5 Great Video Effects in Adobe Premiere and How to Use Them
Premiere has a wealth of effects with it, combining a few can give you great results. Here’s a few ideas on effects that you can achieve from the standard library to create interesting results for your projects.
1. The 8mm Effect
One of the more popular looks people wish for, there are numerous commercial plugins to recreate the 8mm look as a result, however, there are ways to make your footage look like it came from another era without any plugins, as we shall see.
The first step to achieving this look is to adjust the frame rate. 8mm cameras recorded footage at 12, 14, 16 or 18 frames per second, and so we need to reduce the frame rate of our footage to simulate this. Highlight the clip you are working on in the timeline and in the effects tab on the bottom left either find the Posterize Time effect or type ‘post’ in the search bar to go to it.
Drag that effect onto the clip and this enables you to adjust the frame rate of the clip.
We can now change the frame rate, you may want to experiment here for personal taste, but I find 14 frames per second gives a good approximation.
Next up we add the RGB color Corrector effect
Here you set Gamma to 1.6, again, personal taste comes into this, it is a creative process after all, try altering settings and find something you like, I also went on to change Pedestal to 0.2 and gain to 0.8
The final effect to add is Tint
Other than speed, perhaps the defining characteristic of 8mm stock is the tint, this came in two flavors, a cooler green tint and a warm orange tint. To achieve this look, once we apply the filter to the clip we can set the black and white tints by clicking on each to bring up the color picker and choose a suitable color, again, a bit of experimentation here can work wonders.
The final step is to set the Amount to Tint. This value very much depends on the effect you are looking for but 40% seems to be a good starting point.
There you have it, the 8mm effect.
An additional step here, is to find a ‘scratch and dust’ overlay clip, and past it into the timeline over the top of your altered clip to give it the aged look in addition to the color corrections and so on, but many find just the washed out colors, tint and frame rate adjustment is perfect for any project.
2. The Ken Burns effect
Named after the renowned historian and filmmaker the Ken Burns effect is the use of pan and zoom within a still image to create the illusion of movement. Ken implemented it frequently in his work on The American Civil War and other historical works where moving footage was simply not an option.
The key to this effect is the use of keyframes and position parameters.
With a clip or image in the timeline, the first step is to navigate to the first frame.
Here I’m using a nice image of Saturn.
With the timeline set at the 1st frame, go to the effects control panel, and simply click the stopwatch icon next to both the Position and Scale parameters within the video settings, this creates a keyframe set at both scale and position.
Because Premiere will add in new keyframes automatically when any parameter is adjusted once set via the stopwatch, the hard work is actually done for us by the software, so now we simply need to navigate to the last frame of the clip, adjust the parameters and the keyframe is created for us at the current time.
Adjust the scale a little and the position, and that is pretty much it. You can also save this as a preset for use later by making sure the scale parameter is selected and click save preset to the top right. This will save the whole range of pan and zoom to use whenever you desire.
3. Black and White
One of the simplest, but in the right project, most effective effects that we can implement is black and white. It’s not for everything, but black and white footage has this ability to convey mood and ambience that is difficult to explain, and as such it is a worthwhile effect for anyone to master.
The good news is it is straightforward to do and leaves plenty of room for tinkering with settings to obtain just the right look you are after.
Load up the clip into your timeline, and within the effects panel either type ‘black & white’ into the search panel or navigate to image control and simply drag the black and white effect onto your clip in the timeline. Hey presto! Black and white footage.
4. Green Screen
Another favorite for people to try out, and yet another that Premiere makes easy for us to use. Green screen, the technical term is chroma key, enables many effects to be used and perhaps most peoples first introduction to special effects in video.
The great thing is Premiere has a tool built in to do this, so here we will walk through the steps involved. The first step is to place the footage that will be replacing the green areas on the timeline, ensure this is on video track one.
Next add the second clip, the one that includes the green screen, on the timeline as video track 2, directly above the first clip.
Now go to the effects panel and type ‘chroma’ or navigate through to video effects and keying to find the chroma key effect.
Drag that effect onto the green screen clip to activate it.
Now it is simply a question of choosing the color to be replaced using the eyedropper tool.
Now adjust the Similarity setting until the video on track one replaces the green. You can fine tune this with blend, threshold and cutoff, experiment to get the effect you desire.
Then simply save the project and render it as needed.
Green Screen with minimum fuss.
5. Lighting effects
One of the hardest things to control when filming is the lighting, for this reason lighting effects have become very popular, they are often desired and prove extremely effective, and luckily for us Premiere includes a selection for us.
As ever, start with a clip loaded into the timeline, then search for lighting in the effects panel.
The controls are quite comprehensive here, offering a 3 different light types, and up to 5 lights in total. You can change the color, intensity, shape and direction of each light as you wish with the controls to enable you to create almost any effect you could want. This is one of those effects that you need to just experiment with to find the looks you like, there are so many possibilities with the number of options available.
I hope this has helped you with some of the more desirable effects that are possible with Premiere, some, like Black an White, are extremely simple to utilize once you know where to go , whilst others, such as the 8mm film look, need a bit more work, but are surely worth it for the difference they can make to any project.