Premiere: How to Scale Images Automatically

Posted on by Larry

Based on what I’ve learned recently, I’m changing my advice on how to set preferences in Premiere when working with clips at different frame sizes.

Premiere provides a preference setting that automatically scales images. Let me explain the three options and suggest which one you should select based on your specific needs.

Preferences > Media > Default Media Scaling has three options:

If the frame size of your clip matches the frame size of the sequence, these don’t apply. These only come into effect when the frame size of the clip does not match the frame size of the sequence.

Here’s what these three options do.

None. This displays the image in the timeline at 100% scale. If the image is smaller than the sequence, there will be black bars around 2 or more edges. If the image is larger, it will be centered in the frame, but portions around the edge will be cropped.

This is the best choice if you are doing multicam work with clips at different frame sizes or plan to create a lot of “Ken Burns” effects on stills.

Set to Frame Size. This automatically scales an image to fit entirely within the frame size of the sequence, and, at the same time, sets Effect Controls > Motion > Scale to reflect the amount the image was scaled.

If the aspect ratio does not match, the image will have black bars on two sides. If the image is smaller than the sequence, the image may appear blurry. This is my recommended choice when dealing with different frame sizes for most edits and want the ability to scale the images later.

Scale to Frame Size. This automatically scales the image to fit entirely within the frame size of the sequence, and, at the same time, sets Effect Controls > Motion > Scale to 100%.

This is the best option when you are dealing with different frame sizes, but don’t intend to scale anything later. I don’t recommend using this option because you don’t know how much the image was scaled.

Remember, any image scaled larger than 100% will appear soft and blurry. This is why it’s important to know how much an image was scaled so you can maintain image quality.


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