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What is Deinterlacing Video? (+Best Ways to Fix It)

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Read Time: 11 min

Deinterlacing is a key skill in video editing. It’s an essential part of elevating the quality of videos, especially older clips. The mechanics are complex, but in this tutorial we’ll unravel them.

You’ll learn the answer to the question, “what is deinterlace?” We’ll explore how to do it in Adobe Premiere Pro with ease.

What is Deinterlacing?

To define deinterlacing, we need to define interlacing. Interlacing is an older technology that uses alternating lines within frames. The intent was to improve how motion appeared onscreen. Remember older cathode-ray tube (CRT) televisions? If you do, you’ll recall how motion and images would appear to flicker. It wasn’t visually appealing. 

Interlacing was created as a fix for this unwanted effect. Interlacing worked by splitting each frame of a given video. These split frames were defined by two fields: even and odd-numbered horizontal lines. As videos moved from frame to frame, the display alternated between showing the even and odd-numbered lines. It lowered bandwidth needed for each frame as they “painted” on a screen. 

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When you think of interlaced video, think back to footage you saw on retro TV's. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Flash forward to 2023. Most of us are watching videos on modern displays. Instead of giant tube televisions, 1080p flatscreens and super high-resolution 5K displays are the norm. 

If video is interlaced and you play it on a modern screen, the quality really sticks out. You may see artifacts like jagged, hazy lines moving across the screen. Clips with a lot of motion may be oddly distorted, jumpy, or hazy. That’s because rapid motion can be lost since only half of the fields within a frame are shown at any given time. 

The interlaced example below from Envato Elements is digitally simulated, but shows the effects. Notice the wobbly lines and how they immediately give a "retro" feel to the footage. It's a great way to observe the deinterlacing meaning.

Clearly, interlacing had a time and place. But that time has long passed. You may find yourself needing to salvage interlacing footage for modern use. 

This process is known as deinterlacing. So, what is deinterlacing? Fundamentally, it involves converting interlaced videos to progressive videos. Progressive videos don’t alternate between fields. Every horizontal line shows all at once, in every frame.

This enables much smoother visuals. It’s higher bandwidth, but in today’s world of digital signals, that’s not an issue. In essence, with progressive videos you see twice the level of detail as you would in interlaced videos.

Deinterlacing is the bridge between the two. It’s a process used to transform interlaced footage into progressive footage. When you do this, it dramatically enhances the look of many videos. That’s especially true in the case of those with a lot of motion.

Consider the footage seen above. It’s sourced from Envato Elements, and you can download it here.  As you can see, it’s interlaced. Notice how you can see sharp lines, and how the clip itself is a bit fuzzy.

By using deinterlacing video steps in Adobe Premiere Pro, we can dramatically improve the visual effects that you are seeing.

With this basic knowledge in place, it’s time to get to work. We’ve unlocked the deinterlacing meaning. Now, let’s look at how to do deinterlacing with video footage in Adobe Premiere Pro. 

1. Add a Clip to the Timeline

Let’s begin learning about deinterlacing by adding interlaced video to Premiere Pro. Launch the app and take a look at the layout. We’ll be working with two key panels: the Program Monitor and the Timeline.

The Program Monitor is found in the upper center of Premiere Pro. It’s where you can see and preview your video clips in real times. All edits that you make are shown here in real time.

The Program Monitor and Timeline are the key panels in Premiere Pro that you’ll need to use to start deinterlacing.

Directly below the Program Monitor is the Timeline. The Timeline controls the placement, sequence, and timing for the content in your videos. This includes your videos, audio, and any still images that you might be using. 

Let’s place a video clip on the Timeline. We’ll use the demo footage that we saw above. Browse to a video clip on your computer. Then, click and drag it over the Timeline. Drop it into place.

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Drop a video into the Timeline to start learning deinterlacing. (Stock footage: Envato Elements.)

When you do, you’ll see the footage appear in the Program Monitor. Again, this footage is interlaced. With it added, let’s learn how to deinterlace footage in Adobe Premiere Pro. 

2. Find the Field Options for the Interlaced Clip

Deinterlacing in Adobe Premiere is controlled on the Field Options menu. These Field Options work to control a clip itself and are found within the Timeline menu. To learn how to deinterlace in Adobe Premiere Pro, we’ll launch the Field Options.

Begin by finding the clip that you want to deinterlace in your Timeline. Then, right-click on it. Clips are identifiable as the purple bars in the Timeline itself.

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Right-click on a Timeline clip that you want to start deinterlacing, and then choose Field Options. (Stock footage: Envato Elements.)

When you click on a Timeline clip, a menu will appear with a long list of options. From it, find Field Options. Click here, and the Field Options box will appear in the center of your screen. 

3. Choose to Deinterlace 

The Field Options menu is small, with the list of features short and to the point. To deinterlace a given clip, click the center bubble under Processing Options. It’s labeled Always Deinterlace.

With Always Deinterlace checked, go ahead and click OK. Premiere Pro will process your video clip, applying deinterlacing effects.

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Choose Always Deinterlace from the Field Options, then choose OK to begin the deinterlacing process in Adobe Premiere Pro. (Stock footage: Envato Elements.)

If you have a clip with less motion, you can choose to use another of the Field Options. This is Flicker Removal. Often, I like to try both when I’m deinterlacing my footage. It’s a great way to pursue multiple edits and see which one works the best. 

