see four fields marked Top, Bottom, Left, and Right. Use the arrows or click inside the field to enter a value in pixels. This is the amount of video you will crop out i.e., remove from the video. If you leave a field at zero, e.g., the top field, no part of the video will removed from there.

When you’re done, enter where you want to save the file and then click the ‘Start Encode’ button at the top. This will begin the cropping process.

Cropping is permanent; you cannot get back parts of a video that have been cut out of it. It is, again, not the same as resizing a video where, you keep all of it and just reduce its resolution. It’s like trimming a video where if you cut out a section of it, you cannot get it back if you overwrite the original file. When cropping videos, it’s a good idea to always save the crop version as a copy of the original file until you’re done with the project.

It’s worth mentioning that Handbrake doesn’t report the correct resolution for videos so make sure you know the real resolution of the video before you crop it. It will make it easier to figure out how much of the video to cut out. For more help, take a screenshot of the full video and use an image editor to figure out how much to cut out. Image editors have better cropping tools.

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