How to Change Aspect Ratio in Final Cut Pro - 3 Step Guide!

Changing the aspect ratio in Final Cut Pro involves understanding the concept of aspect ratio, knowing why it's necessary to change it, and utilizing the tools provided by the software. Begin by opening Final Cut Pro and importing the video. Choose the event that contains the project whose aspect ratio you intend to adjust. Navigate to the inspector window, select the project, and click the Modify tab. A pop-up window will appear where you can edit and resize the aspect ratio according to your needs. Final Cut Pro also offers a Crop tool and a Smart Conform feature for more advanced editing.

October 19, 2023
How to Change Aspect Ratio in Final Cut Pro - 3 Step Guide!
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Changing Aspect Ratio in Final Cut Pro: A Comprehensive Guide

Before we dive into the process of changing aspect ratios in Final Cut Pro, let's first understand what aspect ratio is. The aspect ratio of a video is the proportional relationship between its width and height. It's usually represented by two numbers separated by a colon, with the first number indicating the width and the second indicating the height. For instance, common aspect ratios include 4:3 (Academy video aspect ratio), 16:9 (widescreen video), 21:9 (anamorphic aspect ratio), 9:16 (vertical or landscape video), 1:1 (square video), and 4:5 (portrait or horizontal video).

Why Change Aspect Ratio?

You might be wondering, why should we change the aspect ratio of a video? With the rise of social media and screens of different kinds, videos and images are represented in various ways. As these dimensions change, it's crucial for creators to adapt and modify their content accordingly. For instance, a video intended for Instagram might require a different aspect ratio compared to one meant for a YouTube upload.

Aspect Ratio in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro, Apple’s professional video editing software, provides a range of resolution and aspect ratio options. These include 1080p HD, 1080i HD, 720p HD, PAL SD, 2K, 4K, 5K, 8K, vertical, and 1:1, among others. These options are usually displayed according to their resolution values.

Changing Aspect Ratio in Final Cut Pro

Now, let's get into the meat of the matter: how to change the aspect ratio in Final Cut Pro. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose the Event: In the Libraries sidebar, choose the event that contains the project whose aspect ratio you intend to adjust. You can also create a new project here, apply the desired aspect ratio, then add your video to it.
  2. Go to the Inspector Window: Place the video on the Final Cut timeline and go to the inspector window. You can open it by clicking the right side of the toolbar or pressing Command-4. If the inspector option is not visible, you can open it by clicking Choose Window > Show in Workspace > Inspector.
  3. Select the Project: At the top right corner of the property window, click the Modify tab.
  4. Edit and Resize the Aspect Ratio: A pop-up window will appear where you can edit and resize the aspect ratio, and change video format and resolution values as your work demands.
  5. Customize the Values: In this pop-up window, there's a 'Custom' option where you can adjust the values based on your preferences.
  6. Save Your Changes: Save your changes if you're satisfied with the outcome or modify the values as much as you like if you're not.

Additional Tools in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro also offers a Crop tool for more traditional editing. You can easily find it by clicking the pop-up menu in the lower-left corner of the viewer.

Moreover, Final Cut Pro provides a Smart Conform feature. This feature allows Final Cut to scan each of your clips for details and preemptively reframes clips that differ from the project in terms of aspect ratio. This feature also lets you quickly create an orientation (square, vertical, horizontal, or widescreen) for your project, and make manual framing choices later.

To use the Smart Conform feature, open a previously created horizontal project in Final Cut Pro. Click on the project and duplicate it. This can be done by clicking Edit > Duplicate Project As.

In my opinion, understanding how to change the aspect ratio in Final Cut Pro is a crucial skill for any video editor. It allows you to adapt your content to various platforms and screen sizes, ensuring that your videos always look their best. For more in-depth tutorials on Final Cut Pro, you can check out this Final Cut Pro tutorial or this guide on how to change aspect ratio in Final Cut Pro.