How do you crop, ultimately changing the size and aspect ratio?

The rectangular mask is almost what I want, but that leaves behind empty black areas surrounding the area I want to keep in the final video. Is there a way to reduce the video to just the area I select with the rectangular mask, as in ?


  • Have you tried scaling the layer?

    With your layer/clip selected, click on the Controls tab, then Transformation.  The Scale property is what you're after.  Leaving the little chain icon blue will scale both dimensions equally.

  • I don't want to scale either. I'll give a picture:

  • Have you tried inverting the mask? :)

  • So... you want to dynamically shrink the video from, say, 1920x1080 to 640x480 just for a single shot?  I'm pretty sure that's impossible.  At least in Hitfilm.

  • edited September 2016

    It is a little unclear exactly what you are trying to accomplish but going by your visual example "desired" it looks like you have a source video of some larger dimension than you want in your results. Similar to what Steve mentioned, like going from 1920x1080 to 640x480. Editors don't change the project output dimension on the fly and this includes Hitfilm.

    So assume you want 640x480 out and your source is 1920x1080. Setup your Hitfilm project or composite to your output dimension. 640x480 in this assumption. Then place the larger media into the smaller timeline. Hitfilm will be automatically "cropping" the source to the output dimension and you can move the source frame around to get the proper 640x480 view you are looking for in the larger source. In other words, Hitfilm is only showing what of the source actually fits in the output dimensions.

    As you have seen, if you mask, then you have empty/blank space outside the mask. If you want the masked area to then fill the project/composite dimensions you can scale it to fit as necessary, If you want to keep the masked size you can move the masked piece around the to a new position if that is what you desire.

    Lots of options depending on how you are intending to use the result.

  • That's the ticket Norman, thank you. I saw the option to change the dimensions in the Export menu but I thought perhaps there might be a cropping tool like in Paint rather than having to type in numbers.

  • Wow, that's really a lot of trouble. Even if it worked, which it did not for me.

    I'm new at video editing, but I would have thought that being able to crop and resize a clip would be pretty much of a required feature. I'm surprised that HitFilm is unable to do that.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @LU7jVs8 you and @asfdhjsdf are making a fundamental error in your assumptions and workflow approach.

    Video editing is fundamentally different from photo editing. Photo editing is focused on a specific, single image. While there are guidelines for resolutions and print sizes, there are no firm rules. Much photo editing is destructive--you fundamentally change the pixels in the image permanently. You can independently change the canvas and media size.

    Now, let me try to explain in photo editing terms. Video editing is different in that there are actually firm rules for canvas size (480i/p 720p 1080i/p, 4k,etc) and frame rates (24, 25, 30, 50, 60, etc...). Each frame must have the same canvas size.  If you do not follow these rules, your output will either look terrible or fail completely. Because a single media clip can be animated and used multiple times. All tools in an editor or VFX program are non-destructive. It is impossible to do a destructive edit. 

    Cropping is, by definition, a destructive edit--this is impossible. You are throwing away pixels from the source clip (impossible), and trying to automatically change the canvas size, which, for a final timeline violates canvas size rules. In a compositing timeline, it's usually (99+%) undesirable behavior. 

    Now, photo editors have non-destructive masks and a pen tool. And Hitfilm has masks, the pen tool (freehand mask), and a selection of specific keyer and matting tools. 

    Additionally, when a layer/clip is active and the selection tool is active, then you're always in free transform mode. You can slide and rotate at will with the widget. And resize by dragging a corner. 

    There is a dev-moderated Wishlist thread here:

    You can request a "Crop" tool, but it would be more likely to become  a "Crop Effect," which would be a rectangular mask, followed by an automatic resale to fill the comp (three options in the type menu, fill vert, fill horiz, fill frame--does not preserve aspect ratio.). 


  • @Triem23

    Thank you for the information. Yes, video editing is a new paradigm for me. It's beginning to make more sense now. I still need more practice.

  •  I want to join to this topic too. How to do something like this: I want to crop fragment of video (picture from bigger picture) I mask it and want to add quad warp to it. Currently I see that quad warp is applicated to the full size video, not for only this part I masked. To be more clear.  I have video shot e.g street... ont the street is building. I want take this building fron this street and add quad warp only to corners of this bulding. How to do it? I hope my eanglish is understandable.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @studiodaisy Quad Warp always works on the full layer. 

    Solution, load the image you want to crop into its own Composite Shot (call this "Cropped."). Crop/mask. Center the part you've masked. Adjust size of the Comp so it's just bigger than the masked area. 

    Drag this Composite Shot into your main Comp as a layer. Add the Quad Warp to the "Cropped" layer.  

  • Thank you, but I try to do it as you described and I can't drag croped composit shot to another composit shot.
    I can only drag layer from one composit shot to another (main) composit shot, but it  gives me nothing. Is there any video tutorial?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Sorry, I could have been more detailed in my last response.

    If you drag a Composite Shot FROM THE MEDIA BIN into another Composite Shot (or Editor Timeline) then the comp you've dragged in should be treated as a single video layer. Dragging one Composite into another is called "Embedding."

    This is a Hitfilm 2 tutorial, so the interface is a little different, but this is still the best video discussion on embedding composites.

    Hope this helps. :)

  • > Cropping is, by definition, a destructive edit--this is impossible

    Actually, you can do this very easily in Camtasia, so no it's not impossible. You just need to pay for software that can do it. 

  • edited June 2

    @looeee Mike was talking about cropping in the context of HitFilm, not across all software.  In the context of HitFilm, cropping is impossible. The confusion comes when people use the term "crop" or "cropping" to refer to the end result that they want to achieve in HitFilm, when the tools that lead to that end result don't actually crop -- or permanently throw away -- any image information.  However, as Mike indicated, true cropping is destructive.  It permanently removes data.  However, nothing in HitFilm, or any other non-linear editor, is destructive.  Effects and filters and such only process image information in the context of the software.  The original file is not permanently changed as a result.


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