How to Fix a Pixelated Movie

By Rianne Hill Soriano

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Video footage

  • Video-editing program with video-enhancing plugin or video-enhancing program

  • Computer

A low-resolution video typically contains pixelated footage.
i Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

A pixelated movie shows blocked artifacts throughout the footage, which lessens the quality of the details of the video. This is similar to a mosaic effect applied to a video, where the footage becomes unclear and filled with small squares. Pixelation is typically caused by using a camera that captures low-resolution footage, shooting in very low light or converting a movie file with a very small file size or very low video resolution.

Download and install a video-enhancing program that helps improve the quality of a pixelated movie. For the general user, such programs include VirtualDub, Video Enhancer, Digital Video Repair, Sanmaxi Access File Repair and Fix Player. Plug-ins for popular video-editing programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro can also be used.

Open a pixelated movie file in the video-enhancing or video-editing program. Highlight the footage to prepare it for the application of a video filter or effect.

Select an applicable video filter or effect to enhance the video. This varies with theprogram or plug-in used but is typically available under “Effects,” “Video” or “Filter Menu” of the program. These effects or filters are usually termed “Deblocking Effect," “Video Enhancement Filter” or “Super Resolution” filter. In many cases, the program provides options for enhancing the video. Although combining these can generally help improve the quality of your video, avoid overusing them, which can lead to the generation of digital artifacts. Depending on the extent of the pixelation, the video can be improved only up to a certain level. The larger the pixels or squares in the video, the less improvement is possible, regardless of the program, process or function used.

Configure the amount of effect you want. You can usually adjust this by using a slider button or a space where you can indicate a numerical value for the effect. Check how the video looks by using the program’s “Preview Monitor.” Once you find the desired improvement, confirm the use of the video filter or effect by clicking “OK” or a similar button referring to the application of the filter or effect used.

Render the edited movie to generate the final video with the applied improvement. Rendering is the process used to produce a new image using a video program. Rendering time mainly depends on the running time, quality and file size of your movie. Rendering is usually fast for pixelated videos, which are typically deemed low-resolution files. The technical specifications of your computer, particularly the RAM, video card and processor of your computer, also affect the rendering process.

Export the movie using a high-resolution format or, preferably, a lossless codec so that you don’t lose any more video resolution. In video files, a codec refers to the encoding of a digital data stream or signal that is transmitted or stored for playback purposes. For a lossless video codec, this means that the video data is efficiently compressed to maintain the original attributes of the video source. Using this codec prevents losing any information coming from the original data. When exporting, you may choose any preferred video file format compatible with the video-playing program or multimedia device where you want to play your exported movie. Popular video file formats include MOV, AVI and MP4.


A pixelated video can be improved but not necessarily made perfectly clear, especially if its quality is very bad. Improving very low-resolution footage to the point that it is extremely clear and detailed can be daunting and impractical. In the worst cases, it requires frame-by-frame editing of the video.