Learn to Crop & Trim Videos in Final Cut Pro (Create Square Videos)

Final Cut Pro 06/02/2022 3 min read

Square videos are a standard format, especially for social media users. You can create videos in a standard horizontal format and rely on social media platforms to crop the video for you, but you’ll have much more control over your compositions if you create them in a square format from the start. This tutorial will show you how to crop and trim videos for the perfect 1:1 composition.

Part 1: How to Crop and Trim Videos in FCPX

Now you’ve created a square video sequence; you can begin editing your clips. As you drag them to the timeline, you’ll notice that they don’t fit the space you have created. Depending on your project’s individual needs, you might want to resize and position as you go or edit your sequence first.

We’re using 2 fantastic clips from Motion Array: Holding a Sparkling Cake (horizontal video) and Serving Manhattan Cocktail (portrait video).

  1. In the Project browser, find the clip you want to add.
  2. Drag the clip to the timeline and trim it by dragging the ends.
  3. Select the clip and go to the Inspector; if you can’t find it, go to Window > Show in Workspace > Inspector.
  4. Scroll to the very bottom of the Inspector, and under Spatial Conform, choose Fill.
  5. At the bottom of the Media Viewer, select the Transform icon.
  6. Drag the clip around the Media Viewer to position it as required.
  7. If you’d like to scale up the footage further, use the Scale settings under the Transform tools in the Inspector.
  8. Complete these steps for each clip until your sequence is complete.

Part 2: How to Create a Square Format Video

Square videos are a 1:1 aspect ratio, but you still have complete control over the resolution your square video will use. Creating a square video starts with the sequence settings; once you know how to set up your 1:1 sequence, your editing process is similar to standard 16:9 videos.

  1. Create a new library for your project, then import your footage.
  2. Go to File > New > Project, and a new project window will pop up.
  3. You’ll need to edit the Custom Video settings in the New Project panel. This might be already visible, but if not, click the Use Custom Settings button.
  4. Give your project a name. If you are creating multiple versions of your project, it’s a good idea to include Square in your project name.
  5. Alongside the Video settings, click the dropdown menu and choose Square.
  6. Under Video Resolution, choose your desired footage quality.
  7. Hit OK to create the sequence, and you will see a square canvas has been created for your project.

Top Tip: You can use the same method to create portrait videos! Just choose Verticle from the Video Settings menu.

Part 3: Add Motion Graphics to Square Videos

Adding your footage to a square sequence is pretty straightforward, but motion graphic elements can be a little tricky. Depending on how your motion graphics have been created, you might find they don’t behave as expected. Let’s look at a couple of troubleshooting techniques for your motion elements.

Sometimes you might place a title element into a square video, and it sits offscreen or is obscured in some way. The most obvious solution would be to drag the title across the screen, but this can cause problems with the overall composition. 

Next, you might try using the Video Position settings, but this can create a cropped edge to your title. Instead, go to the Title settings and adjust the Master Position and Scale for the title. 

Let’s look at an example using the incredible Motion Array Titles Pack.

Part 4: How to Publish Square Videos in FCPX

Once you have finished your sequence, you can export and publish them. A huge advantage of square videos is that they can be published across all leading social media platforms.

  1. With your finish sequence open in the timeline, go to File > Export. Or press Cmd+E on your keyboard.
  2. In the Export File panel, choose the Settings tab.
  3. Under Format, choose Web Hosting.
  4. As the Sequence is already Square, the Video Resolution options will only give you 1:1 Aspect Ratio settings; choose the resolution for your final file. 
  5. Hit the Next button and choose a name and location for your exported file.
  6. Click the Save button and wait for Final Cut Pro to export your video. If you want to see the progress, press Cmd+9 on your keyboard.

Cropping your videos to a square aspect ratio is all about the first steps of setting up your sequence. Unlike FCP Cropping Tools, which allow you to remove the edges of your video for split-screen composition, Spatial Conform cropping adjusts your clips to match the sequence aspect ratio. Now you know how to set up different aspect ratios in Final Cut Pro, you can create any format you need.