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Video Boost on the Google Pixel 8 Pro: What is it and how does it work?

Google has mastered image processing, so why not video too?
By

Published onJune 10, 2023

If there’s one thing we know about Google Pixel launches, it’s that some of the best features aren’t available until months down the road. Google uses regular Feature Drops to keep its phones feeling fresh and new long after they launch. While some Feature Drops center around bringing new features to older Pixels, others debut brand-new tricks for Google’s latest devices. Video Boost is one of the latter. It’s an exclusive video processing feature for the most advanced Pixel flagship to date, but what is it exactly? And how does it work? Well, let’s get into it.

QUICK ANSWER

Video Boost is a post-processing feature on the Google Pixel 8 Pro. It backs up your video files to Google's data centers, where they're run through a computational photography model to adjust color, stabilization, grain, and lighting. The feature also enables Night Sight Video, which runs clips through similar models to reduce the amount of noise in low-light scenarios.


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Google Video Boost: What is it?

google pixel 8 pro video boost menu
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

You’re probably already familiar with the excellent image processing across Google’s entire range of Pixel cameras. Well, the easiest way to think of Video Boost is as Tensor-powered image processing, but for videos… and not directly using the Tensor chip. Instead, it exports your video clips to Google’s cloud servers to tackle the labor-intensive enhancements. Video Boost crawls through video clips frame by frame to adjust color, stabilization, grain, and lighting. As you might expect, it isn’t a quick process.

Thankfully, Google is upfront about the fact that Video Boost takes time — that’s one of the reasons that it remains a Pixel 8 Pro exclusive feature that arrived in the December 2023 Feature Drop. However, it also acknowledges that you don’t always have time to wait before you want to share your video clips. So, to make up for the gap, the Pixel 8 Pro essentially records two versions of your video — one that you can share right away and another that gets uploaded to the cloud for processing. The initial clip undergoes some basic retouching, though the larger file that gets run through Google’s advanced models waits until you’re connected to Wi-Fi before uploading to the cloud.

Think of Video Boost as Google's powerful image processing... but for video.

Once complete, the boosted clip will appear in your Google Photos library along with a notification telling you that the clip has arrived. From there, you can share the video as you would with any other item in your library. The necessity of Google Photos also dictates that you need a Google account to use Video Boost, and you also have to allow Google Photos to back up your content.

The other piece of the Video Boost feature is that it enables Night Sight Video. Once again, it works like Google’s image processing, this time for low-light video. More specifically, Night Sight Video centers around noise reduction in your clips, which will probably be helpful in situations like concerts and nighttime walks. Although Night Sight Video is a Pixel 8 Pro exclusive feature, both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro now support Night Sight time-lapses if you want a classic clip of headlights flying up and down the highway. Either way, the upgrade should be enough to keep Google’s Pixels among the best camera phones you can buy for a long time to come.

Video Boost onboarding close up
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

As mentioned, Video Boost is an exclusive feature on the Google Pixel 8 Pro. There are several reasons for this, but it mainly boils down to the intense nature of the process. Video Boost files are already large, which means they take longer to process, increasing the load on Google’s servers. That said, Google has since opened up its Gemini Nano model for use on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a, so there’s still some hope that Video Boost will follow suit. For now, though, it remains limited to the highest-end flagship.

Google also used a staged rollout to bring Video Boost to the Pixel 8 Pro. It launched as part of the December 2023 Feature Drop but didn’t necessarily reach every Pixel 8 Pro at the same time. Some of our team received the Feature Drop days before receiving Video Boost, leaving some of us with nicely boosted videos of Paris while others sat refreshing the update screen over and over again.

If you’re not sure whether or not you’ve received Video Boost, you can quickly check by opening the camera app, flipping to video mode, and checking your settings. Video Boost will also pop up with a prompt to activate the feature the first time you record a video after receiving the Feature Drop.

How to use Video Boost on the Pixel 8 Pro

Video Boost icon Google Camera
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

The process of using Video Boost on your Pixel 8 Pro could not be simpler — at least for you as the user. It’s as simple as adjusting any other video setting, like resolution or frame rate. We’ve broken the steps into a few quick stages, which should give you an idea of the process. If you’re ready to try Google’s advanced video processing, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Camera app on your Pixel 8 Pro.
  2. Toggle from Photo mode to Video mode.
  3. If you don’t get a prompt for Video Boost, open the Settings cog.
  4. Tap on the Video Boost toggle.
  5. Press Record when you’re ready to start and stop your clip.

That’s about all there is to do on your end when it comes to using Video Boost on the Pixel 8 Pro. However, you might also want to occasionally check in on your upload after you finish recording. In that case, here are a few more steps to follow:

  1. Open your camera roll.
  2. Choose whether you want your clip to upload using Wi-Fi or cellular data.
  3. Tap on the preview of your clip marked with the Video Boost icon.

There’s a good chance you’ll just be met with a message saying, “Backing up for Video Boost. This may take some time. A notification will be sent when your video is ready.” In that case, you did it correctly. Now, all there is to do is wait for a notification from Google Photos to flash across your screen, at which point your boosted video will be ready to share.

Google Video Boost Frequently Asked Questions

For now, Google’s Video Boost will remain a Pixel 8 Pro exclusive feature, though there is a possibility that Google will open access to more devices in the future.

Currently, Video Boost is reserved for Pixel 8 Pro users due to the heavy infrastructure requirements. Google is unable to support more users without slowing down the processing time for the library of clips.

Yes, Video Boost requires a Google Account because the processed clips will be added to your Google Photos library.

Video Boost is part of the December 2023 Feature Drop, so you should receive a notification on your Pixel 8 Pro when the OTA (over the air) update is ready.

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