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Tutorial: Converting HD Footage to 4K with Red Giant Instant 4K

This tutorial will demonstrate how to use the Red Giant Instant 4K plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro or After Effects to upgrade your 1080p footage in 4K projects.

Welcome to this quick tutorial on using the Red Giant Instant 4K application in Adobe Premiere Pro Creative Cloud 2015. For those of you unfamiliar with Red Giant products, this will be a nice introduction to show you how powerful some of their software is. We're going to focus on Instant 4K in this tutorial, but feel free to check out their entire bundle of software on

Instant 4K allows you to convert lower-resolution footage into usable 4K footage. It works with both Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. Please keep in mind that any converted footage will not match the exact quality of your 4K footage. The idea here is that you don't have to completely throw away your old footage. Instead, using this workflow can give you some nice results, and allow you to deliver in 4K.

From 1080p to 4K

I've purchased this software, I have it downloaded and installed on my system. In my work flow I've got some 4K footage that was shot with the drone, and some other B-roll that was shot in 1080p HD. My timeline is set with the 4K dimensions, and as you can see in Figure 1 (below), the 1080 footage is much smaller than my 4K clip. In order to get the 1080 clips to match my 4K settings, I'll run the Instant 4K effect.

Figure 1. 1080p footage in my 4K sequence

To begin, navigate to the Effects tab, and do a search for Instant 4K. Once you’ve found the effect, drag it over to your 1080 clip. Nothing happens right way, but you’ll see a series of options when converting the clip.

In the Effects Controls tab of the 1080 clip, you’ll see that Instant 4K shows up with its own controls. Click the triangle to expand these options, which are shown in Figure 2 (below). The first option we see is 4K Output Size. Here you have several different presets that Red Giant has included. In my case, I know that the drone footage as dimensions of 3840x2160, so I'm going to choose these dimensions and select the Fit to Height or Fit to Width option. You can test either one of these to see what gives you a better result.

Figure 2. Instant 4K parameters in the Effect Controls panel

Once you complete that step, the rest of the controls below 4K Output Size allow you to dial in certain settings even further. I'm hoping to get the best results possible, and file size is not an issue in my situation. I’ll choose the Best option in the Filter Type pull-down menu.

There are some more options below Filter Type to further fine tune your conversion. For Sharpness, Red Giant recommends that you use a value from 2 to 6 for best results. I'll go with 6.

The Quality and Anti-aliasing options let you adjust the edges and smoothness of your conversion. Feel free to experiment, but know that raising these values too far may create a distorted and undesired final result.

Rendering the Project

The final step in the work flow is to render the project. Once your render is complete, you can play back your video to see the real-time results. As you can see at the 2:42 mark of the tutorial video, Instant 4K did a pretty good job in turning the 1080 clip into a usable 4K clip.

I highly recommend this product if you're expecting to start mixing in old footage with your newer 4K video. With a few clicks and adjustments, you can reuse your old collection of stock footage, and apply it in future projects with larger dimensions.

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