Tip #060: Set vs Scale to Timeline

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #060: Set vs Scale to Timeline

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

This setting has a major impact on imported still image scaling and quality.

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If all your still images precisely match the frame size of your project, all is good. But, when they don’t, this preference makes a big difference.

First, some background. All digital images are bitmapped. This means that, while you can make them smaller with no problem, you can’t scale them larger than 100%. If you do, the image gets increasingly blurry.

So, if you want to preserve image quality, it is critical for you to know when an image exceeds 100% size. The problem is that a default preference setting for Premiere makes this impossible.

Here’s the setting to watch in Preferences > Media: Default Media Scaling.

  • Set to Frame Size. This is the default setting. It automatically scales the imported image to fit in the frame AND sets Effect Controls > Motion > Scale to 100%, regardless of the original size of the image.
  • Scale to Frame Size. This automatically scales the imported image AND adjusts Motion > Scale to reflect the amount of the change.

The second option, which is not the default, allows you to see how much an image was resized and, if you scale it larger, it is easy to see when scaling exceeds 100%. This prevents you from unknowingly damaging image quality.

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2 replies
  1. emerson
    emerson says:

    Hi Larry
    I see a third option which is “none”, I believe just simply import the image the way it is, which in almost all cases for me is the better choice because I can adjust the image the way I want (if I don’t have photoshop in hand).

    • Larry Jordan
      Larry Jordan says:


      This is the best choice when you want to adjust the size of an image without making it PRECISELY fit in the frame. Scale to Timeline is faster when you want to fit images in the frame.



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