4. Review and Adjust the Results

Once you’ve completed the deinterlacing steps, give your video a preview in the Program Monitor. As I mentioned, you might choose to Always Deinterlace or Remove Flicker. See which of the two options makes the most impact on a given piece of footage. 

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Use the Program Monitor to preview how deinterlacing effects worked on your video clip in Premiere Pro. (Stock footage: Envato Elements.)

You can always make additional edits to sharpen and adjust videos. These work best after you’ve deinterlaced them. For example, you can go to Effects > Video Effects > Blur & Sharpen > Sharpen.

This unlocks a sharpening effect that you can adjust using the Effect Controls panel. If you’re still seeing hazy elements in a video, a quick application of the Sharpen effect is often enough to clear them up.

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Adding a Sharpen effect can help deinterlaced clips look their best in Premiere Pro. (Stock footage: Envato Elements.)

We asked and answered the question: “what is deinterlacing?” As you can see, it’s an edit that brings old footage into the modern era. It’s an easy and quick step in Premiere Pro that helps you elevate clips to look their very best. 

More Visual Enhancements for Top-Quality Premiere Pro Videos

Deinterlacing is a key edit that you’ll find yourself working with over and over again. But there are many other production tips to help your Premiere Pro videos look their best.

When you use these, you can keep audiences engaged with the stylish productions that you share. Embrace these five design tips for each video that you edit:

1. Work with Clip Effects for Smooth Edits

Trying to edit more efficiently? Odds are, you’ll be working with effects. And you may want to use these effects on every clip in your project. But it can be daunting if you think of adding them to clips over and over. 

That’s where Source Clip Effects come in. These let you apply an effect to one video clip and have it automatically apply to other clips in a given sequence. They’re easy to add, and you’ll soon find that they’re an immensely useful time-saver.

Learn more here:

2. Use Title Templates for Dramatic Text

It’s easy to forget that text is a key part of your design style in Adobe Premiere Pro. But indeed, titles are often the effects that tie a production together. They add context and visual transitions all at once.

Title templates help you add custom text faster than ever before. They’re simple to work with, and they help you add dramatic effects with ease.

3. Craft Cinematic Effects with Keyframes

Trying to add smooth, cinematic effects to your work in Premiere Pro? Keyframes are an excellent way to do exactly that. They help you add cool effects. For example, you can move video objects from point to point. Or, you can slide audio volume or even boost the size of text effects.

Keyframes are easy to work with, and they unlock a new frontier of editing power. We have a full tutorial to help you get started:

4. Stabilize Footage for Smoother Playback

Deinterlacing is one way to enhance motion and smooth out video playback. But stabilization is another key feature. Premiere Pro includes a feature called the Warp Stabilizer to do exactly this.

The Warp Stabilizer automatically analyzes videos and works to stabilize them. It works frame by frame to remove shake and distortion. Always consider using this effect. It's especially useful if you’re working to deinterlace old and distorted footage.

Unlock how to use the feature below:

5. Focus on Transitions

Moving from scene to scene is a natural part of any video edit. But if you just jump from point to point without a transition, you’ll create choppy productions that are hard to watch.

This is where transitions in Adobe Premiere Pro come in. If you’ve already worked to deinterlace video, this should be one of your next steps. Transitions are cinematic effects. They control how specific pieces of content interact with each other. 

Transitions are easy to add, with countless options built into Adobe Premiere:

The Top Source for the Very Best Adobe Premiere Pro Templates (With Unlimited Downloads)

Adobe Premiere Pro templates are the best way to create amazing videos with ease. Envato Elements is the ultimate source for them. With thousands of template designs to choose from, it’s easy to find the perfect design for every project you work on.

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Envato Elements: unlimited downloads, millions of digital assets.

The Elements offer is powerful: unlimited downloads. For a flat monthly rate, you can download and use as many premium Adobe Premiere Pro templates as you want. Plus, you’ll enjoy over fifteen million digital assets. These include fonts, stock photos, music, and more. Many will feature perfectly in your next video.

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Elements includes thousands of custom, premium Adobe Premiere Pro templates.

The quality of Elements templates far exceeds what you’ll find with free templates from around the web. Go premium with Envato Elements templates and you’ll enjoy:

  • Film-grade styling. Basic, dull features won’t be found here. Each template has a cinematic look and feel. That’s thanks to being built by creative video designers with your project needs in mind. 
  • Intuitive features. If you’re not a video production expert, no worries! The beauty of premium templates is readily apparent if you’re a newer editor. They’re easy to use, often with helpful support tutorials included. 
  • Elegant, inspired designs. Trying to decide how best to share content in Premiere Pro? Templates are here to help. Each one offers new and innovative ways to share videos, images, and more. 

As you can see, Envato Elements is the best value for Premiere Pro templates in 2023 and beyond. Join now and start exploring the vast library of templates! You’ll be glad you did. 

Start Deinterlacing Videos in Premiere Pro Today

In this tutorial, we learned the deinterlacing meaning. Then, we explored how to do deinterlacing in Adobe Premiere Pro. It only takes a few clicks. When you do it, you can dramatically elevate the quality of older footage that you might find yourself editing.

So, what are you waiting for? Test out the skills you learned now. You know the deinterlacing meaning, and it's easy to correct in Premiere. Test it out with footage of your own.

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