I have some videos that were recorded at 720p which I'd like to edit in iMovie. They're saved as MP4s. When I import one and view it in the media browser, it looks fine. As soon as I add one to a movie project, the aspect ratio changes to... something else. The video gets trimmed at the top and bottom, and people's heads get cut off in some shots. How can I add these videos to a project and keep the entire frame? Ideally I'd have a movie project that matched the resolution of the clips. If not, can it be letterboxed to at least not lose any of the existing content?

I'm using iMovie 10.1.8. Thanks.

I'm not looking to crop, I'm basically looking to prevent unwanted cropping. In case there's any confusion, here are a couple of screen shots. The goal is to end up with a movie where nobody's head and feet get cropped out.

If I play the clip from the media browser, it might look like this:

enter image description here

If I add this clip to the movie, the same shot looks like this:

enter image description here

  • 1
    You can Final Cut Pro 10 on eBay for like $20. It has a lot more options then iMovie. Just my reccomendation.
    – William
    Mar 26, 2018 at 5:10
  • Is this not possible in iMovie then? Mar 26, 2018 at 15:34
  • 1
    Scaling is quite easy in FCPX. Yes it may be possible but I do not have your version nor know how to do it iMovie. Really old versions you could mess with it in settings or by importing it from your movie folder I think. I got fed up with iMovie that is all. It was to glitchy.
    – William
    Mar 26, 2018 at 15:39
  • Thanks, I'm hoping someone will have an answer, positive or negative, about what I have first. Mar 26, 2018 at 15:47

2 Answers 2


In the crop settings you should be able to select an automatic crop option or resize the video by grabbing and moving the edge of the video.

  • 1
    That looks like what I'd want if I wanted to remove part of the video, but the problem is the reverse-- the video is cropped at the top and bottom, and I don't want that to happen. I'm looking for a "no really don't crop" option. Maybe I don't understand this feature? Mar 27, 2018 at 3:18
  • @TomHarrington I haven't used iMovie in a long time (I've graduated into FCPX) but I believe you can resize it to make it smaller. I hope that works.
    – Srevilo
    Mar 27, 2018 at 5:01
  • The crop feature should allow you to resize the video, making it smaller or larger. Mar 27, 2018 at 14:47

Here's what I figured out. I'm posting it here in case someone else needs it, because I found it a little confusing.

  1. Import the movie to the project but don't add it to the movie yet (so it's not in the movie timeline at the bottom yet). At this point you can preview it and see the full resolution.
  2. Add the movie clip to the timeline. Initially it will be cropped as in my first screenshot above.
  3. Select the newly added clip in the timeline at the bottom. Then go back to the preview at top-right to adjust the settings.
  4. Click on the crop icon and set the style to "fit" (the default is "crop to fill", which produces the second screenshot above).

You can now export the movie without the unwanted cropping.

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