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How to Change Video Resolution in Premiere Pro

Footage resolution can make or break a video, so it's crucial to learn what it is and how to change it. Essentially, resolution is how many pixels are in each frame. The higher the pixel count, the larger the picture. That's why 4K footage (4096 pixels x 2160 pixels) is better quality than Full HD (1920 pixels x 1080 pixels). Many times I film in a higher resolution than I intend to export. That allows me to reposition and punch in on the footage. But larger resolution means a larger file size. What should you do to make the video smaller (and therefore have a smaller file size)? Keep reading for our step-by-step how to for changing video resolution in Premiere Pro.

How to use Premiere Pro to Change your Video Resolution

1) Import the Footage, Right Click “Export Media”

Premiere Pro is our go-to program when it comes to editing and improving video. First, you'll need to import your footage. In the top left corner of the screen, select File and click Import. A window will appear to select available files from your computer or connected hard drive. Select your desired clip and click Import. Your video clip will then be imported into the project window. Right click on the clip and select Export Media at the bottom of the drop-down menu. It's crucial to note the resolution of the original video file. Remember: It's better to downscale footage from a larger to smaller size (like 4k to HD). Whenever you try to upscale your footage, you're guaranteed to lose quality.

2) Go to “Video” > “Basic Video Settings” > “Frame Size”

The Export screen will populate once you've selected "Export" on your clip. a Settings window will appear to the left of the preview window. Expand the Video settings dropdown menu. Click the checkbox next to Frame Size, which will allow you to change it (or select the pre-set from the dropdown menu if using a standard resolution). To change the aspect ratio, select Custom, then click the Lock icon to unlock the ratio. Typical horizontal aspect ratio is 16:9 (that's 720x480 in old-school standard def, 1920x1080 in HD, or 4096x2160 in 4K). Typical vertical aspect ratio is 9:16 (with all of the above pixel counts swapped). If you're uploading to TikTok or Instagram, we suggest 1080x1920. It's important to note that while this method will export your video in a new aspect ratio, it adds black bars to fill in any empty space. This keeps the full original shot in the new frame.

3) Select a File Name and Save Location before Exporting

Now we're just a hop, skip, and a jump from saving the video with a new resolution. At the very top of the clip's Settings window, adjust the file name. We suggest giving it a clearly different name so that you don't accidentally overwrite the original clip. Directly under the File Name box, you'll see a blue link labeled Location. When you click the link, a finder window will appear. Within the window, select the location where you want to save the file. We always click the updated Location link just to double-check we've saved it in the right spot. Once everything is set, select the Export button on the bottom righthand side of the entire project window. And, voila! In under two minutes, you've just used Premiere Pro to perfectly adjust video resolution.


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