Rotate Video In iMovie and QuickTime Player

If you have video recorded in the wrong orientation, you can rotate it after you add it to the iMovie timeline. You can also change the original file by opening it in QuickTime Player, rotating it, and saving a new version. If you need to rotate video in Photos, you'll have to export the video, rotate it in QuickTime Player, and then import the new version back into Photos.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Rotate Video In iMovie and QuickTime Player.

Let's say you have a piece of video that's the wrong orientation like this clip here. You can see it's a piece of vertical video but actually the video is turned on its' side. This can happen sometimes if you start recording a video on a camera and you're holding it one way and you correct yourself without stopping and starting your recording again. It used to be more common. Phones today are a little bit better at handling this but some cameras are not.

So you can end up with this where you have the video that's in the wrong orientation. So we need to basically rotate it. It's pretty easy to do this in iMovie and you can also do it, if you just want to correct that one video, in QuickTime Player. Let me show you iMovie first.

So, you put the clip into the timeline. The clip itself stays just as it was before. But you put it into the timeline here and then at the top of the viewer here you select the cropping tool. The cropping tool has the ability to crop in different ways but also has these rotation buttons. So I can click here to rotate the entire clip and you can see it rotates to the correct orientation and it pops in place. If you go back to how it looked originally you can see it scales it down to fit so the tops and the bottom are there. Meaning that there's large black bars on either side. Of course you can crop to fill which will just grab the center piece. But in this case what we really want to do is we want to rotate the video so it's the proper orientation. It's the right way and now we can just continue to use this in the iMovie project. The clips remain the same but in the timeline it's rotated.

Now if you just want to change this one video, you don't want to create an entire iMovie project to do it, you can just double click the file. Here I have the file and I'm going to double click it and it will open up in QuickTime Player. In the QuickTime Player, in the Edit menu, there's rotate left and rotate right. Now once you do that you want to Save the new video. So you can do this one of two ways. You would think you can go to File, Save but for some reason it's grayed out. I call that a bug there but you can still use Export As and Export As the correct size. So I know this is a 720p video and I can export as 720p.

Another thing you can do is basically just close the window. Then it will prompt you to Save. So that's why I say that the grayed out Save button there is definitely a bug because obviously QuickTime Player knows that there's the ability to save here. What I get is a video. So another file here that's the correct orientation. I can open that up and that's correct.

So how about in the Photos app. Here I've got that same wrongly oriented video here in the Photos app and you'd think there would be a way for me to adjust it. This is in the Photos app that comes with High Sierra and unfortunately there really isn't. Under Image there's Rotate Counterclockwise and Clockwise. But those only work for images. They won't work for videos. There's no way in Edit here to do any kind of rotation or cropping or anything like that.

So all you need to do is Export it. Now you can't use the Image and Edit With. If you do that it will open up in QuickTime Player but it really doesn't work very well. The best way to do it is simply to drag and drop that as a file. Handle it in QuickTime Player just like before and then drag and drop the new one back into the Photos app as a new video and delete the original one if you wish.

Comments: 2 Responses to “Rotate Video In iMovie and QuickTime Player”

    1 year ago

    Really good tip Gary! – thanks. Hence my Patreon subscription – others should join.

    1 year ago

    Bob: Thank you!

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