Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the most popular go-to programs for video editing, from professionally edited films to personal family videos. No matter the magnitude of what you’re editing, every video editor wants the process to go as smoothly as possible. Thankfully, there are a whole lot of free Premiere Pro plugins available, to simplify your work and your editing process.
As much as Premiere has an excellent array of built-in tools, sometimes it just isn’t quite as simple to do certain things as you might like. Plugins provided by third-party developers are many and varied, and cover just about everything you could ever want to do during editing.
These plugins make complex editing processes quicker and easier. There are fantastic free options available, and let’s be honest – if you can simplify your work and not spend a cent on it, there’s not much that can beat that.
Part 1: The Best Plugins for Premiere Pro
Top Free Plugins
Mac & Windows
1. Motion Array Plugins – Transitions, Stretch, & Shadow
Motion Array offers a variety of Premiere Pro plugins some of which are 100% Free (See Shifter Plugins). Whether you want a transition or an effect, there’s something in this pack for you.
These plugins are free when you sign up for a paid membership with Motion Array. Don’t be fooled though – the value of these plugins far exceed what you’ll be spending with a membership fee. You’ll also have access to a database of info, tutorials, and tools – the perfect filmmaker’s resource.
With Motion Array’s Marketplace Extension for Adobe you can download and import every asset you’ll ever need right inside of Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. There are heaps of free files available and for paying members you get unlimited downloads on hundreds of thousands of Templates, Footage and Music files.
Ah, the dreaded audio. Many editors despise this part of the job, and not all of us have a sound engineer to do the clean-up for us. Unfortunately, if your audio is bad most people aren’t going to suffer through much of it, no matter how good your visuals may be.
With this plugin, though, we no longer have to worry about fighting with our projects’ audio. With options to improve dialog clarity and presence, give female dialog a boost, add power to a male voice and fix up nasal vocals, this plugin pack is a life-saver when it comes to cleaning up your sound in Premiere.
4. Neat Video
If you’re looking for a denoiser, you won’t beat Neat Video. It has a reputation as being up there with the best tools in a video editor’s arsenal.
Your low light, noise woes are far behind with this plugin – detail preservation is what they pride themselves on, and they deliver admirably.
5. Flicker Free
Nothing can ruin the effectiveness of a time-lapse or a spectacular slow motion shot like lags or flickers. Flicker Free ensures that you never have to worry about your footage looking flashy (in the “bad” way).
Simple to use, but with a big effect, this is one every editor should have. Even if you don’t use it on every edit, it’s worth having in the toolbox for those moments when you need it.
FilmConvert is hands down the best color grading tool for Adobe Premiere Pro. Nothing says “professional” quite like that cinematic look and feel. With this plugin, you’ll be able to add film grain and color, choose from different camera styles to achieve specific looks, and take your footage from looking flat to popping.
With sparkling reviews from a number of well-known filmmakers, if this free trial doesn’t blow your socks off and have you clamoring for the full version, we don’t know what will.
The following plugins are currently only available on Mac OS.
Plugins are great, but sometimes you want only a small bit of your video to show the effects, not the whole frame. That’s where this one comes in. The Region Tool allows you to select which bit you want the effect on and leaves the rest untouched.
Video editing is an art. The more precise you can be the more professional the end result is going to look, and this plugin allows for pretty up close and personal precision. Whether you want to mask someone’s identity or simply create a luminous color effect on a particular part of your image, you’ll be able to do it with this useful tool.
It’s not a difficult task to create text in Adobe Premiere, but Manifesto is a full-featured text editor that allows you to easily and completely customize your text.
Once you’ve got your text as you like it, you can animate it to move in and out of the video as you wish. Manifesto has two types of animation – roll and crawl – both of which are incredibly easy to customize in terms of duration and speed.
As this is a generator, you have full editing freedom on it within Premiere Pro and can use any other plugins or built-in effects on it.
Green screen is a fantastic tool and adds an element of versatility to your work as an editor. The biggest key when it comes to doing green screen work is precision. You don’t want to spot bits of green behind your subject or lose bits of your subject in the background.
Robuskey will help you achieve the perfect chroma key, with perfect precision. The plugin requires an NVIDIA graphics card as it is a GPU-accelerated by NVIDIA CUDA tech, but it is worth the download for the ease it provides in applying an otherwise complicated effect.
Yanobox Nodes is a high-level animation plugin for creating spectacular motion graphics. Whatever detailed graphic imaging you can imagine, Nodes can help you create and animate it for your video.
Nodes is an extremely high-end editing tool, and has an amazing reputation in the film editing industry. Once you get started you’ll realize that the possibilities for creation are endless.
This Premiere Pro plugin is an absolute lifesaver for those awful moments when you realize your 4:3 footage should be 16:9 footage. In short, what it does is it stretches the edges of the footage to fit while leaving the center intact and unstretched. Having this option just means you can breathe easy because your aspect ratio worries are behind you.
