How-To

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 number 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

Step 2 – Importing and Editing with Adobe Premiere

It’s time to get to Premiere. Open up Premiere Pro and create a New Project.

premiere pro new project create welcome screen

Name it accordingly and tweak other video settings if needed.

name project new project premiere pro cs5 cs6 video editing hd sd weaker computers pc mac

Name your sequence and change the following settings for Video in the Settings tab:

  • Frame Size: 1280 x 720 (your original HD resolution – 720p, 1080p or other)
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square Pixels 1.0

premiere pro cs5 cs6 video convert hd sd video edit pc 720p project settings

Although I chose an HD resolution for the video, the entire editing process will utilize only the converted SD videos. Go ahead and import them in any way you like – Right Click > Import, or just the classic Drag & Drop method.

premiere pro cs5 cs6 import video sd footage converted

You can now begin editing your video just as you would normally – color grading, special effects, transitions and so on. Here’s my example final timeline along with all the changes I made to my clips.

Click the image below to view it full size.

premiere pro cs6 video edit sd hd convert hd footage editing weaker computers

Step 3 – Exporting

Now it’s time to export. If you want your video to be in the resolution of the converted SD clips, you can go straight to exporting. However, most of you would like the final video to be in HD, so here’s what you’ve got to do. Start by going to the Project Panel.

premiere pro hd sd footage convert edit hd footage weaker compouters replace footage step before exporting

From here, Right Click the first SD clip and pick Replace Footage.

sd hd replace footage premiere pro cs5 cs6 before export final step

Now navigate to where the original HD footage is stored and select the corresponding clip in HD.

premiere pro cs5 cs6 replace footage sd to hd edit video final step before exporting

Your SD clip will be replaced with the HD one, with all of your changes — trims, color corrections, effects and others kept untouched.

premiere pro cs5 cs6 video editing sd hd video edit weaker computers metadata 720p

Repeat this process for each individual clip, replacing its SD version with the original HD one. When you’re done, you can go straight to File > Export Media.

export final video premiere pro cs5 cs6 hd 720p video final

From here, pick a preset that suits you and make sure you chose the right output resolution. In my case, I’ll use H.264 and the HD 720p 23.976.

720p h.264 video codec hd video sd hd video premiere pro cs5 cs6 export

Hit the Export button and you’re good to go!

premiere pro cs5 cs6 final video export settings hd 720p h.264

Make sure to check out my step-by-step screencast below for more:


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

To Top