Adobe Premiere Effects: Everything You Need to Know

Premiere Pro 13/02/2019 6 min read

The effects (FX) you can use in Adobe Premiere are vast, ranging from something simple like stabilization (more on that later) to more complicated special effects (SFX) such as gunshots and teleportation.

While you may feel you are some way from creating the more dramatic compositions, most of the tools you use to create the different effects are the same. So, once you know your way around the software your skillset will match your ambition.

As we’ve said before, much of editing is troubleshooting. Once you know how to use the basic tools, it is for you to figure out how to combine and use them to create the look you need. In this tutorial, we will tell you everything you need to know about Adobe Premiere effects, so you will be armed with the knowledge to get creative and create stunning compositions.

Types of Video Effects

Fixed Effects

These are the standard controls already applied to your clips within Premiere. These include the clips Motion Controls (Position, Scale, Rotation, and Anchor Point), Opacity, and Time Remapping. When you select a clip in the sequence, these controls will appear in the Effects Controls panel.

Video Effects

The fixed effects allow you to change the basic settings such as resizing it or changing the speed of the playback.

Standard Effects

These are the ones you add from the Effects Panel and include both transitions and more stylistic visual options. They each have a menu of options which are only revealed once it has been applied.

Standard Effects List

Standard effects are essentially animated presets that tell your video to move or behave in a particular way. You can also use Masks to define the affected area, find out more information about using masks here.

Clip-Based or Track-Based Effects

All video effects are clip-based, meaning they need to be added to each independent one. You can add FX to multiple clips by copy and pasting the FX, nesting several together as one, or using an adjustment layer.

Track-based ones only apply to Audio Effects and can be added to an entire track on the sequence using the Audio Mixer and Timeline panel.

Audio Effects

Effects Plugins

Plugins are created by a third party and can be easily installed to work alongside Premiere’s built-in controls. There are a lot of websites offering both free and paid for plugins to help expand your editing capabilities. Motion Array has some downloadable plugins for you to try here.

Effects Plugins

How to Add Effects in Premiere Pro

Now you know about the different types you can use, let’s run through how to add them to your work.

Transition Effects

These are added to the beginning or end of a clip to create a dynamic, animated link to the next clip.

  1. Locate the point the two clips meet.
  2. Choose the transition you wish to use from the Effects tab.
  3. Drag the transition to the point between the two.
  4. Drag the ends of the FX layer out to create the length of the transition.
  5. Use the Effects Control panel to adjust your transition.

If you want more information about troubleshooting transitions, check out this tutorial.

Visual Effects

These are added directly to a clip and can be combined to expand your editing capabilities further.

  1. Choose the one you would like to use from the Effects tab.
  2. Drag it to the desired video.
  3. Use the Effects Control panel to adjust your transition with more precision.

Effect Presets

When an FX is applied the settings will be at default, and you will have to change them according to your needs. If you wish to use the same one with the same settings across multiple clips or projects, it is sometimes more straightforward to use a preset.

Adobe has created several presets for you to use, including some handy FX to counteract distortion when filming with DJI or GoPro cameras. You can also create your own Presets:

  1. Add your FX to a single clip, and adjust all the settings to your requirements.
  2. In the Effects Controls panel select the one(s) you want to turn in to a preset. If you are selecting multiple FX, hold command/control on your keyboard and click on each one.
  3. Right-click and choose Save Preset. The FX and their settings will be bundled up into their own preset and listed in the Effects panel. You can now drag and drop this preset to use on another part of the project if needed.

Top Video Effects

Stabilize a Clip

Knowing how to stabilize your footage can help you iron out tripod shake or smooth off handheld camera work.

Find the Warp Stabilizer in the Effects panel, and drag and drop on to your clip. Premiere Pro will do all the heavy lifting for you by analyzing your background and providing stabilization. There are several options within the effect, but the most important one is the Result settings.

The drop-down menu has two options:

Smooth Motion

This will smooth any particularly bumpy camera movements, creating the impression the footage has been shot using a gimbal.

No Motion

This will remove all motion from your shot. It does this by counteracting the rotation and panning of the camera, but to do so, it may need to zoom in on the footage which can result in loss of quality. The best fix for a shaky camera operator is a tripod, but if you get some footage that makes you feel a little seasick, the Warp Stabilizer can save the day.

Fake a Timelapse

Time-lapse videos are usually created in camera, capturing a single frame at regular intervals. You can also create a fake time-lapse in Premiere Pro by adjusting the time of your clip.

  1. Select the footage you want to alter the speed.
  2. In the Effects Controls panel, click on the drop-down menu next to Time Remapping, followed by the drop-down next to speed.
  3. You will see a line indicating the velocity. Drag the bar upwards to speed your clip up, or down to slow it.

You can also add keyframes to your Velocity line to change the speed of the footage throughout its duration.

Add Some Flare

Lens flares can be used with a whole range of light sources to create a more cinematic feel to your films. Whether you’re adding flare to car headlights and street lamps, or creating a full-on J.J Abrams homage, the effect you use is the same.

Watch how we add a touch of flair (see what I did there?) to this simple shot of a girl with a torch.

  1. Add the Lens Flare effect to the clip.
  2. Center the flare to the light source.
  3. Enable keyframing.
  4. Add a keyframe for each movement of the light source, and match the center of the flare to that point.

If there is less movement in the shot, then you’ll need fewer points than a scene with more action. Remember you can go back and add in more keyframes later.

Editing Video Effects

Copy & Pasting Effects

You can copy/paste your FX by selecting the clip with the attributes you want to use, then pressing Command/Control + C on your keyboard. Select the clip you wish to apply the effect to, right-click and select paste attributes. A menu will pop up with the FX and settings you have copied. Select the FX you wish to apply to the new clip and hit ok.

Effects can be copied between clips, nested sequences, and adjustment layers using the same methods.

Removing Effects

Deleting an unwanted one is super easy. Select the clip in the sequence from which you wish to remove an effect. Select it in the Effects Controls panel, and hit backspace.

So, there you have it, a break down of all the different types of FX and how they can be applied. If you’re shy on time, we also have a list of effects you can download for free too. For now though, this is everything you need to know about using effects in Adobe Premiere Pro. Now, go immerse yourself and see what you can create!