Using Safe Areas to Prevent Video Cut-Offs! A Lightworks Tutorial

By Chris Wells
Jun 25, 2024
3 minute read
A YouTube Thumbnail

Today's tutorial focuses on enhancing your videos by using safe areas in Lightworks. Learn how to enable, customise, and position safe zones to ensure your content is fully visible and not obstructed by platform-specific UI elements.

This step-by-step guide will teach you how to master the use of safe areas/zones, ensuring that your videos remain polished and professional. Whether you're working on a simple vlog or a complex video project, these tips will help you maintain the integrity of your content and enhance your audience's viewing experience.



Hey there, Chris Wells here. And today, I've got a funky little video of this lady in green dancing in the green fields. Bam! It's dance time.

Now, what I want to talk about today is what we call safe areas or what was originally called safe zones. Basically, when you hold your mouse over this section, you'll see there's a green and also a yellow frame around your image. This comes from the old analogue television days because different TVs had slightly different zoom levels.

What this now often translates to nowadays is when you post things on social media like TikTok and Reels, which we will get to. It allows you to make sure that things like the like button and the little profile picture don't take up too much of your image, and that any important information or any important things aren't covered up by that stuff on your screen.

Facebook Reels and Stories ExamplesInstagram Reels and Story Example, from Meta

So, on a widescreen image, we've got two. If they aren't appearing on yours or you want to edit them, all you've got to do is right-click, go down to Safe Areas, and you'll see here when to display one mouse over. I personally like to have them always. You can set the opacity of them just in case they get a bit too distracting from your image.

And then you have what they call the action safe and the title safe. So Action Safe is basically anything that needs to be seen in the video has to be in that area. Just making sure that's not being cut off, especially if it goes around the edge, which to be honest, you have to really try hard to do. And this green one is the title safe, so as you'll see here, now that I've got it on, you'll see that the green being the title safe, these titles are just on the inside, so that works really well.

Now if I just switch the video over to a vertical video. So I'm just going to do that live here. We'll go to Portrait 25 frames per second and then I'm just going to quickly add in a zoom. To make sure it fits. And as you see now, if I hold the mouse over here, that is a vertical video. You'll see there is a different kind of safe area here. If we go to safe areas, you'll see we now have Instagram reels, Instagram stories, and TikTok.

Each of those buttons is actually what colour it is. This is helpful, especially if you're using the zoom to reframe your image. I can make sure, knowing that these kinds of areas risk being cut off with all the plethora of stuff that these sites give you, so now I can just make sure that the image kind of lines up.

There we go. And then it's dance time, you see. Well, that's way too big. So let's go to Effects One, and then we can change it. And now, this time, I can't really put it along the bottom because all of the stuff will kind of overtake it. So now, when I play my vertical video, knowing this, it keeps in perfect line with the safe zones on the video.

So thanks for watching. Head over to to start editing for free with Lightworks.

Step by Step

  1. Enable safe zones by holding your mouse over the video section to display the green and yellow frames.

    Use the Action Safe zone to ensure all critical content is visible and the Title Safe zone for text visibility.
  2. Check specific safe zones for platforms like Instagram Reels, Story, and TikTok under 'Safe Areas.'  (Only on verticle videos)
  3. Use the Zoom effect to reframe your image within the safe zones to prevent important content from being cut off.
  4. Adjust text size and position in the 'FX Settings' panel to avoid overlap with platform elements.
  5. Play your video to ensure everything aligns with the safe zones, making adjustments as needed.
  6. Save your project and export the video optimised for social media platforms.

Additional Resources

For deeper dives into editing techniques and Lightworks tutorials, visit Lightworks Resources. Enhance your skills, discover community insights, and bring your creative visions to life.

Transform your video editing journey with Lightworks. Whether crafting a short film, a documentary, or a personal vlog, Lightworks gives you the tools to tell your story your way. Download now and embark on your path to becoming a master storyteller.