Many cameras, phones are capable to shoot video in 4K resolution. That doesn't mean we all have access to those true-to-life pictures. Limited by display devices, decode technology, bandwidth, 4K sources, and many factors, we are not yet able to race onto the 4K bandwagon. Therefore in many cases, we need a video converter to convert 4K to 1080p.
Feel perplexed about whether it is necessary to lower the resolution or where to begin? Take it easy, in this post, we will walk you through from stem to stern, unfolding the reason for converting 4K video to 1080P and demonstrating the detailed tutorial on how to convert 4K to 1080P with the top video converters and online tools.
Reasons to convert 4K to 1080P
1. 4K is a big workload for most computers to cope with the large data of 4K clips.
Editing the film before uploading or sharing is necessary. But 4K makes the video editing a real nightmare. It is so much work on video editing programs and takes up so much space. Our PC has to be equipped with strong GPU, CPU, and large RAM or it will easily get crashed. Of those, the price of GPU skyrocketed in 2017 and has been remaining high ever since then. Expensive PC building makes editing 4K the sole preserve of expertise.
2. 4K displays are not yet in everyone's home.
Most of the computer monitors are still in a 1080P resolution. A 4K monitor is usually tagged with 4x the price of HD monitor. Not that a 4K monitor alone costs high, but the point is, a TV or computer, though equipped with a 4K display, may lack the support of HDR10, backlight control, 4K 60fps decode technology.
3. Save Space of Your Hard Drive.
4K video is staggeringly larger than 1080P and as a consequence requires a lot more storage space. A two-minute segment of 4K video takes up around 300MB space on your device. Let alone some hours-long 4K films. Downscaling 4K to 1080P can save immense storage space, and also enables us uploading videos fast.
4. Decrease Pressure When Editing Footage.
4K boasts tons of information. Your PC has to be well-built to handle the enormous amount of data. Lags, stuttering are the common headache we will be facing when editing a 4K UHD video.
Does that mean we are completely ruled out to enjoy the life-like 4K pictures? Absolutely no! Follow the guide below to convert 4K to 1080P, and you will find the downscaled footages deliver the exact images as the ordinary ones.
How to Convert 4K to 1080P with Top 4 Video Converters and Online
There are a lot of converting pieces out there that could convert 4K to 1080P, ballyhooing their fast converting speed and versatility. But we're all too well aware that most of these converters are just plain crap, slowing down the computer, and exporting video in extremely low quality and etc. Moreover, they often come packaged with plugins or malware that may do great harm to our PC.
Thus here, we detail 4 of the best apps and online solutions for downscaling 4K to 1080P with each featuring specific strengths and uses. You can choose the one based on your own demands.
1. VideoProc Converter
VideoProc Converter – a real free GPU-Accelerated video convertor. Quipped with powerful converting engine, it adopts a unique motion motion-adaptive pixel scaling algorithm that could ensure the lossless 4K to 1080p converting. Supporting a wide range of videos you shot with GoPro, DJI, iPhone, Android, camcorder, or any other 4K cameras, VideoProc Converter incorporates 370+ input format and 420+ output presets ready to use. You can select the target format and realize the format conversion in simple clicks, without knowing the nitty-gritty of codecs, video bitrate, audio sample rate, etc.
- Lightweight and low CPU usage, runs stably even on low-spec computers
- Convert DCI 4K, 4K UHD, iPhone/GoPro/Drone 4K HEVC to 1080p without image distortion or quality loss
- Level-3 Hardware acceleration to speed up the converting process 2-7 times faster
- Beyond just the best video converter, but also the handy DVD ripper, best video downloader, UHD video compressor, and easy video editor
Step 1: Click +Video button to import video clip to this 4K video processing tool.
Step 2: Click the target output formats.
- MP4 H264 is highly recommended as the output format as it is an HD codec. Besides, VideoProc Converter supports hardware acceleration for H264 that could deliver high output speed.
- VideoProc Converter supports 420+ output formats for different devices and platforms. These formats are user-ready presets designed with the best codec and bitrate right for the target to select upon exporting.
Step 3: Click the blue gear and find the resolution setting options. Choose 1920x1080 as the output resolution. If necessary, slide the small slider to high quality for a better output image quality.
Step 4: Click Use High Quality Engine and Run to Start Converting.
For your reference, there are several 4K resolutions in the industry. As you can see, besides the standard 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratio, some 4K resolution corresponds to other less common aspect ratio. 1080P is progressive videos with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, that's 16:9 in terms of aspect ratio. See the table below:
No matter which 4K resolution video you have at hand, VideoProc Converter allows you to set custom or fixed resolutions and aspect ratio upon exporting, catering to all kinds of scenarios even if you encounter a rare video format.
Free Download VideoProc Converter to Downscale 4K to Fit the Screen
2. VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player is not just a handy tool for playing 4K videos. It can be also used to downscale and compress 4K video to 1080p. As open-source software, it is totally free without any limitation or watermarks.
It works great for most videos as well as audios with a wide range of supported formats like MPEG-2, DivX, H.264, MKV, WebM, and WMV. But a headache problem is that VLC media player lacks support for H265, also known as HEVC, and VP9 codec, which some 4K videos are encoded with. On top of that, the short of hardware acceleration gives it relatively weak performance in speed. Despite the cons, it is still an outstanding free converter.
