What is Video Upscaling and How to Do It Properly in 2023

This guide to video upscaling is essential reading if you've ever wanted to convert low-resolution video to high-resolution using simple software apps.

This guide to video upscaling is essential reading if you’ve ever wanted to convert low-resolution video to high-resolution. 

When you upscale video, you’re enlarging lower-resolution video content to fit on higher definition TV screens and monitors.

It’s possible to upscale 480p or 720p to 1080p, 4k or even 8k with apps that can even improve video quality too.

AI video upscaling software like Topaz Video Enhance AI uses information from multiple frames to upscale, denoise, deinterlace and restore low-resolution video footage.

Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects also do a decent job at video upscaling, although they don’t take advantage of artificial intelligence for the best results.

Let’s take a look at how to upscale video using these two powerful video editing software apps.

What is Video Upscaling?

TRauMa, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Upscaling is when you increase the video resolution. For example, this is necessary when you have old videos you want to play on a newer device. 

You can find more examples if you consider videos made with smartphones or compact cameras with low resolution, and you want to see them on your Full HD Tv or a high-resolution computer monitor. 

This happens very often as the technology of display devices has advanced faster than the recording devices. To this day, it’s very affordable to have a 4K Tv, for example – but not as affordable to have a camera that records in 4K. 

As time passes, this gap could become more significant – that’s why upscaling is becoming more and more necessary.

In fact, some brands like Samsung are developing TVs with AI technologies that can upscale, enhance contrast detail, and denoise videos in real-time regardless of the original resolution. 

  • Does upscaling video improve quality?

Upscaling a video doesn’t change the original video nor does it give any additional information to it. The difference before and after upscaling is that you can see a low-resolution video in a higher resolution display without losing quality. 

Recommended Video Upscaling Software (Online, Free & Open Source)

Topaz Video Enhance AI

Topaz Video Enhance AI

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Video AI by Topaz (formerly known as Video Enhance AI) is a software dedicated to upscale videos enhancing the quality using AI technology. This is not only a video upscaler, it’s also a great solution for denoising, deinterlacing, and restoration. 

It’s extremely easy to use. You can upscale multiple videos at a time and do frame rate conversion – all of it using machine learning to improve resolution and preserve details.

The program was trained exclusively on actual video-clips which is why it gives more natural results. 

Video AI is a one-time purchase and it has a 30-day free trial too so you can see if the video upscaling results are good enough for your needs.

Adobe Premiere Pro & After Effects

Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects are two apps from the Adobe Creative Suite. Adobe Premiere Pro is a program designed for video editing, while After Effects is developed to create motion graphics and visual effects. 

Both programs are very powerful, but because they are designed to do advanced editing – they have a steep learning curve. If you simply want to upscale your videos, the rest is just overkill.

Another thing about this solution is that you can only do traditional upscaling since they don’t have AI technology. You’ll also need one of the best desktop computers for video editing to get the most out of Adobe software which is rather CPU intensive.

Both apps work on a subscription-based membership. The cost for each one is $20.99 per month or you can get the All Apps Plan for $54.99 per month which includes both programs as well as other 20+ apps. 

Learn more about how to buy Adobe Premiere Pro.

What About Free Online Video Upscaling Software?

While there’s some free video upscaling software online, you’ll get much better results investing in one of the premium options above.

  • Video2x – this is a free open source program for upscaling video resolution. On the downside, it’s not as easy to use as Video Enhance AI, and it doesn’t have very good reviews regarding the quality of the results.
  • Neural Love – this is an online tool to upscale video clips. It’s powered by AI technology and it’s easy to use. The free trial doesn’t apply for video, though. To use it you need a subscription plan of $30 a month which gives you 300 credits (worth about 5 minutes of upscale video). Otherwise, you can buy credits without subscriptions at the price of $87 for 300 credits. 

How do I Upscale a Video to 4K?

  • Using Topaz Video Enhance AI

  1. Download Video Enhance AI if you don’t have it already.
  2. Launch it.
  3. Click and drag your video.
  4. On the Processing section found on the right side of the screen, choose the AI Model you’d like to use. Usually, the default makes a good job. 
  5. In the Settings section, open the Presets menu and select 4K UHD (3840×2160).
  6. Click the Preview button to see if your settings give you the required result. If not, try changing the AI Model. 
  7. When you’re satisfied, click the Start button.
  • Using Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects

  1. Import your video into Adobe Premiere on a 4k sequence.
  2. Right-click on it and choose Replace with After Effects Composition to send it to After Effects. 
  3. Name and save the project in After Effects on the pop-up window. 
  4. Open the Effects and Presets panel and search for Detail -preserving Upscale.
  5. Define the settings in the Effects Control panel. 
  6. Save the changes in the project.
  7. Go back to Adobe Premiere – here you’ll find the video upscaled to 4K.

How do I Upscale a Video from 720p to 1080p?

  • Using Topaz Video Enhance AI

  1. Install Video Enhance AI if this is your first time using it.
  2. Launch the program.
  3. Upload your video by clicking and dragging it.
  4. Select the AI Model that you want on the Processing section. Gaia CG is good, but feel free to try different ones. 
  5. Choose 1920 x 1080 on the Presets. 
  6. Click the Preview button (optional).
  7. Press the Start button to start the upscaling. 
  • Using Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects

  1. Import your 720p video into a 1080p sequence in Premiere Pro.
  2. Right-click on it, and select Replace with After Effects Composition.
  3. Save the project and move on to After Effects. 
  4. Here, go to the Effects and Presets panel and choose Detail Preserving Upscale.
  5. Define the settings and scale to 150%.
  6. Save and close After Effects. 
  7. If you come back to Premiere, you’ll find the upscaled version. 

Is there an App to Improve Video Quality?

Video Enhance AI by Topaz is not only for upscaling your videos, it also uses AI to improve quality.

For example, you can remove digital noise from your footage and recover real details avoiding visual artifacts.

In the same way, it also uses deep learning to convert interlaced videos into progressive. It’s also helpful to restore details from old movies. 

Final Words

Hopefully, these tips help you to get the best results when upscaling your videos so that you can enjoy all your films whether they are old, low-resolution, or whatever on your high-resolution computer and TV. 

If you have any questions or suggestions on video upscaling, please share them in the comments below. 

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Shotkit Writer & Camera Gear Reviewer

Ana Mireles is a Mexican researcher that specializes in photography and communications for the arts and culture sector.



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