If you have a screen recording with distracting UI elements, black borders, and other unnecessary visuals, Google Photos It can help you cut out all the unwanted stuff from the video, leaving you only the important stuff.
The Google Photos crop tool also has an accompanying rotate function that can help you tilt a video a few degrees to match the horizon line, rotate a video because you shot it in landscape instead of portrait, or forward a video for an interesting effect, like when using angle Dutch for increased tension.
Your smartphone probably already has built-in tools for video cropping and rotating, you can go ahead and use these tools if you use these photo/video apps on a regular basis. There are versions available in Apple Photos for iOS and iPadOS and Samsung Gallery on Galaxy devices, to name a few. Google Photos is the default photo and video editor on Google Pixel phones, but it’s also available on other smartphones.
If you prefer Google Photos over other photo/video editors, the crop and rotate tools are easy to use. There is little difference between the Android and iOS versions of Google Photos, but the Android app has some additional tweaks that you can make.
Open Google Photos and select the video you want to edit. If the toolbar does not appear immediately, tap the screen to bring it up. Next, click on “Modify” (the button that looks like a set of adjustment sliders). By default, the editor opens the Snipping Tool. If you want to remove a little fat from the ends of your video before cropping or rotating it, move the end points inward on the timeline to the desired locations.
To access the crop and rotate tools, click or scroll to “Crop” in the editing options near the bottom. In the preview, you’ll see four white dots, one in each corner of the video. Click and drag the corners to move horizontally and/or vertically to where you want to crop. You can also click and drag from the edge of the video to move the crop border horizontally or vertically.
Under the playback controls, you’ll find the tilt adjustment bar, which lets you tilt the video in the cropping area between -45 degrees and 45 degrees in one-degree increments. This gives you precise control over the rotation, so you can make slight adjustments. If you want to rotate the video by 90 degrees, click the rotate button under the tilt bar to rotate the video counterclockwise.
The Crop menu has a few tricks other than the basic crop, rotate, and tilt tools discussed above. You can also adjust the aspect ratio of the video, distort the image, and use the auto-correction option.
- panel aspect ratio: “Free” is the default preset, which leaves the cropping contour free-form, so there are no restrictions. You can lock the cropping perimeter to a certain ratio, such as the original ratio of the video. Other options include 5:4, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, and each is inverted.
- Transformation: This tool is Android only and allows you to adjust the perspective by dragging each angle. You’ll see an enlarged preview at every point for subtle adjustments. To see how the video is skewed before saving, tap and hold the video preview, which displays the distorted view until you let go. You can use the playback controls to play the video during a preview or search for a specific frame to use as a reference. Click Done to exit back into the editor. (More information.)
- Re-Set: If you want to start over with any of the crop adjustments, click this button. It will not affect any other editors except those available in the Crop menu.
- to me: You won’t always see this option, but when Google Photos detects something in the video that it thinks should straighten out, you’ll see “Auto” appear. Clicking on it will automatically rotate the shots in the area that was cropped. To undo it, click on the Reset button mentioned above or reset the video manually.
Once you are done with your edits, click on the “Save a copy” button. Here’s the result of the example above, cutting out all the unnecessary UI elements.
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