Take a look at how to lower the resolution of 4K video and convert to 1080p using VLC media player.
Step 1: Click Media > Convert/Save > Add to import the video and Click Convert.
Step 2: Choose 1080P as the profile setting.
Step 3: Click Browse to choose the output folder position.
Step 4: Click Start to convert.
3. Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro enjoys a good reputation in the field of video editing. Powerful editing capability, flexible interface, GPU acceleration make it a top choice for video editing software. For converting 4K video to 1080P, A branch of editing tools would be the absolute bonus points. However, Premiere Pro seems to the beginners who know little about video codecs to be a little progressive and complicated, much less to select the right output parameters or address codec error with like HEVC missing codec error.
Step 1: Click File > import to import the source media.
Note: VP9 and H.265 may also fail to be imported in a free trial version or out of missing codecs.
Step 2: Drag the video clips to the timeline.
Step 3: Click Sequence > Sequence settings and Type in 1920 as the horizontal pixel, 1080 as the vertical pixel. Then they will change anything you need to always take this box maximum to render quality and maximum bit depth.
Step 4: Right click the timeline and click Scale to Frame Size. (Step 4 can be skipped if you don't want to do any editing work to the footage.)
Also you can click Effect Control > Motion, then find scale under video effect list. Enter scale as 50.
You can choose Premiere Pro to shrink 4K to 1080P if you need to apply some after effects like adding filters, professional color corrections after conversion. But if you simply want to downscale the footage, why not use a hammer to kill a hell instead of disturbing yourself with a daunting tool.
For those who are after a quick in-and-out solution to convert 4K to HD quality footages, a decent online convert could lend you a hand. Well, amid an array of online converters out there in the market, HDconvert surpasses others with its great ability to scale down video to HD size in high image quality and at turbo speed. Besides, a simple and initiative interface help streamline the conversion task for the users and yield the result as fast as possible.
One thing worth mentioning is that HDconvert is though good enough to be the leading option of the online converter, it is far from being perfect. This online piece exports MP4, 1080P, H264, 6.0MBit/s with limited import files supported. And as an online tool, it relies high on network state.
Step 1: Click 1080P as the output file size.
Step 2: Click Browse to enter the source file. Wait for seconds or minutes. If the source media is large in its size, the process might takes a little longer.
Note that a stable and fast network is needed or we may fail to upload the footage.
Step 3: Click File to find the converted file which is also our target video. Click Download to save it on our PC.
If you are not a premium member, the output file would come with a watermark. The converting speed is fast, but the uploading and downloading process is a little sluggish. Another annoying thing is that there are ads for unknown apps popping up now and then.
How to Choose a 4K to 1080P Converter
In determining which tool to select for downscaling 4K videos, you need to take into consideration the five major factors: output quality, conversion speed, price, the source footage, network state, and more. And down below we have laid out some of the test results for better reference.
1. Output Quality
Quality matters most. You don't want to compromise any image quality while converting high resolution 4K video to 1080p. Well, the four converting tools, with their strong and advanced conversion capabilities, could ensure great output quality. Check the following comparison diagrams.
HD convert (3 minutes) ≥ VideoProc Converter (3 minutes) > VLC (6 minutes) > Premiere (12 minutes)
HDconvert takes only 1 minute to convert, which should be the fastest in terms of the conversion. But considering it takes approximately 2 minutes to finish the uploading and downloading process, I don't view it as the wise choice to go.
If it is the speed that we give priority to, Premiere Pro which comes with a disappointing performance costing me around 12 minutes in total to convert 4K to 1080p would naturally be the last resort. VLC does cost a shorter time than Premiere Pro, but it was not until the third time that we have managed the 4K to 1080p conversion using VLC, and for the first try, the image came out bleach black, while for the second time, we received only a short segment of the clip as the delivery footage.
The VLC media player is totally free to resize 4K to 1080P as it is an open source if the processing time is excluded from the consideration. Otherwise, VideoProc Converter would be the top option with only USD29.95 needed for per year or USD42.95 for a lifetime.Adobe Premiere Pro costs USD20.99 per month, and the price like this could really set us at bay. While for HDconvert, it is sold by the number of files you convert with 100 files costing USD99.99. For this turn, VideoProc Converter prevails over.
4. Build-in Video Process Toolkit
Premiere Pro > VideoProc Converter > VLC > HDconvert
Besides the capability on converting 4K to 1080P, we also attach great importance to their additional processing toolkits. Adobe Premiere Pro, a typical non-linear video editing system, superiors other video convertors with its multifarious editing tools, and thus if there is any need to apply advanced editing decisions, Premiere Pro is definitely the top choice.
On condition that you just need some basic edits like cutting, trimming, splitting, merging, cropping, stabilizing and etc., VideoProc Converter is the best option. And VLC Media Player and HDconvert are not advised when it comes to video editing sicne both of them are not up to most of the editing tasks.
It would be a long way to go before 4K going ubiquitous. Before that, converting 4K to 1080p is the easiest approach for us to relish a 4K-like visual experience. While in selecting the right 4K to 1080p convertor, always keep in mind that what you choose depends on your own requirements. But overall, as a newbie, VideoProc Converter is a magnificent tool to try as it is fast, simple, stable and versatile. If you are a professional editor with demand for audiovisual content with transitions, extra elements like boxes and rectangles or other complicated effect, Premiere Pro blows away the competition.