Simply highlight the area you wish to keep at its current ratio, and apply. The highlighted area will remain the same, and the outer areas will stretch to fill the frame. You can customize this quite a bit, so whatever your subject matter, you should be able to achieve a visually pleasing effect.
No list of Adobe Premiere Pro plugins would be complete without a lightsaber preset. Who knows when you may need to throw a quick saber into a scene to spice it up? Mac only… If you’re a Windows user, you’ll have to stick to less flashy weapons.
Top Paid Plugins
A huge part of creating a great edit is setting up a cohesive look. There are all sorts of color grading tools on the market. There are presets, and LUTS as well. The whole thing can be a bit overwhelming.
This is where Magic Bullet Looks comes in. Looks is chock full of professional color grade settings that you can apply right on your footage to create an overall “look” for your edit.
With over 200 preset looks to choose from, you’ll very likely find one you like right out of the box. But, you can take any look and adjust it by adding or removing elements from the look. You can also create a look completely from scratch, using the 42 tools like exposure and edge blur to craft your perfect look.
2. Separate RGB
Here’s a simple tool that does one really cool thing. Separate RGB will separate your RGB channels in your video clip. This isn’t something you need every day, but it can be used to really cool effect for certain things.
Not only can you use it for interesting color grading
We originally featured this Premiere Pro plugin in our Gift Guide for Video Editors. Why? Because it’s super handy. One of the most annoying things about editing is when your audio and video get out of sync. We try to avoid it, but it happens.
This is where Pluraleyes comes in to save the day. In a few seconds, Pluraleyes can re-sync your audio and video clips, saving the day and getting you back to your edit.
Light Factory is one of the premier lighting plugins for Premiere Pro. That’s a lot of premieres. It features a whole host of lighting effects, lens flares, and simulations. Light effects have been generated by Industrial Light And Magic, the company behind films like Star Wars.
Effects are customizable with lens editor, and many effects have predictive behavior. So, your fire will look and move like fire. Knoll Light Factory is compatible with After Effects and Premiere Pro, and is a must-have for editors looking to create visual effects right inside of Premiere Pro.
Another great entry from the Red Giant, is the Primatte Keyer. Almost every editor needs to key footage as some point, if not on a regular basis, and the Primatte Keyer is a great option.
While an editor isn’t defined by his or her tools, the right tools sure can help. Check them out and see if you can expand your arsenal.
Part 2: How to Install Premiere Pro Plugins
Now that you’ve downloaded all these amazing free Adobe Premiere Pro plugins, you need to get them into your application so you can start using them. It’s quite simple though – just follow these steps.
Step 1: Find the Download Plugin
The folder will most likely be the plugin or effect name, and you should be able to find it in your Downloads folder unless you chose a particular folder for it to download to. In that case, only you will know where to find it!
Step 2: Choose Mac or Windows
Some plugins will have the option and others won’t. This is because some work for both and some for only one. If there’s only one file or it doesn’t specify Mac or Windows, that’s the one you need to choose.
Step 3: Load Up Premiere Pro
If Adobe Premiere Pro was open during the process, you will probably need to close it and reopen it for the import to have worked.
Step 4: Open your Effects tab… And have fun!
The Premiere Pro plugins you’ve just downloaded should be nestled under “Effects” and ready for you to try them out.
If you have some trouble importing your plugins in this manner, try going to your Effects tab and clicking “Import Presets”, and then selecting the install files. If this still doesn’t work, consider the fact that you may have an older version of Premiere, or you are trying to import a plugin that works only on Mac or Windows.
Best Practices for Using Plugins
There are ways to do things that are right, and then there are ways to do things that are more right. Here are some quick tips to get the most out of using your newly downloaded free Premiere plugins.
- Organize your plugins by folder and bins, if this isn’t automatically done.
- Make sure your white balance is correct before applying plugins or presets.
- Ensure that the effect remains constant throughout (if it is a long-lasting effect, such as a color grading effect).
- Don’t overdo it. It can be tempting to put one over another over another, but in the case of plugins, less is more.
- Put some thought into using presets and plugins – why are you using it and what is it intended to portray?
Occasionally, there are plugins that don’t like other plugins, or that don’t like your computer. This can be caused by a few things:
- Wrong version of Premiere Pro
- Wrong file for your OS
- Clashes with other installed plugins
If already installed plugins start playing up suddenly, it’s usually an indication that something has been changed and the plugin doesn’t like it.
If you have issues installing or importing plugins from the start, it could be an issue with your version of Premiere or your operating system.
Either way, these can be caused by a variety of things, and if you can pick up the exact two plugins that are fighting, or simply the one that is giving you trouble, Google it. There are communities out there who deal with this sort of thing and are willing to answer questions and help out where they can.
Premiere Pro is a fantastic editing program, on its own or with the assistance of third-party plugins. If you really want to take your editing from pretty good to amazing, it’s worth taking advantage of these free Adobe Premiere plugins and playing around with them until you learn how best to use them to create amazing videos.