MPEG Streamclip - Editing, Cropping, and Scaling Videos

Young woman holding video camcorder connected to laptop, laughing
Tim Robberts / Getty Images

MPEG Streamclip is a great program for compressing and converting your video projects. In addition to the compressing and exporting features covered in parts 1 and 2 of this overview, MPEG Streamclip also includes simple nonlinear editing, cropping and scaling functions. These features make MPEG Streamclip a great tool for preparing your video clips to be edited in a nonlinear editing program, especially if your project uses video from many different sources that need to fit in the same sequence.

Editing with MPEG

The editing features in MPEG Streamclip are very similar to those in Quicktime. If you go to the Edit menu, you'll see a list of operations that includes Trim, Cut, Copy, Select All and Select In. If you have a really long video and only need a small portion, open up the video in MPEG Streamclip. Find the 'in point' for your desired video clip by scrubbing through the clip. You can also use the arrow keys to move through the clip one frame at a time for greater accuracy. If you know exactly where you want to set your in point, you can use the Edit > Go to Time feature which lets you type in the exact second and frame you'd like to start with.

Then, set the in point by hitting the 'i' key, or by going to Edit > Select In. Once you've done this, you can use the same steps to select the out point for your clip. Next, go to Edit > Trim, and MPEG Streamclip will create a new clip from your original video which will appear in the main window.

You can also copy and paste selections from your video to rearrange the sequence using a simple three-point edit. To do this, set the in and out points of the clip that you'd like to insert in a different spot within the video. Then, go to Edit > Copy, and move the playhead to the third point where you'd like to insert the clip.

Go to Edit > Paste, and you've just used MPEG Streamclip to perform a simple three-point edit that will be including in your video export.

Cropping and Scaling Videos with MPEG Streamclip

Do you have a great video clip that has someone's head obstructing part of the frame? Or is there a certain section of the video frame you'd like to emphasize while discarding the rest? Maybe you want to change your 1920x1080 video to 1270x720, or even 640x480? MPEG Streamclip includes cropping and scaling features in the Exporting window that allow you to carry out all of these functions.

Let's start with scaling your video, which comes in handy when you're uploading it to a video sharing website. Scaling your 1920x1080 HD video to 1270X720 is a great way to limit file size while maintaining playback quality. To do this, go to File > Export to and then look for the frame size options on the left side of the window. Make sure the export frame size you choose is the same aspect ratio as the original file to prevent warping or stretching - you'll be able to tell this by the ratios listed next to each of the options. Once you choose your size, you can hit preview to see what the export will look like to make sure that the image quality hasn't been compromised.

To crop a section out of a video clip, you'll need to use the Cropping tools at the bottom of the page. Say you took a video screen capture of your entire display, but now you want to make a video tutorial using just the relevant portion of capture. Select Cropping, and then choose Destination so that you're adjusting your export file while keeping the original in tact. Then, start to enter in values into the Top, Left, Bottom and Right boxes to remove the irrelevant portion of the video. Then, hit preview, and repeat this process until only the section of the image you want remains. By combining the cropping feature with Frame Size adjustments, you crop a video, apply a standard aspect ratio, and then export the video so that it matches the rest of the video clips in a mixed media video project.

Throughout this process you'll want to take advantage of the Preview function to make sure your image doesn't looked squished or stretched.

As you can see, MPEG Streamclip is a versatile, useful program for compressing, converting and editing your video clips. Download it and take it for a spin to improve your post-production.