How to Resize a Video: 4 Ways to Resize Video With Descript

Woman editing video size on laptop computer for her vlog on a wooden table

In a perfect world, you’d record a video, edit it, and start uploading it everywhere you wanted with no modifications for any different platforms. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Social media apps and other online video platforms all have different requirements and specifications. 

The good news: you can quickly resize your video to suit your destination. Here’s what you need to know.

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5 Reasons to resize a video

Before we get into the ins and outs of resizing videos, let’s first see why you would need to adjust it in the first place.

  1. Viewing. The most apparent reason to resize a video is to fit the screen. Different social media platforms use players with specific size requirements. For example, if you wanted to add a video to your Instagram story but it’s too large, it could get cut off on the edges or be displayed in an awkward orientation. To ensure the best quality, you should resize videos for Instagram to fit the file size and aspect ratios specified for the platform.
  2. Data. Reducing the size of a video also reduces the file size in terms of data. Some video hosting and social media platforms also have file size limits on video uploads, which means that you may have to reduce the size of the video in order to upload it properly. 
  3. Space. With the decrease in data that comes from a reduced video size, you can free up some space on your computer or mobile device. The extra space allows your gadgets to function more efficiently and allows you to download more content.
  4. Speed. You can upload a video much faster at a reduced size. It will also be quicker for the public to download your video, too. This is great for users with slower internet upload speeds and is especially useful when you have multiple video clips to upload.
  5. Cost. Smaller video files allow you to save on bandwidth charges from your service provider by lowering data use, if you have caps on your data. It will also help keep costs down if you pay for cloud storage.

How to resize a video using Descript

You can easily resize a video in Descript and we’ll include the simple steps to do so for each of these options. To get started resizing video in Descript first create a new project and drag and drop your video clip into the project. The video clip will appear in the timeline along the bottom of the interface. 

1. Resize using dimension and resolution 

The dimension of a video refers to the width and height of your video in pixels. The resolution of a video refers to the number of pixels that make up the video image. Resolution and dimension are similar and, in the case of video size, both terms are used in video editing software to specify the same thing. 

The easiest way to resize a video is to lower the resolution or alter the dimensions. For example, a standard HD (High Definition) video is 1,920 pixels wide by 1,080 pixels tall. You can easily drop the size down to 1,280 pixels by 720 pixels while still maintaining the same quality and aspect ratio.

In Descript, you can easily change the resolution in the Video Settings menu. When you hover your cursor over the video preview window, a button will appear in the upper right. Click it to open the menu and select the Resolution option you would like the final video export to be. Now you are set to export the video and reduce the file size.

2. Resize using aspect ratio 

The aspect ratio refers to the ratio between the width and the height of your video. Aspect ratio is slightly different from the dimension—think of it more as the shape of the video frame. 

When changing the aspect ratio, you are still changing the dimensions, but you are specifically targeting the shape of the video frame. This is handy for situations when you want to, for example, quickly crop or resize a widescreen 16:9 video to a square 1:1 aspect ratio for Instagram. Some video editing applications have a setting for Aspect Ratio, sometimes referred to as orientation such as in Descript.

The most common aspect ratios are:

  • 16:9 Widescreen/Landscape
  • 9:16 Portrait
  • 4:3 Standard
  • 1:1 Square

In Descript the Orientation option in the Video Settings menu controls the video’s aspect ratio. The option has Landscape, Portrait, and Square presets available as well as the ability to select your own custom ratio.

While understanding aspect ratio is useful to know when resizing video, unless you want to crop a video to fit a specific format like Instagram or Tiktok, resizing by adjusting the dimension or resolution is a better option when resizing a video.

3. Resize when exporting 

In most video editing applications you can skip the step of resizing the video clip in the timeline and choose your resolution right in the export options. In Descript select Export in the File menu, or by clicking Share, then Export. In the Export tab that pops up, select video. The Export menu has a Dimensions option which can be used to set the dimension of the exported video. If the dimension/resolution you wish to export your video in is not displayed here you can change it in the Video Settings menu as noted in the Dimension and Resolution section of this article.

4. Resize by cropping 

Cropping is essentially cutting away areas of the video that are unnecessary. If the focus of your video is a person speaking in an empty room you can cut out most of the empty room and leave the speaker appearing closer and larger. This option can be a useful video editing tool allowing you to emphasize the elements you want and reframe your subject for greater impact. Keep in mind that when you crop a video, the remaining video image contains fewer pixels. That means the images will have lower overall resolution and will result in a lower resolution video. 

The process of cropping a video includes one extra step because you are not simply resizing the video but resizing it with the goal of also reframing the image.

To crop a video in Descript right click on the video clip in the timeline and select Show Clip Properties. The Clip Inspector Panel will appear. In this panel adjust the Width (W) and Height (H) values and, if necessary, the X and Y position values to zoom in and reframe your video as you would like.

This alone won’t give you a smaller video export, though, so now find the Video Settings button. Click it and select the Resolution option you would like the final video export to be. Now you are set to export the video.

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