4 subtle vfx compositing tricks in premiere pro

4 Subtle VFX Compositing Tricks In Premiere Pro

4 Subtle VFX Compositing Tricks In Premiere Pro

Learn compositing tricks inside Premiere Pro to speed up your video editing.

If you prefer working in Premiere Pro and haven’t made the leap to After Effects or want to save a little time, Premiere offers a ton of great features for compositing VFX. Plus, our entire VFX library is compatible with it, as well!

Today, we’re going to take a look at a handful of subtle ways you can make your composited VFX shots shine in Premiere Pro!

How to Combine Actors’ Best Takes

We’ve all been in this scenario before: you’ve got great takes from the actors in your scene, but the problem is Actor 1’s best take is on one clip, and Actor 2’s best take is on another. 

While this can be a bit of a challenge depending on dynamics in your environment, as long as the scene was shot on a tripod and there aren’t any major lighting changes, you can accomplish this task relatively easy.
You can re-time reactions and verbal responses between the two actors, as well as even use this technique to clone an actor.

Speed Up Mask Animations with Automated Mask Tracking

Speaking of masking, you may run into an instance where a static mask isn’t cutting it, and you need to track the motion of the mask itself. Not too long ago, After Effects would’ve been your best bet because of its ability to track motion, but thankfully, Adobe has added automated mask tracking in Premiere Pro in recent years.

This tool generates tons of keyframes in mere seconds that you previously would’ve had to create by hand. See it in action below!

Add Motion Blur

When compositing, you may find that your shots aren’t matching as well as you’d like.  Motion blur can help smooth out actions in the two video clips (such as a scale-up motion), but what’s the best way to add motion blur in Premiere Pro?

Adjusting the shutter angle under the Transform effect is an ideal way to add motion blur because it only reacts when your Motion effect parameters change.
You could also similarly use the Directional Blur effect if you’d prefer, but it requires manual keyframing to coincide with changes to the Motion effect parameters in Premiere Pro, whereas changing the shutter angle under Transform does not.

Use Unsharp Mask to Enhance Soft Footage

You may have foreground elements that need to be composited into the background, but you notice that either your foreground or background footage is a little soft, creating a visible rift between the two pieces of video.

Rather than crunching colors or oversharpening the soft video to try and add detail, give Unsharp Mask a shot!  Unsharp Mask is a great tool for subtly correcting this problem. Not only does it give you the same effect as the Sharpen effect, but it also gives you more parameters to ensure you’re not overdoing it.

The video below does a great job of breaking down this method.
From there, just add slight adjustments until you’re satisfied with the results. You can also use the Noise effect in Premiere Pro to add a touch of grain to the soft image, which can add a hint of detail. If you’ve got the opposite problem and you’re dealing with difficult footage from low light or extreme noise, check out our guide on how to remove noise from grainy footage.

These subtle techniques all take minimal effort, but can make a huge difference in your VFX!

Lastly, if you ever find yourself struggling with compositing video footage that’s shaky, flickering, or overexposed, here are five ways to repair problematic video with After Effects!

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