How to Make a Film Strip Transition in Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro 12/02/2019 6 min read

Want to create a film roll transition in Premiere Pro? It’s really simple! In this tutorial, we’re going to go step-by-step in Premiere Pro to show you how to create a custom film strip effect to easily transition between any two pieces of footage.

This film roll transition can be used to make your video stand out or be a stylistic choice for your project’s needs. The basis of this effect comes from the offset effect in Premiere Pro and is also inspired by one of our free film roll presets. Let’s dive in!

Steps to Create a Film Roll Transition

Step 1: Add Footage to the Timeline

To start, drag two pieces of footage onto your timeline. These should be a clip to start with and another clip to transition into. Cut them down to the amount that you want them to last for, including the amount that you want to be included in the transition. Depending on your preference, this will last roughly between 12 and 24 frames.

Now, create an adjustment layer. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Right-click in your Project Manager > New Item > Adjustment Layer. 
  2. Take your Adjustment Layer and place it over top of the cut between your clip.
  3. Then cut it down, so that it’s roughly the same size on each side of the cut, but also lasting about as long as you want the actual effect to last for.  

Step 2: Apply the Offset Effect

Now that that’s done, you’re ready to actually start creating the effect. The basis of this film roll transition comes down to an effect in Premiere Pro called Offset

  1. The Offset Effect can be found in your Effects folder. You can find it under Video Effects > Distort > Offset. 
  2. Drag it and drop it onto your Adjustment Layer. 
  3. Highlight the layer and open the Effects Control panel. You should see the Offset capability here. 
  4. Go to the second parameter, which controls the vertical Y axis movement. Click it, and drag it around. You can see that it starts to repeat like the footage is now on a long film strip. 

Let’s work on honing this effect. 

Step 3: Add Keyframes to the Offset Effect

At this point, add keyframes to the offset effect in order to put the last major piece together for the overall film roll effect. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Reset everything, and set a keyframe a bit before the cut point where you want the transition to start. 
  2. Go all the way to when you want the transition to end on the other side of the cut and make a second keyframe.  
  3. With this keyframe, you’ll want to move the Offset center parameter. Take the Y axis control and move it so that it makes about two complete cycles. Try to line it up at the end so that it’s perfectly flush with the edge.
  4. If you need to make very fine changes, hold Control or Command while clicking and dragging this parameter. This will allow you to move the mouse a lot while the parameter makes subtle changes. 

Your effect should start to take shape by this point. There’s still a lot more that you can do with this, but the structural elements of the effect are mostly complete. The rest is simply stylizing.  

Step 4: Create a Ramp In and Out of the Effect

To add some realism to your project at present, create a ramp in and out of the effect by giving your keyframes a Bezier. Here’s how to do that: 

  1. Highlight your keyframes, right-click them, and select Bezier
  2. Drop down the arrow. You can see the Velocity parameters that you can now play with as well. 
  3. Grab the beginning and end points and bring them all the way down.
  4. Drag the Marker Out to give it more curvature to the speed over time. 

It should start to slow down and then explode into motion. At this point, you can see where the most velocity takes place at the peak of the graph. It really helps the effect if you can have this point of greatest velocity at the point where the cut happens between your clips. We’ve outlined the steps to do this below: 

  1. Bring your playhead to the cut point. On the graph view, you can see where that point is.
  2. Highlight both of the keyframes and move them over so that these two places lineup.

And you’re done! Now, let’s explore how to add even more realism to your film strip effect. 

Step 5: Add Directional Blur

If you go frame by frame through your footage at this point, you can see that the clip keeps all its detail and sharpness as it moves. In real life, there would be some blur to it. So, let’s add that now. 

  1. Go to the Effects and search for the Directional Blur under Video Effects, Blur and Sharpen. 
  2. Now, drag and drop it onto the Adjustment Layer. You can see that if you increase the Blur length, it looks like the footage is moving in a specific direction. Play around with this until you get the motion you want. 
  3. Keyframe the Blur to match the amount of movement the clip is going through. To do this, go to the starting keyframe of your rolling motion and set a keyframe for blur length just to stay at zero.  
  4. Do the same thing again for the ending keyframe. 
  5. Then go to the center of the effect, at the peak of your offset velocity, and make a third keyframe for blur length. 
  6. This time, ramp up the blur length to the maximum amount of blur you want your footage to experience.
  7. Give the middle keyframe some Bezier, and move the angle of it so that it’s a similar shape to the peak of the offset movement.

Now, it looks like the motion is actually causing the motion blur!

Step 6: Add the Transform Effect

By this point, your effect is probably looking really great. It’s at a place that you could potentially call it done. But we suggest doing a bit more to really sell this effect. 

If you want to go the extra mile in your project, you’ll want to make it look like the image is being pulled back before shuffling to the new video frame. The way to do this is actually very simple, but there’s one critical step.

  1. You need to insert another Adjustment Layer underneath the one that you just created. 
  2. To do this, move the current Adjustment Layer up one track by either dragging or highlight it and hold ALT or Option and hit the up arrow key. 
  3. Take the same Adjustment Layer file from your Project Window, but make sure to insert it directly underneath the one that you’ve been working on up until now.
  4. If you want to keep track of which is which, we suggest right-clicking each one and renaming them. Because the top one held the Offset and Directional blur effects, name it Offset and Directional Blur
  5. Then for the bottom one, which you haven’t added any effects to it yet, it’s a good idea to name it Transform and Gaussian Blur, if you want to take this tutorial all the way to the end. 

Now you can easily see what each one is doing at a glance.

  1. Next, add the Transform property to the bottom Adjustment Layer. Once you’ve added it in, you’re going to be focusing on the scaling option and reverse-engineering a bit.
  2. Go to the frame where your Offset Roll starts to happen and set a keyframe. 
  3. Go back a few frames and set another one. 
  4. Go back to the second keyframe right at the point of the roll and scale your clip down. You’ll notice that the whole frame shrinks. However, when you play forwards, the rolling offset still goes all the way down the screen even though the size of the frame has been shrunk. This is why you created the scaling in a separate Adjustment Layer. 
  5. Keyframe the opposite frame once the rolling has finished to get you back to full size.  

Step 7: Add a Gaussian Blur

You’re so close, but we do suggest another finishing touch. 

  1. Add a Gaussian Blur to the bottom Adjustment Layer. 
  2. Then, keyframe it so that as our frame gets smaller, it gets blurrier, making it look like it’s moving out of focus by moving away. Going to about 65 should be enough to make the effect look great, and it also gives a nice natural rounding to the sharp corners of the frame. 
  3. Once you’ve keyframed those from 0-65 and then back again to 0, you should be left with an amazing film roll transition effect! 

And folks, that’s how you create your own custom film roll transition! Read on for one more option before the final cut is made…

Step 8: Apply Light Leaks

Okay, there’s one last little bit of flair you can give it to really sell this effect. Add a clip from a pack of Motion Array’s light leaks on top of everything that you’ve just done.

  1. Set your blending mode to Screen
  2. Keyframe it to start at 0. 
  3. Ramp up once the frame gets pulled back. This makes it look like the footage is right up against a sensor. 
  4. As soon as you pull it away, it’s like you’re letting light leaks hit a real sensor. It gives a nice, realistic effect. But be careful if there is a lot of a particular color in the shot. 
  5. To adjust this, search for the HLS Color Balance Effect, and then change the Hue Degree to fit your footage. 

Boom! You should have a killer final result.

We hope you found this tutorial on making a Premiere Pro film strip transition helpful! Again, here’s the film roll preset that was the inspiration for this effect. We hope that you put your newly-acquired transition skills to the test. You’ve got this!