How to Export Widescreen Vertical Videos Without Black Bars in iMovie Editor

As a video editor with over 10 years of experience, exporting vertical videos without black bars in iMovie can be tricky. However, with the right techniques, you can create stunning vertical videos optimized for platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts.

In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through the step-by-step process to export vertical videos without black bars in iMovie.

Why Export Vertical Videos?

Vertical videos have become hugely popular in recent years, thanks to social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels.

Here are some key reasons why you should export vertical videos:

  • Mobile-first experience – Over 60% of videos are watched on mobile devices. Vertical videos take advantage of the entire mobile screen.
  • Higher engagement – Studies show vertical videos have up to 5-10x more comments and shares compared to landscape videos.
  • Stand out in feeds – Vertical videos grab more attention as users scroll through mobile feeds.
  • Optimized for stories – Vertical 9:16 videos are perfect for Instagram and Snapchat Stories.

Prepare Your Vertical Footage

The first step is to shoot or acquire vertical footage optimized for social media. Here are some tips:

Shoot Vertically

  • Hold your phone vertically in portrait orientation while recording.
  • Frame shots to focus on a central subject or character.
  • Ensure your footage fills the entire vertical frame.

Import Vertical Clips

  • Import only the vertical clips you want to use into your iMovie project.
  • If needed, crop landscape clips to vertical in the Photos app before importing.

Choose 9:16 Aspect Ratio

  • Set your iMovie project settings to 9:16 aspect ratio for true vertical videos.

Edit Your Vertical Video

With your vertical clips imported, you can start editing your video in iMovie as usual. Here are some quick tips:

  • Trim clips – Cut longer clips down to shorter snippets that captivate viewers from the start.
  • Add graphics – Overlay text, stickers, and shapes to highlight key moments.
  • Enhance audio – Adjust audio levels, reduce background noise, or add music.
  • Color correct – Use color adjustment tools to create a consistent look and feel.

Export Vertical Video Without Black Bars

Here comes the important part — exporting your edited vertical video without black bars from iMovie.

There are two methods you can use:

Method 1: Use App Preview Export

  1. Go to File > Export using QuickTime.
  2. Under Video Format, choose App Preview.
  3. Set Resolution to High (1080p).
  4. Export – your vertical video will now fill the frame.

Pro Tip: You can set the clip to “Crop to Fill” instead of scaling to fill the frame.

Method 2: Export to Photos App

  1. Export your project as usual, keeping the original 9:16 aspect ratio.
  2. Black bars will appear on the exported clip.
  3. Import the clip into Photos app.
  4. Use the Crop tool to remove black bars.
  5. Re-export the cropped vertical clip from Photos app.

And you’re done! You now have a fully vertical video without black bars optimized for social media.

Extra Tips for Vertical Video Success

Here are some additional pro tips to make your vertical videos stand out:

  • Add captions – Include auto-generated captions so viewers can watch without sound.
  • Include a strong CTA – End your video with a clear call to action to drive conversions.
  • Check platform specs – Review image and video guidelines for each platform before exporting.
  • Analyze performance – Check engagement metrics and optimize based on what resonates with your audience.


Exporting vertical social videos in iMovie is simple once you know the techniques. By shooting or editing footage to 9:16 ratio, and exporting using the App Preview or Photos app crop method, you can create vertical videos that captivate mobile viewers.

Implement the tips in this guide to start making vertical videos that drive results and outperform landscape videos. With a booming demand for vertical content across platforms like TikTok and Instagram, there’s no better time to capitalize on this major video trend.

As a video marketing professional with over a decade of experience creating and optimizing video content, I hope you found this guide helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions!