I recently recorded a quick video to go over the difference between Scale to Frame Size and Set to Frame Size in Adobe Premiere.  The video is below, and I’ve included a transcript as well.

This is useful for quickly changing the size of your video in your timeline while editing, but it’s helpful to know what the difference is between the two.  Check it out.

In this video we’re going to talk about Scale to Frame Size vs Set to Frame Size in Adobe Premiere.

And to be honest, I mean, I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked about this, and when I first started using more 4k and UHD footage, but still editing in 1920×1080 timelines, and delivering in HD…I didn’t really know what the difference was either and I couldn’t find a lot online about it.  Even on the Adobe sites.

So let’s jump in.

You can see I’ve got a clip here.  It’s called “Seals UHD” because it’s a UHD clip.

I’ll drop it in right here.

It’s a UHD clip so it’s 3840 x 2160.  Now, I’m going to just drop this clip into my 1920×1080, HD sequence.  I’m going to keep existing settings for the sake of this video. 

Then I’m going to option drag to just create a copy of this clip here.

You can see, it’s already punched in because our clip is UHD and we’re in an HD timeline.  So this is the original clip and it’s punched in over here, on both of them.

So if you right click on it you can see we have Scale to Frame Size, and just below that we have Set to Frame Size.

So, on the first clip here let’s go ahead and choose Scale to Frame Size.  On the second one I’ll choose Set to Frame Size.

Now let’s take a look at what it did.  On the first clip, Scale to Frame size, I’ll go into my effect controls, and you can see that it’s at 100% in the scale. 

On the second clip where we chose set to frame size, the scale is at 50%.  

So when you choose scale to frame size, what Premiere is apparently doing, is resampling your footage.  Which means that you could be degrading your clip.  So if you shot UHD or 4k for all this great detail, you probably don’t want to choose scale to frame size.

Now, it might help your system.  It might make your system run a little smoother and be easier on it when you’re editing, but like I said, if you shot in UHD or 4k for all that extra detail…you probably don’t want to choose scale to frame size.

I pretty much always choose set to frame size.  You see it’s at 50%.  And there’s a few reasons for that.

One, is all the extra detail.  When you set to frame size, you’re essentially supersampling down into an HD sequence.  So you still have all that detail, just smashed down into a 1920×1080 sequence.  

Say, you have this nice shot but you were run and gun during your shoot and you didn’t notice there’s a trash can on the right of the screen and you want to get rid of that trash can.  Well you can punch in.  Just punch in a little bit.  

Now the trash can’s gone and you still have this great shot.  The other thing, and I do this all the time, is maybe you shoot an interview but you don’t have a B Cam.  So you only have one camera and you shot it in 4k or UHD.  Well you can punch in from 50% all the way up to 100% and you’re still going to have good quality in the image.  And then you can cut back and forth between that on the one camera.  You can cut out all the “ums” and when people fumble on their words.  You can cut up the dialogue and all that kind of stuff.  So it gives you that leeway to cut up an interview as well.

So that’s why I pretty much always choose set to frame size and the difference between the two.

I hope it helps.  Thanks for watching!


Dragonfly 44 Productions is a video Production and Post Production company in Sacramento, CA that creates impactful content for clients all over.

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Disclaimer: These tutorials are created to help folks, however, it is always the viewers responsibility to make the best decisions for themselves.