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6 Premiere Pro VFX Hacks That You Should Know About

6 Premiere Pro VFX Hacks That You Should Know About

Cut the hassle of breaking into a new project to create VFX when editing in Premiere Pro.

Whether you’re an After Effects pro or just getting started with VFX, Premiere Pro can often be overlooked as an option for producing impressive visual effects. 

While it lacks the power and arsenal of effects available in After Effects, there are a ton of ways you can leverage Premiere Pro to quickly and easily produce VFX without ever having to break into a separate After Effects project.

Let’s check out six tutorials that can help you with your next eye-catching VFX project!

1. Turn an Actor into a Giant

The simplest form of this effect relies on a bit of in-camera forced perspective and low-angle shots. However, if you really want to push the envelope and pull off a cool effect with the power of Premiere Pro, opt for using a green screen behind your subject, which gives you the ability to separate the subject from the scene.

You can put elements behind or in front of them to further enhance the illusion after you scale them up. A great idea in the video above is to capture your subject in front of a portable green screen at the same location as your background plate. 

This will let you achieve the perfect lighting for when you composite your shot later. You can also use a drone to shoot a really high exterior shot for your background plate to make your subject seem larger than life.

It’s also a good idea to shoot your subject at a high frame rate so you can make their movements seem slower and heavier as you slow it down in Premiere.

2. Fake a 3D Image From a 2D Image

This effect doesn’t turn your 2D image into a truly 3D element, but it’s a great way to breathe life into still images with engaging animation.

Using the Basic 3D effect in Premiere Pro, you can duplicate your image, mask out your subject on the top layer, then add the effect to your background later for animating. You can also add subtle animations to your subject’s layer for a little more dynamic perspective.

Since Basic 3D works on any video layer, you can even use it to quickly generate fake 3D text from a 2D text layer. While Premiere Pro isn’t a fully-featured 3D program (yet), the Basic 3D effect is certainly nice to have!

3. Make Someone Disappear

Masks are probably one of the greatest tools in the world of VFX, and by using simple masks in Premiere Pro, you can achieve all kinds of cool effects. 

One way you can make someone disappear is by duplicating your layers, creating a tracked mask over your subject, then using the Slip tool to slide the background layer at a different point in time when the subject is not in the region you’re hoping to mask out.

While this may not work all the time depending on your footage, it is a great option you can try within Premiere Pro. Of course, if you need a little extra VFX magic for object removals, you can check out our in-depth guide on object removals with After Effects’ Content-Aware Fill for Video tool.

4. Infuse One Clip’s Camera Shake Onto a Static Clip

If you’ve ever wanted to bring more excitement to a locked-down tripod shot, you can use Warp Stabilizer to actually reverse-engineer a fake camera shake.

Simply stack the shaky camera layer above the layer shot on a tripod, set them to the same length, nest the clips together, then add Warp Stabilizer to the nested sequence.  Select “No Motion” beside “Result” in the Effects Controls, and make sure the method is set to “Position, Scale, and Rotation”. 

Premiere will calculate the stabilized adjustments and apply it to your nested sequence. Now, just open your nested sequence and turn off the top layer that contained your camera movement, and go back to your primary sequence the nested sequence is sitting in. Voila! Your camera shake has successfully been added to the once-static video clip.

This is such a cool hack because it gives you complete control over the level of shake in your videos. If you want to use your phone’s camera to quickly capture the camera shake amount you want, you can just send yourself the video you shoot with the appropriate amount of movement.

5. Get Creative with Ultra Key

Because Ultra Key is a truly powerful keying tool available in Premiere, you can accomplish some really great green screen VFX without needing to use After Effects’ Keylight.

The tutorial above shows several great uses of green screen techniques with Premiere Pro, including how to create levitating objects, flying cars, and even how you can shrink someone.

6. Cut More Precisely

While this tip is of more practical use than VFX-specific, it’s certainly a great one to know as you’re navigating the timeline in Premiere Pro! If you want to achieve laser-precision on your timeline cuts, simply right-click above the timeline and select the menu option that says “Show Audio Time Units”.

You’ll now notice the playhead moves with incredible precision as you scrub through your edit, giving you the most freedom possible when finalizing your VFX project.

We hope you found these tutorials helpful, and remember - you can always amplify your Premiere Pro VFX projects with ActionVFX assets. We have the largest collection of VFX assets in the world and almost every single one of them is compatible with Premiere Pro!

First time here? ActionVFX creates the best pre-keyed stock footage for VFX and filmmaking. (We also have some great free stuff!)

From Fire and massive Explosions to Blood and Gore VFX, we have the largest VFX library in the world ready to be composited in your project. Check out over 3,400 VFX stock footage elements right here

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