Video Rendering: Complete Tutorial for Beginners

By Matic Broz, editor-in-chief of Photutorial covering stock media, Adobe, and design. He founded Photutorial while finishing his PhD in computational biosciences.

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What Is Video Rendering?

Video rendering is the process by which a computer system reads information from a source code and then converts that data into something that can be displayed on the screen. The encoded data source contains instructions to accurately frame images on a web page or play a movie.

Video rendering typically begins by assembling a series of still images from a source file in a specific order. Once the scene is created, it is integrated with the audio components. Finally, it is transferred to rendering software, which converts it into a polished video that can be uploaded to YouTube or another media platform.

The output of a video rendering can be a number of different file types, depending on the purpose of the video and the user’s preferences. AVI, MKV, and MOV formats are most commonly used for TV, while MP4 and WMV formats are more commonly used for online videos.

Why Do You Have To Render A Video?

If you want to upload a video to YouTube (or any other site), you first need to render it. Rendering is the process of taking your project file and turning it into an actual video file. This file can then be uploaded and viewed by anyone.

The only way to view the video without rendering is through video editing software. Your project file contains only instructions, not actual video or audio. Editing a video is simply a matter of following these instructions. It may look like you’re cutting and splicing video footage, but in reality, you’re leaving the original files intact. 

So, to recap, to upload a video to YouTube, you need to:

  1. Use video editing software to create a project file. This file will only contain instructions, not actual video or audio.
  2. Render the video. This is the process of taking the project file and turning it into an actual video file.
  3. Upload the video file to YouTube or any other video streaming platform.

How Long Does Video Rendering Take?

The time for completing video rendering varies based on several factors. The process typically takes about 20 minutes to an hour to render an hour-long 1080p video on powerful computers. The render time is affected by the following factors:

File Size 

The size of a video directly affects the rendering time. A large file with more pixels takes longer to render because the software must process more data.

Software Used 

Since the algorithms and optimization techniques of different software programs can affect the speed of the video file, the software you use will significantly impact the time it takes you to render a video. When choosing video editing software, it’s essential to consider your needs and select the software that’s best suited for your project.

Project Complexity

The complexity of a video rendering project determines how long it takes to render it. Shorter, simpler videos will take less time than longer, more complex videos with multiple animations and special effects. However, planning and organization can help keep even complex projects on schedule.

Computer Speed

A faster processor can help reduce overall rendering time, while more RAM can help reduce delays when accessing large video files.

Video Rendering System Requirements

  • Processor: Multi-core and high-clock speed Intel i5/i7/i9 or AMD Threadripper/Ryzen 39xx. The best performing processors are AMD Threadripper 3990X, AMD Threadripper PRO 3995WX, AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, and Intel i9 12000K. The best performance-to-value offers are AMD Ryzen 5 2600, 2600X, 2700X, and Intel i5 12600K.
  • Graphics Card: At least 2 GB of GPU memory. For 4K or higher resolution, go for 4 GB and above. The best graphics cards are the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super, Nvidia Quadro RTX A4000, AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, AMD Radeon Pro VII, and AMD RX 570.
  • Memory/RAM: DDR4, above 8GB memory size and speed of at least 3200 MHz. The best performing RAM sticks are the Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB, the G.Skill Trident Z RGB Series 32GB, and the Crucial Ballistix Sport. For 4K video rendering, the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 64GB and HyperX Fury RGB 64GB offer the best performance to value.
  • Storage: A minimum capacity of 500 GB and a read/write speed of over 540MB/s are recommended. The best hard drives are Toshiba Canvio Flex, SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD V2, LaCie Portable SSD, and G-DRIVE Mobile Pro SSD. 
  • Screen size: 24 inches and above with a resolution of at least 3840 x 2160 and a refresh rate of 60Hz. The best monitors are the ASUS ProArt PA329CV, Dell UltraSharp PremierColor U3219Q, HP DreamColor Z31x, and LG 27UL500. For Ultra-wide monitors, the best performance to value offers include LG 34WP85C-B, Samsung CHG90 QLED, AOC Agon CU34G2, LG UltraGear 38GN950, MSI Optix MPG341CQR, and Dell S3422DWG.
  • Operating System: Windows 7 and above (64-bit), Mac OS X, or Linux.

CPU vs. GPU for Rendering

The decision to go with a GPU or CPU for video rendering depends on your specific editing needs. If you need to render high-quality 3D videos, then a GPU is the way to go. On the other hand, the CPU is ideal for use if you need to do basic editing. However, for a great editing experience, it is important to have the right combination of a powerful CPU and a GPU.

