Do You Need a 4K Monitor to Edit 4K Video?

You don’t technically need a 4K monitor to edit 4K video. Most video editing tools will automatically change the resolution to match whatever monitor you are working with. But professional editors should edit with a matching monitor. 

This post will examine whether you need a 4K monitor to edit 4K video. I’ll provide some insight into the question with the goal of helping video editors understand what tools and equipment will serve them best. 

Let’s get after it. 

Key Takeaways

  • You don’t technically need a 4K monitor to edit 4K video because many editing tools and software will automatically reduce the resolution to match the monitor you are working with. 
  • If you are a professional editor or want professional results, you should still edit 4K video with a 4K monitor for the best results. 
  • If you don’t edit 4K video with a 4K monitor, the end result might not be ideal because the extra pixels can alter the images. 

Do You Need a 4K Monitor to Edit 4K Video? 

You do not technically need a 4K monitor to edit 4K video. It is possible to use a lower resolution monitor than the footage you shot in. But this isn’t always a good idea, especially if you are a professional video editor and want to deliver the best footage possible. 

If you don’t need to deliver 4K footage, you can edit 4K video on a lower-resolution monitor without issue. Most video editing software will automatically adjust the resolution to match whatever monitor you are working on. 

If you aren’t experienced with editing, you might not even notice this happening. You can pretty much edit the footage without needing to do anything to adjust for the lower-resolution monitor. You just upload your 4K footage and fire away. 

But problems will arise if you try to edit 4K footage on a lower resolution monitor and still want to deliver the edited footage in 4K. When you make edits at a lower resolution, they might be less crisp and clear when finalized. 

So, if your goal is to deliver 4K edited footage, you’ll want to stick with editing on a 4K monitor. This will provide the best possible resolution for the footage and the most professional results. 

But if you are editing 4K footage and you only need to return the edits in HD, then you can get away with using a lower-resolution monitor that isn’t 4K. This can be useful if you don’t have access to a 4K monitor. 

Do I Need a 4K Monitor for Video Editing? 

If you are a professional video editor or working toward becoming one, then you’ll probably want to get a 4K monitor to give you the ability to deliver 4K footage. This is becoming more of the norm as video quality improves. 

If you are an amateur editor and don’t have clients, you likely don’t need a 4K monitor. You can still make great edits on an HD monitor, and this is a high-resolution option that will be more affordable than 4K.

What’s the Best Monitor for 4K Editing?

If you want to get the highest-quality footage possible, you’ll want to use a 4K monitor or better when editing 4K video. You won’t experience any loss of pixels when you edit with a monitor at the same or higher resolution than you’re footage. 

Regarding which type of 4K or above monitor is best to use for editing, there are many different options to choose from, and the best often comes down to the individual needs or preferences of the editor. 

It’s important to find a monitor that works well for your editing needs and has any other features you want or need. You’ll also want to consider your budget, as 4K monitors can get expensive.

That said, here are a few options you can consider right away:

1. Dell UltraSharp U3219Q

Dell is a company known for its high-quality displays. Every year, they come up with a new model that raises the bar in terms of features and image quality. The Dell U3219Q follows the trend of the manufacturer’s 2019 flagship 4k monitor.

The 32-inch screen monitor is a must-have for video editors and other creatives because it provides Rec. 709 coverage alongside 95% DCI-P3. It also offers full RGB and excellent color uniformity. The highlight of this high-end 4k monitor is the fact that it’s not a wallet buster compared to other systems in its category.

This is a high-quality build. However, it lacks the built-in color calibrator that comes with some screens. The model also has a modern design, USB-C, 6mm thin bezels, and matt IPS panel finish.

The UltraSharp U3219Q has a resolution of 3840×2160 and a refresh rate of 60Hz. The ports on the monitor include four USB 3.0, one USB Type-C, Displayport, and HDMI.

The Dell U3219Q is a monitor you can count on if you want an excellent 4k monitor with superb color accuracy and pro features, but you don’t have an extra four grand to spare.

2. BenQ SW271

BenQ has been around for a while, and they have built a strong portfolio of general-purpose and gaming 4k displays of different sizes. They have a trademark puck on most of their models—which is a wired remote control.

The remote control usually sits at the base of the monitor, and it allows you to flip through presets and color settings rather than wasting your time with on-screen controls.

The 27-inch IPS 4k display comes with a 14-bit LUT and a 10-bit HDR panel, both of which are quite useful for video editing, graphic design, and photography.

A video editor will also benefit immensely from its 100% sRGB coverage, 99% AdobeRGB, and a wide range of color settings that include numerous calibration modes, excellent contrast levels, brightness, and a gamma range from 1.6 to 2.6.

The model comes with a flexible, rotating stand. It also has thin surrounding bezels and a generous set of display inputs with picture-in-picture modes. The monitor has one USB-C, two USB 3.0, two DisplayPort, and one HDMI. Also, it has a refresh rate of 60Hz and a resolution of 4096×2160.

