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Premiere Pro Quick Tip: Avoid Pillarboxes While Mixing SD Footage into an HD Project

April 21st, 2013 / By Angelo Lorenzo / No Comments

SD to HD

If you’re a documentarian working with archival footage or just seem to find yourself splicing standard definition footage into high definition projects a little more often than you’d like, below you’ll find an effects presets for Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 or newer that will hide those unsightly pillarboxes.

Click to download our SD to HD effects presets. These are designed for NTSC SD to 1080 HD but will work with a little tweaking for any combination of NTSC, PAL, 720 HD, and 1080 HD. To install these presets, click the context menu in the upper right of the Effects Panel and select “Import Presets” and they will appear in the presets bin in your effects list.

To use these presets first place your SD footage into an HD timeline, right click (control click on Mac) your footage in the timeline and select “Scale to Frame Size”, duplicate your SD video in the track above, apply the preset “SD to HD Bottom Layer” to the bottom layer and apply the preset “SD to HD Top Layer” to the top layer. That’s it, you’re done.

You’ll notice that this stretches, blurs, and slightly desaturates the bottom layer while adding a shadow to the top layer to aid in separation. The presets take advantage of size scaling, Fast Blur, Color Balance (HSL), and Radial Shadow.

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