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How to Create Digital Zooms with 4K Footage in Premiere Pro

Jourdan Aldredge

Check out these simple techniques you can use to incorporate digital zooms into your next 4K video footage editing project.

Cover image via Blackmagic.

In the world of 4K video, videographers and filmmakers are finding ways to work with footage in creative new ways. One of the coolest aspects of shooting 4K is the flexibility to create new compositions in post and add digital framing modifications, like the zoom.

This assumes that you’re working with 4K footage in a 1920×1080 sequence, but it should still look good for many online platforms. So, let’s dive into a step-by-step guide on how to add digital zoom — and how to make it look its best.


Set Sequence for 1080p

How to Create Digital Zooms with 4K Footage in Premiere Pro — 1080p

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to be using the Digital SLR – DSLR 1080p24 option. When you drop in your footage, you’ll get the option to change sequence settings or keep existing settings — choose to keep for now. You’ll see that your footage is at a much higher resolution, so it’s already zoomed in. You’ll need to adjust your scale (in this case scaling down to 50%) to get your full frame. Now you can pick your zoom points and start keyframing.


Keyframing

After you’ve decided on a good start size and end size for your zoom, it’s time to set your keyframe points in your Video Effects tab. For now, let’s focus on working with the Scale button (however, for many zooms you’ll want to adjust position as well, which works the same way). Click the Scale button to activate the tab, then select your points on the sequence to the right.


Bezier Options

Once you’ve made your selections (which you can change later), go ahead and choose your bezier options. Be sure to highlight both points if you want them the same, then right-click. You’ll see a box pop up with options for Linear, Bezier, Auto-Bezier, Continuous Bezier and Hold along with Ease in and Ease Out. You can read more about what each option means here, but for now, we’ll use Auto-Bezier.


Distance and Speed

From here, you can test out different distances and see how that effects the speed of your digital zoom. Feel free to try out different things. Try to focus on the look and feel of the zoom. Fast zooms can look cheesy and comical, while slow ones can look more dramatic.

Fast

Slow


Consider Positioning

In the same manner as the scale, you can add position movements on their own or in tandem with the zoom. This is important if your subject isn’t directly in the middle of the screen; you’ll need to move the whole composition a little up, down, left, and/or right. Overall, try out some different approaches until you get the zoom that feels and looks right for your project.


Looking for more post-production tips and tricks? Check out these articles.

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