Rendering can be done on a CPU (central processing unit) or a GPU (graphics processing unit).  They’re both important in the rendering process but have significant differences.

For one, GPUs offer a significant advantage over CPUs because they are optimized for graphical computations and parallel processing, making them much better at handling detailed information and processing it simultaneously. On the other hand, CPUs operate sequentially, making them excellent at handling lots of general data and doing it accurately one at a time.

Do You Need to Render Stock Footage?

The answer is: it depends on the format of the stock footage and the requirements of your project. Most stock footage is already in a format that can be used by most video editing software, and it will usually play back smoothly without any issues.

However, if you’re using footage from multiple different sources or if you plan on applying any special effects to the footage, then rendering may be necessary. Likewise, if your project has specific resolution or frame rate requirements, you may need to render the footage to meet those requirements.

Read more: Best unlimited stock footage sources

Best Video Editing Apps for Rendering

There are dozens of video editing apps available on the market, each with its own unique features and benefits. Some offer advanced features and tools better for professionals, while others come with simplified tools that even beginners can pick up quickly. Here are some of the best video rendering apps currently available:

Best for pros

Adobe Premiere Pro

Photutorial Score
Photutorial Score = 5.0/5

Photutorial scores are objectively determined by our editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors consumers should consider when choosing creative products and services.

  • Number of Video Tracks: Unlimited
  • Motion Tracking: No
  • Multicam Editing: Yes
  • 3D Editing: Yes
  • H.265 (HEVC): Yes

Why We Picked It

Adobe Premiere Pro works on Windows and Mac, making it an industry standard for video editing software used by major production houses worldwide. It has many powerful trimming and editing tools, giving professional video editors more precision and control over their projects.

With multiple editors working on the same project simultaneously, Adobe Premiere Pro is the perfect tool for professionals. It has a shared and team projects feature that allows editors to collaborate on a single project file. 

Furthermore, Adobe Premiere Pro has fast playback for massive projects. If you’re part of a team, you will also enjoy the support for multiple users. It also allows downloading high-quality, royalty-free stock footage and audio from Adobe Stock directly through the software, improving productivity and saving time.

The bottom line

Adobe Premiere Pro is the go-to video editing software for professionals and anyone looking to get serious about video editing. It has a wide range of features that allow users to create high-quality videos, including support for up to 8K resolution, advanced color correction, and motion graphics.

Pros & Cons


  • Supports multiple video file formats.
  • Synchronized editing.
  • Automatic color correction.


  • Requires a high-performance computing system.
  • Subscription-based.

Who It’s For

Adobe Premiere Pro is a powerful video editing software for professional videographers and editors. If you’re part of a team working on a video project, Adobe Premiere Pro has excellent collaboration features that let you share your work and get feedback from your colleagues.

Best for beginners

Adobe Premiere Rush

Photutorial Score
Photutorial Score = 4.5/5

Photutorial scores are objectively determined by our editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors consumers should consider when choosing creative products and services.

  • Number of Video Tracks: 7
  • Motion Tracking: No
  • Multicam Editing: No
  • 3D Editing: No
  • H.265 (HEVC): No

Why We Picked It

One of the best things about Adobe Premiere Rush is that it’s extremely user-friendly, even if you’ve never edited a video before. With its simple interface and intuitive controls, Adobe Premiere Rush is the perfect tool for anyone who wants to create beautiful videos without spending hours learning how to use complex software.

Adobe Premiere Rush also includes a robust set of built-in editing tools that make it easy to add effects, transitions, titles, and audio tracks to your videos. In addition, the software supports a wide range of file formats, making it a versatile tool for both Mac and PC users.

The bottom line

Adobe Premiere Rush is a great video editing software for beginners. It is simple and has all the basic features needed to edit videos. The software also makes it easy to export your edited videos to social media platforms or share them with others. 

Pros & Cons


  • Straightforward interface.
  • Supports multiple audio tracks display.
  • Numerous motion graphics templates.


  • Limited video effects and templates.
  • Lacks motion tracking and screen editing.
  • Very slow in rendering video files.

Who It’s For

Adobe Premiere Rush is best used by filmmakers, YouTubers, and social media specialists who need to create high-quality videos quickly and efficiently. Premiere Rush is an excellent choice for users who need to make videos on a tight schedule and don’t have the time or resources to do extensive post-production work.

Best for GoPro users


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Photutorial Score = 4.0/5

Photutorial scores are objectively determined by our editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors consumers should consider when choosing creative products and services.

