How to crop and trim video files as easily as possible?
April 12, 2021 2:37 PM   Subscribe

I need help cropping and trimming a few video files and not sure where to start.

I have a few files in .mkv format that I need to edit. The files are 1gb - 3gb in size and are several hours long. The videos are a screencapture of a live presentation. The presentation plays in a smaller window over my desktop and I'd like to simply crop the video so my desktop isn't visible in the background. Also, the screen recording continues for several minutes after the presentation has ended. So, I'd like to trim the excess video. As someone completely new to video editing, can someone recommend the simplest way for me to do this? I've tried googling and I'm confused by the options and I've tried hiring someone and two people have agreed to do it and then backed out at the last minute.
posted by NoneOfTheAbove to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
What operating system are you using?
posted by demiurge at 2:55 PM on April 12, 2021

Response by poster: Windows 10
posted by NoneOfTheAbove at 2:56 PM on April 12, 2021

Best answer: I think the simplest way to do this for free is to use Handbrake. There are many tutorials online to use Handbrake, but for this, what you want to do is open the preview window and adjust the custom crop parameters under the "Dimensions" tab until the preview looks right.

The default settings for everything else will probably be what you want. However, re-encoding an multi-hour long video can take some time (30 minutes, heavily dependent on how powerful your CPU is). You may also get some quality loss. but there is no way to avoid this. It may not be noticeable.
posted by demiurge at 3:07 PM on April 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, sorry, I noticed you wanted to crop the time of the video too. You can do that in the same software by changing the Range field to "Seconds" and making it go from 0 to whatever ending time you want.
posted by demiurge at 3:08 PM on April 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

For another option, I've been happy with Avidemux. I've only really done rotation correction and trimming, but I looked briefly to see if it has a crop filter and it does. Their website has fairly thorough documentation that should get you what you need.
posted by subocoyne at 3:28 PM on April 12, 2021

And another option: As a complete novice I was able to wrangle the program Shotcut to edit videos after watching just a few tutorial videos.

For specific questions navigating the program, I've had great luck just typing the questions into Google. However, I have only worked on time lapse videos no more than 12 minutes in length.
posted by Glinn at 3:34 PM on April 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

As a free option on Win10, you could go with OpenShot Video Editor. Kevin Stratvert recently made a tutorial on how to use OpenShot to edit a video together (or take it apart, as in your case). You could just skip the parts that aren't relevant to you if you're in a hurry too.
posted by Kinski's Ghost at 3:58 PM on April 12, 2021

The inbuilt Windows 10 Photos app comes with a replacement for Windows Movie Maker baked in. Maybe give that a whirl?
posted by flabdablet at 12:07 AM on April 13, 2021

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