3. LG 38UC99-W

The LG 38UC99-W’s curved display is completely foolproof. The model is a 38-inch ultra-wide monitor that provides enough room to handle big projects. It has a refresh rate of 60Hz, a resolution of 3840×1600, and split-screen capabilities, all of which allow you to work on many different projects at a time.

The display is four times clearer than basic HD thanks to its WQHD+ (Wide Quad High Definition+) which generates stunning picture quality. And delivers an impressive 3840x1600p.

Your video editing work will be seamless because the LG 38UC99-W has FreeSync which removes any stuttering and tearing that may occur due to differences between a monitor’s refresh rate and graphic card frame rate.

The machine’s 1ms Motion Blur Reduction allows you to enjoy accuracy and precision at a high level. With this, you can rest assured that ghosting and blurring will be dramatically reduced in a way that makes your editing experience smoother.

It comes with a USB 3.0 port that quickly charges the battery of any connected device. If you need to listen to music while you work, the monitor has a Bluetooth connection that allows you to enjoy music from your mobile device via the system’s built-in speaker

The device has over 99% coverage of the sRGB spectrum, which is an incredible solution for highly accurate color. If you need to adjust the settings of the monitor, you can use a few clicks from your mouse.

How to Choose a 4k Monitor for Video Editing

Here are the factors you should look out for before buying.

Screen Size

Video editors need a lot of space to work. So, the bigger the screen, the better. Monitor specifications are usually expressed in ratios. Hence, an aspect ratio of 1:1 will give you a closer view that falls directly in the vision line.

Bigger units like the 16:9 (which is one of the most popular units for movies and games) have higher aspect ratios.

Type of Monitors

4k monitors come in three different forms: IPS, IGZO, and TN type. The kind you go for depends on your level of professionalism and budget.

Each form has unique pros and cons as well. The TN panels are affordable and have simple features, which makes them ideal for newbies. However, it’s not wise to compromise image color accuracy

The IGZO panels produce high-power service because they have an improved transistor-based design that makes them ideal for professionals. The IPS panels enhance image sharpness and color reproduction, but they may be a little slow. The IPS is perfect for video animators and gamers.

Refresh Rate

Typically, manufacturers design monitors with different refresh rates depending on the application. For video editing, it’s better to go for 60Hz or higher.

Brightness and Contrast Ratio

The brightness of most high-end monitors is usually 300 0r 350 cd/m2. However, the professional and recommended brightness range is 250 cd/m2.

Contrast ratio shows the difference between the darkest and brightest reflections on your screen. For professional video editors, we recommend a high contrast ratio because it does a better job of differentiating darker and more vivid scenes.

Color Accuracy

High color accuracy is important because it determines the system’s ability to produce the required level of hue which then saves you the stress of making rough calculations for its delivery.

Response Time

The response time is the period it takes a pixel to change its color. It is best to go for 4k monitors with a response time between 1 to 4ms.


Professionals don’t joke around with quality, they require perfect performance from their monitors. run calibration tests before you buy a new monitor.


Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to if you need a 4K monitor to edit 4K videos. 

Is a 4K monitor needed for video editing? 

You do not need a 4K monitor to edit video, and you can use many different resolutions of monitors to get the job done. You typically want to match the video quality you are shooting with the resolution of the monitor you are working with, but you don’t have to. 

Can we edit 4K on a 1080p monitor? 

You can edit 4K video on a 1080p monitor. Many editors start shooting their footage in 4K and deliver it in 1080p. But if you want or need to deliver footage in 4K, it’s best to edit on a 4K monitor rather than a 1080 one. 

Should I edit in 4K or 1080p? 

The answer to this depends on your needs or preferences. 4K will give you better video quality and higher resolution. But this also increases the size of the files, which can slow down the process. 1080p can work well in most cases. 

Can you edit 4K on any computer? 

You can’t really edit 4K video on just any computer. 4K is larger than most computer monitors can handle and is quite a bit larger than 1080. This means that if you edit on a computer monitor less than 4K, you might run into issues.

Other Tips

If you pick up a new monitor for your video editing, make sure you get some cleaning wipes as well. Nothing is more annoying than getting dirt and grime on a monitor when you’re trying to edit your videos. Not knowing if a spot is a part of the video or just a speck of dirt can be quite frustrating.

Another thing you may want to invest in is a nice monitor arm. This will give you more freedom to move the monitor where you need it instead of using the included monitor stand. It is also helpful if you’re using multiple monitors to line them up perfectly.

Final Thoughts

Even though you don’t need a 4K monitor to edit 4K video, you’ll likely still want one if you are a professional editor. If you need to deliver edited 4K footage, editing on a monitor with a lower resolution can cause issues. 

Have you ever used a lower-resolution monitor to edit 4K video? How did the footage turn out? Let me know in the comments below. 

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