Cut off black bars on a video

Black bars usually appear on the top and bottom of videos when its aspect ratio is different from the display of your computer, mobile phone or TV set. Sometimes the black bars display on the left/right sides of videos. 4:3 and 16:9 are the two most popular aspect ratios nowadays. We have this issue covered in the following tutorial to change video aspect ratio between 16:9 and 4:3 on computer. Especially the 16:9 aspect ratio which is perfect for most instances. Most smartphones record videos in 16:9 aspect ratio by default with the option to change it to 4:3 or else. Most social networks recommend videos in 16:9, such as YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. Anyway, can I cut off the top and bottom black bars on a video? You need to find out and correct the mismatch of aspect ratio between your video file and device. This can be done using a video editor that provides the video cropping tool. Most advanced video editors can do that, such as Filmora video editor. In this quick guide, we will show you how to correct video aspect ratio and remove black bars from your video using this program on computer.

Note that some videos have inbuilt black bars. People may add black bars to top and bottom of a video to make it more movie-like. In such case the black area shows up even if your device display or monitor has the same aspect ratio with the video. Not all people consider this black bar at the top and bottom as annoying or unnecessary. Some even think the black bars sort of enhance the viewing experience a little, they like the black border above or below videos.

Run the video editor on your PC or Mac. It is available for both Windows and Mac users. We are using its Windows version in this demo. Click Import > Import Media Files to browse to the video saved on your computer hard drive and add it to the video editor. It is compatible with all major video formats, such as MP4, WMV, MOV, avchd (MTS, M2TS), DV, MPG, VOB, and more. After that you can find it in the Media library at the upper left section of the movie editor program.You can right click on the video in the Media library, then choose Properties from the context menu to find out its original aspect ratio. Drag the video from the Media library to the timeline at the lower section. Then right click on it in the timeline and choose Crop and Zoom, see below figure.

crop, zoom videos using filmora video editor on pc

In the pop-up dialogue, the Crop tab opens automatically. Here you will see two video preview windows side by side. You make changes to the original video in the left player window and the changes will reflect in the right player window instantly. You can select aspect ratio either 16:9 or 4:3, manually input the number of pixels or drag the borders in the left player window to select the part to remain and the rest will be cut off. The manual selection and cropping method allows you to keep or delete any specific part of a video.

crop video to 16:9, 4:3 or any aspect ratio using filmora for windows

What will be deleted from a video when you crop?

As we mentioned above, the main reason to the black bars is the mismatch of the aspect ratio of the video and screen. Changing the aspect ratio will cut off part of the content from the source movie. For example, if you convert a video from 16:9 to 4:3, you will miss out on the sides, if you convert a video from 4:3 to 16:9, you will delete content from either top, bottom or both of the source video.

In some cases, the black bars may be added to the source video as part of it on purpose. They are the inbuilt black bars. To crop these videos however you may only delete only those black bars.

Alternative way to remove black bars, borders from your video

In a related article, we discussed how you can crop videos on PC and Mac using a professional video converter so you can get rid of any unwanted part from the video.