Rendering in Video Editing:
How to Speed up the Process!

Rendering in video editingSometimes it takes a while to render your video while video editing!

Rendering in video editing is the computer process of combining your still pictures, video clips, audio clips and other visual elements into a single digital video frame.

It can be the slowest part of editing your video… So... how can you speed it up??

Here are a few tips!


What Is Rendering in Video Editing

What Is Rendering in Video Editing?

When you are video editing, rendering  is the process that prepares your video to be written to a file or disc with all of its transitions, effects, audio, edits, titles and menus etc. included.

This type of rendering is not "Video Rendering" which is a whole different process and is used in 3-D gaming, animation... or is the process of rendering a video game as it is being played.

Most video editing software programs will automatically render the files that you're working on as you do your editing work. This makes for easier and more accurate playback when you are previewing the video. You can also manually render your video file. Normally all you have to do is just hit the enter key on the computer and the program will render the file that you are working on.

Soft Versus Hard Rendering...

Hard Rendering Versus Soft RenderingPeriodic soft rendering, while you're working, insurers that you don't lose all of your precious editing work if your computer fails!

There are two types of rendering that your video editing software will do.

The first is soft rendering. This is a temporary rendering of the video file where changes can be made to the video and can be undone later if needed. The original file remains untouched.

The second type is a final render (meaning the video is for example, being burned to a DVD or exported as a particular file type) is called a hard renderOnce a file is hard rendered it cannot be reedited unless you start again from the beginning.

What Happens When You Render a Video…?

Video editor rendering a videoRendering combines the elements of your video into one complete file!

As you're doing your video editing work:

  • Combining the different elements,
  • Making your cuts,
  • Adding and perfecting your audio and...
  • Working with the special effects that you're laying-in...

You will naturally want to preview your work from time to time to see just what it is that you have created up to that point. 

When you render your video in your video editing software you are combining many different elements such as video clips, still pictures, audio and special effects etc. into one file and format.

Generally, as you edit you can do a preview in real-time (unrendered) that will look pretty much like what you're going to see in the finished video but...

Rendering video editing workThe more complex your video – The more time it will take to render!

if it is a more complex video where you have layered in a lot of special effects, several tracts of video and audio clips and complex cuts etc. then real-time playback is much more difficult for the computer no matter how fast it is.

For you to see a real representation of what the video will look like in its finished state... you will need to render the video.

Rendering processes all the layers of effects, video footage, still pictures, audio clips, cuts and whatever else is in the video into one file and file format and saves it. Once a file is rendered it does not need to be re-rendered unless changes are made. In most video editing software there will be an indicator on the video editor's Timeline view as to if the footage has been rendered or not. 

For example in Adobe Premier Elements there will be a green line across the top of frames in the timeline that have been rendered. Frames that have been changed or edited in some way will have a red line across the top so that you know that those frames have not been rendered and saved yet.

How Do You Speed up the Rendering Process…?

Speed up rendering in video editingRendering in video editing can be the slowest part of working on your video!

The need to render your video clips as you are working on your video depends a lot on the speed and power of your video editing computer.


When you have between 1000 and 2000 or more frames (and depending on the power of your computer) it may take anywhere from 15 min. to over an hour or more to render your video.

Rendering at regular intervals will of course give you a proper playback of the project when you want to preview it and will protect the project in case you have a small disaster such as power and/or computer failure.

Good "real-time" previews are possible on a fast computer but, if your computer is a little slower your previews will probably be a little uneven and choppy.

Computers with...

 ... Are able to process the rendering of the video files much faster.

Video editing computers CPU tip

What Is the Most Important Component That You Would Want to Upgrade?

The CPU is the main component to concentrate on if you want faster rendering times. The more powerful the CPU... The faster the rendering will take place.

Rendering in video editing is just a fact of life! It can be very slow depending upon the complexity of your project and the power of your computer. But…It has to be done!

How to Fix the Scratch Disk Full Error

Another way to speed up your rendering time is to optimize your Scratch Disk! Here's how! How to Fix the "Scratch Disk Full" Error Message!

As I said above...

The speed at which the rendering is done depends primarily on the power of your video editing computer so… if you don't have a computer with lots of RAM, a fast hard drive and a powerful CPU you're just going to have to be patient when you render your project.

But…I'm sure you're finished video will be well worth the wait...!

Have fun...!  Dan (Editor)

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