QuickTime Crop Video: A Quick and Easy Tutorial to Help You Crop Videos

A camera is placed at the laptop and desktop while a QuickTime crop video is being filmed
Photographer: Nubelson Fernandes | Source: Unsplash

If you want to use QuickTime crop video on your Apple device, full disclosure: there’s not necessarily a quick or easy way to do it. We recently posted an article about how to crop iMovie square videos, and if you’ve already checked that out, then you’ll know that in general, there’s no real straightforward method for cropping videos on a Mac. These two programs don't make the best video croppers.

All that said, let’s get to how to use Quicktime to crop video on your Mac if that’s how you want to do it!

What You Need to Know Before Diving In

Something you need to know before we get started is that you can’t crop a video using the QuickTime player that comes on your Mac system. If you want to go this route using QuickTime, unfortunately, you’re going to have to pay to do so (it’s around $30 to upgrade your QuickTime media player to QuickTime Pro). And this isn’t the only program that you’ll need...

The other video cropping tool you’re going to need is Adobe Photoshop. If you’re already a Photoshop wizard or semi-pro, this won’t be a problem for you since you might already know how to handle the first task of creating a mask file. But if not, there will be a bit of a learning curve here.

So, step one would be to upgrade your QuickTime player. The second step would be to download Photoshop on your Mac. After that...

QuickTime Crop Video – The Four Steps

1. Grab a Screenshot of Your Video Clip

A mask file will be required for QuickTime to crop your video. This is where QuickTime Pro comes in To make a mask file, you’ll need to take a screenshot of a specific frame of the video. To copy a frame image in QuickTime Pro, open the video and select Edit > Copy.

2. Make a Mask in Photoshop

The next step is to open Photoshop and start a new project by selecting File > New. Then, paste the previously copied image. After that, select the area you want with the Rectangular Marquee Tool and fill it with black. The space outside the black box needs to be filled in with white. Finally, save the file as a GIF or TIFF.

3. Put on the Mask

Step number three is to go back to QuickTime. Pro From the toolbar, select Window > Show Movie Properties > Visual Settings. You can then import the mask file by selecting Choose to import.

4. Save the Cropped Video

In this final step, only the chosen area appears in your video after the mask has been applied. To save the cropped QuickTime video to the location of your choice, select File > Export.

Is There a Free Way to Do a Quicktime Crop Video?

There is, but not without downloading another software. If you’re a loyal QuickTime user, but don’t want to spend $30 on a QuickTime crop video, let’s take a look at this QuickTime alternative.

For this, you’ll need to download MacX Video Converter Pro. This program is an absolutely free download to crop any video.

For the first step, you’ll have to download this free video cropper software onto your Mac. Pay attention to your operating system since this program works in Big Sur, Catalina, and Monterey versions of macOS 12.

Next, you can either drag and drop your video file or click the Add Video button to load it. On the main interface, tap the scissor-shaped Edit icon (that can be found next to the video info). You can then crop videos on your Mac by clicking Crop & Expand and checking Enable Crop. Select the video frame you want and move the marquee box to highlight it.

The third step is to export the cropped video into the format you desire. Depending on what you plan to do with the video, this will vary. There are presets available for iPhone, and iPad, as well as for uploading to social media. MP4 will likely be the option you’ll want to go with. Then, click Run to export your video clips.

The Difference Between Trimming a Video and Cropping a Video File

By cropping a video clip, you can remove unwanted areas (like an unsightly background or an unwanted finger of the camera lens. Or you can alter its dimensions so that the video fits within a specific area. Basically, cropping lets you have a bit of control over what parts of your video viewers see. It can also be used to change the aspect ratio of a video clip. With trimming, on the other hand, you are deleting the beginning and/or end of a clip while maintaining the original dimensions.

How to Trim Videos Using QuickTime Editing Tools

If what you’re looking to do is actually trim your video versus crop it, trimming in QuickTime is really similar to how you would trim a video on your iPhone or iPad.

To do this, you first want to go up to File > Edit > Trim. Then choose the section of your video frame that you want to crop. To crop, you’ll simply drag the yellow trimming bar. The part that stays highlighted between the two yellow parts is the section that will be saved.

Is There an Easier Way to Use QuickTime to Crop a Video?

Simply put, no. It’s just not possible to crop a video within QuickTime itself. And cropping a video in iMovie is not the answer, either. That’s still just as complex. Although using QuickTime Pro to trim a video is actually pretty practical, using this program to crop videos is definitely low on our list of suggested video editors. There are more options out there for video editing. Whether you want to crop a video for social media or resize a movie for any other reason.

We’ve discussed a few alternatives in our article about iMovie Square Video cropping. With these free and easy builders and templates, cropping videos is simple, even for those without all of the technical knowledge. For your convenience, we’re listing our top five favorites again:

Thanks for reading and we hope this was helpful! If you have any video needs you’d like to discuss please contact us here for a free evaluation.