How To Create an Old Film Look in Premiere Pro CC

Premiere Pro January 9, 2019 4 min read

Using an old film look is a classic way to date a film. The tell-tale scratch of the film, the yellowy-orange color… perhaps when you picture it in your mind, it comes with the flapping of the film strip. Well, if you endeavor to do this in your own videos, we have a pretty easy way for you to create an old film look right in Premiere Pro.

How to Edit an Old Film Look

The best part of this approach you’re about to learn is that it’s all on a single track. That means, you can save it out as a preset and use it again. Let’s get started! 

Step 1: Change the Color with the Tint Effect

Once you’ve set up your clip on the timeline in Premiere Pro, you are going to want to change the color of the shot. To do this, go to Effects and search for the Tint Effect. Once you’ve found it, drop it onto your video clip and under White, change the tint to more of a sepia color (in the yellow to brown range). 

Step 2: Add the Linear Wipe Effect

Next, you’ll want to add a Linear Wipe Effect which can also be found in Effects. Drop the Linear Wipe Effect on the timeline and change the transition percentage to about 15 percent and the wipe angle to 0. 

Then copy and paste the effect back into your clip and change the wipe angle to 180 degrees — this essentially crops the top and bottom of your video.

Step 3: Apply the Roughen Edges Effect

After you’ve changed the Tint and added the Linear Wipe Effect, it is time to add the Roughen Edges Effect, which you can also find in the Effects panel. 

Drop the Roughen Edges Effect onto your clip, and some character will begin to show. But to bring out some of the finer details, you’ll want to increase the Border and take the Scale down a bit.

Step 4: Add the Circle Effect & Increase the Feather

Next, find the Circle effect, also in the Effects panel. With this, you are going to create a slight light leak overlay. Make the color of the circle an orange, change its blending mode to be Add, increase the Feather, and then change the Position to bring it to the top left corner using the Center numbers. This gives your footage a bit of film burn look. 

Step 5: Add the Strobe Light Effect

The Strobe Light Effect will give your footage a bit of a flicker. You can find it in Effects and drag it onto your clip. Change the Blend with Original to be about 98 percent and change the color to a hot yellow. 

Finally, change your Strobe Operator from Copy to Add and decrease both the Strobe Period and Duration. If you want, the Random Strobe Probability can be increased to make it more organic. 

Step 6: Create Film Scratches with the Grid Effect

Film scratches are pretty easy to create — search Grid in effects and drop it onto your timeline. Change Your Size From to Width & Height Sliders and scale the width really large, so you only have one single line using the Scale and Anchor options. Then scale the Height, so there is only are no lines. 

Change the border to about two to make it nice and small. And change the Blending Mode to Screen, so you’re only left with the one line on the clip. Make the line less prominent by taking the Opacity down some. 

Finally, you’ll want to go back in your timeline and set a Keyframe for the anchor point for your grid — then jump forward and back a few frames while moving the grid around to give the line a natural scratch look. Once you have a few keyframes set up, you can copy and paste it along the timeline for your Grid. 

Step 7: Apply the Transform Effect to Scale it Down

The Transform Effect creates a black frame around your clip. Drop the Transform Effect onto the footage and scale the entire clip down to create the black frame around your clip. 

At this point, if you add additional effects, they’ll only apply to the clip area and not the black frame — to get rid of this issue you’ll have to search the Solid Composite Effect. The application of the Solid Composite Effect will turn the background into a solid behind the video, and once that’s done, you can use the color feature to turn it to a dark grey. 

Step 8: Apply a Curves Adjustment

The Curves Adjustment will help to create a deep blue look. To do this, navigate to the effect and on the chart pull the bottom line up a bit to give the darker colors a blue hue, and the top you’ll want to pull down slightly on the line to keep the warm hues warm.

Step 9: Make It Noisey

To complete the old film look, you’re going to want to add some noise on top of everything. Search for Noise under effects, drop it onto the clip and increase the Amount of Noise to about 10 percent. If you want, you can add some specific keyframes throughout your video, but you don’t have to

Step 10: Save it for Later

After you’re happy, it’s time to do a Render. And if you want to save it as a preset, you have to go to the Effects Control panel, select everything, right-click and choose Save Preset name it and click OK

Now you’ll have a beautiful old film preset to use in future Premiere Pro projects! If you want to just hop right to it, we have tons of old film templates and presets to browse through. All that’s left is to start creating a nostalgic looking film or video!