How to Straighten a Video in Final Cut Pro

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Hi! This is Dylan from Stupid Raisins. In this video I’m going to show you how to quickly and easily straighten a video in Final Cut Pro. This is a great technique to use if your footage isn’t quite level or if you want to change the orientation of your shot. So whether you’re new to Final Cut Pro or just need a quick refresher, this video is for you.

I’ve got some good tips lined up for ya. I’m going to show you 3 tools for straightening crooked videos. I’ll also share how to stabilize tilted and shaky footage. Then I’ll end with some tips on how to prevent crooked shots.

Let’s get started!

I have a crooked clip in my timeline. You can see the horizon rise from left to right. Before we fix it, let’s turn on a guide to help us get it straight. Click on View in the upper right corner of the viewer and select Horizon. Select the crooked clip and right click in the viewer and select transform. Use this handle to adjust the rotation. If you drag the handle to the right you’ll make the circle bigger and have finer control over the rotation. You can also change the rotation in the video inspector. You can click and drag up and down to change the rotation. Once you’ve got it straight, increase the scale until there are no more transparent corners then click Done in the upper right corner of the viewer.

Bonus tip! Another useful tool is this view switcher button. You can toggle between showing the contents of the Viewer and the full video image. When active, it shows you the parts of your clip on the outside of the viewer. Inside the viewer is what will export and the outside isn’t included. You can also turn it on and off in the video inspector.

If you need guides above or below the center I made a helpful guide you can download for free. The link is in the description. After you’ve downloaded it, go to view in the upper right corner of the viewer and select Choose Custom Overlay and then Add Custom Overlay. Find and select the guide you just downloaded and click Open. With this guide you have 3 different horizon lines you can use to straighten your video clip and later on I’ll show you how to prevent crooked shots when you’re filming.

If you want to make a custom grid you should check out Grid Pop. You can change the number of vertical and horizontal lines. I’ll link to Grid Pop in the description.

Are you ready to level your footage? Has this video been helpful? If so, hit that like button so others can see this video. Thanks!

You can also straighten or stabilize shaky footage right in Final Cut. In the video inspector scroll down and enable Stabilization. Set Method to InertiaCam. InertiaCam is good for pan and zoom movements. Smoothing set to 1 is pretty good. 3 will be very stable but zoomed in. If your footage has a little shake to it, you can enable Tripod mode. This takes out all the movement and makes your footage look like it was shot on a tripod. If your footage is really shaky, Tripod mode will be grayed out.

SmoothCam is great for when you’ve got the shakes. Change Method to SmoothCam. Translation adjusts vertical and horizontal movement. Rotation adjusts the angle and Scale adjusts the zoom. The default values are pretty good but you can see my footage is a little bit crooked so I’ll adjust the angle using a guide and zoom in a little bit with scale to get it just right. Now I’ll add the stabilization and look how smooth it is compared to before.

You can save yourself a lot of trouble if you record your footage level. Many cameras have built in guides that indicate when you’re level. Just do your best to maintain a green horizontal line. Many cameras and phones have built in grids you can use to line up with the horizon.

Now that you’ve learned how to straighten a video in Final Cut Pro you may want to check out this video my friend Chris made called How To Change Video Dimensions Size In Final Cut Pro. Click here to check it out.

About Dylan Higginbotham

Hey there. I'm Dylan Higginbotham, and I'm pretty dang obsessed with Final Cut Pro X plugins. Subscribe below because I love giving away free plugins and contributing great content.

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