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How to Edit HD Footage on Older PCs with Premiere Pro

Videos in HD are great – sharp, detailed and really lifelike. When it comes to editing video, however, it’s hard to say it’s easy for everyone. The average PC struggles even at 720p footage and your workflow can become slow and mind-numbing. Thankfully, there’s a trick you can use to get through this problem. In this article we’ll show you how.

You Will Need:

  • Some HD Footage
  • A video converter
  • Adobe Premiere Pro (CS5 or newer)

Getting Started

The trick here is to convert your footage to a lower quality and resolution which you will use for video editing. Don’t delete your original HD footage, though! After you’re done with the editing you’ll need it. Start by finding yourself a good video converter.

Workflow

Here’s an example workflow I put together so you can get the idea of things before we begin.

groovypost hd video editing workflow premiere pro convert

Step 1 – Converting the Footage

As I mentioned above, I’ll be using FreeStudio to convert my footage before getting to Adobe Premiere.

freestudio free application video editing convert hd video sd free

Start by picking DVD & Video at the top right.

freestudio dvd video hd video convert sd for editing

Now I’ll pick the converter I need to use. In my case, I’ve got some MP4 files, which means I need to use the Free MP4 Video Converter. If your files are of a different file format, simply chose the respective converter.

freestudio dvd video menu free mp4 converter convert hd video sd editing

This will open a separate program from where you can begin working on the conversion.

freestudio mp4 converter hd video convert sd file editing bitrate resolution quality

Click Add files to import your videos to the application.

import videos mp4 freestudio video convert hd sd

Then tweak your export settings to your liking. I chose a 320 x 180 export resolution (720p divided by 4) with a 0.75 Mbit/s bitrate for the lightest and snappiest video editing possible.

freestudio video convert options resolution quality bitrate

Since 320 x 180 is a rather low resolution which I’m using, as an example, here’s are a few tables with some other resolutions that might come in handy:

4K (16:9)

Width

Height

Full

3840

2160

/ 2

1920

1080

/ 2,5

1536

864

/ 3

1280

720

/ 4

960

540

/ 5

768

432

 

1080p (16:9)

Width

Height

Full

1920

1080

/ 2

960

540

/ 2,5

768

432

/ 3

640

360

/ 4

480

540

/ 5

384

216

 

720p (16:9)

Width

Height

Full

1280

720

/ 2

640

360

/ 2,5

512

288

/ 3

427

240

/ 4

320

180

/ 5

256

144

When you’re happy with all of your settings, press the convert button to begin the conversion. This may take a while depending on the amount of videos you have and their specified bitrate.

video convert hd video sd video freestudio convert button final conversion step

Now wait while the video conversion takes place.

freestudio video conversion convert videos process progress

You’ll be notified after the conversion is complete. Again, make sure you don’t delete your original HD footage. You will need it before exporting your final video.

fresstudio convert video hd sd convert editing complete

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