  • Number of Video Tracks: 1
  • Motion Tracking: No
  • Multicam Editing: No
  • 3D Editing: No
  • H.265 (HEVC): Yes

Why We Picked It

Quik has a simple and user-friendly interface. It has many pre-made movie templates and transitions, perfect for filmmakers who want quick, creative, and professional-looking content with just a few clicks.

Moreover, Quik has built-in filters that can automatically give your footage a fantastic look. It also suggests good points for an ending segment to match the music track. The best part about Quik is that it allows you to share your videos directly from the app on social media.

The bottom line

Quik is an app that lets you edit and share your GoPro footage quickly and easily. It’s one of the best apps for GoPro users and is available for iOS and Android. Quik also makes it easy to convert your GoPro footage into different formats, so you can watch it on TV or share it online.

Pros & Cons


  • Unlimited cloud backup.
  • Automatic video and photo organization features.
  • Allows instant sharing of video clips.


  • Unsuitable for long-form videos.
  • Supports only GoPro content.
  • Limited free songs and audio clips.

Who It’s For

If you love shooting videos on your GoPro, Quik is a tool worth checking out. This app lets users take control of all its powerful editing tools, which produce excellent results. Furthermore, it takes the hassle out of editing by automatically finding the best moments from your videos and photos in the cloud or on your phone and compiling them into shareable files without spending hours editing.

Best for iOS users


Photutorial Score
Photutorial Score = 3.8/5

Photutorial scores are objectively determined by our editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors consumers should consider when choosing creative products and services.

  • Number of Video Tracks: 6
  • Motion Tracking: Yes
  • Multicam Editing: Yes
  • 3D Editing: Yes
  • H.265 (HEVC): Yes

Why We Picked It

Amateurs and professionals can use LumaFusion to create stunning video content. One thing that sets LumaFusion apart from other video editing apps is its ability to render video quickly. This makes it an ideal choice for those who need to edit videos on the go. 

In addition, LumaFusion offers a variety of features that make it perfect for both beginners and experts to produce high-quality video content. So whether you’re just getting started with video editing or you’re a seasoned pro, LumaFusion is sure to have the tools you need to create that smooth, professional-looking video.

The bottom line

LumaFusion is a powerful video editing app that is optimized to run on iOS devices. The app has many features ideal for beginners and experienced iOS video editors. For instance, it allows adjusting the display to landscape or portrait mode on iPhones and iPads for easy navigation. Furthermore, LumaFusion allows direct export of your video files to YouTube.

Pros & Cons


  • Compatible with all iOS devices.
  • Supports the use of custom fonts.
  • Allows the addition of third-party audio plugins.


  • Supports only 6 video and audio tracks.
  • Only available to iOS devices.
  • Requires plenty of storage space when dealing with high-resolution videos.

Who It’s For

LumaFusion is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a comprehensive video editing solution for their iOS device. Its ability to change the workspace layout to the one that is comfortable for you makes it very user-friendly and easy to use for all iOS users to create excellent video content.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do You Need to Render a Video?

Most source files are usually in a format unsuitable for direct use, such as a raw image sequence from a camera. Rendering converts these files into a format that can be used for final output, such as a video that can be played on a television or any media device.

Is Rendering the Same as Exporting?

Rendering and export are frequently used interchangeably, though they slightly differ technically. Rendering is the entire process of encoding a video, from reading and decoding the footage to adding special effects and integrating sound. On the other hand, exporting refers to merging all this footage and effects into a single video file.

Do I Need to Render My Video Before Exporting?

You do not have to render your video before exporting it. However, if you want your video project to play back in real-time and have all the special effects in the right place, you might want to consider rendering your video before exporting it.


  1. Alex Glawion. Best CPU For Rendering [2022 Guide]. CGDirector. Updated May 9, 2022. Retrieved September 9, 2022.
  2. Dan Stone. What Is Video Rendering? Techwalla.
  3. Christopher Harper. How Long Does It Take To Render a Video? (It depends). Published July 12, 2022.
  4. Matthew Mister. What specs do I need for video editing? proMAX. Published August 30, 2019.
  5. Jason Parnell-Brookes. The best hard drives for video editing in 2022. Digital Camera World. Published August 2, 2022.
  6. Alex Glawion. CPU vs. GPU Rendering – What’s the difference and which should you choose? CGDirector. Updated April 12, 2022.
  7. Adobe Creative Cloud. Professional video editing software | Adobe Premiere Pro. Adobe.
  8. Adobe Creative Cloud. Video editing app | Mobile video editing | Adobe Premiere Rush. Adobe.


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