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I've got a 720p video, that contains a picture that's only 4:3, so the edges left and right stay empty/black.

I want to cut of the left and right so that video is 4:3. How do I do this in Windows?

  • Input: WMV, 1280x720px
  • Output: WMV, AVI or MPEG, 960x720px
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Download Handbrake.

Open your source video, then select Picture Settings. The following is a screenshot from OS X, but it's similar on Windows.

Your source is 1280px wide. You need 960px, thus 320px to get rid of. This means you want to crop 160px at each side of the video.

enter image description here

Choose your export options as you like, but you should know that by doing this, you will lose a fair amount of video quality, as the video will be re-encoded. This is why you should probably use the highest quality settings possible (i.e. the High Profile, with h.264 as codec.

Also note that cropping and destructively editing a video because it was poorly encoded (i.e. with black borders, "pillarboxed") is probably the wrong approach. Consider switching to a playing software that allows you to selectively crop the video, such as VLC.

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With a recent version of ffmpeg, you can achieve this effect from the command-line:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -filter:v 'crop=ih/3*4:ih' \
-c:v libx264 -crf 23 -preset verfast -c:a copy output.mp4

See the ffmpeg filter documentation for more information about the crop filter.

The -crf 23 -preset veryfast are libx264 options that set the quality. Basically: a lower CRF=better quality, but larger file. A faster preset means faster encoding, but a larger file. See this page on the excellent FFmpeg wiki for details of their use.

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A little explanation would be fine. The docu is quite good but a pain to read. What is the meaning of -crf 23? –  ManuelSchneid3r Aug 19 '13 at 13:12
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