Highlight a Specific Area in Your Video Using Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro December 5, 2018 3 min read

When making a video, you may want to draw the audience’s attention to a specific spot of the frame, whether it’s highlighting an entire area in your video or just a small label. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Premiere Pro highlight effect button to create this in a click. 

However, with just a few steps, you can achieve this result and help draw your audience’s attention to exactly where you want it to go. You can even use Premiere Pro to highlight a chunk of text and enhance your highlight with a pen stroke animation. Let’s dive in!

Part 1: How to Highlight in Premiere Pro CC

Step 1: Preparing Your Clip

Your first step is to find the point in the video that you’d like to highlight. Before you get too far, make sure that even if you didn’t highlight anything, you’ve done your best job at drawing attention to the item. This usually means zooming in and centering the items in question.  

This needs to happen first because you’re going to be duplicating the footage, so any effects and changes need to be completed before the highlighting process.

  1. Duplicate your footage by holding Alt or Option then clicking and dragging the clip to the track above it. Make sure the clips are stacked directly on top of each other.
  2. Drop the Opacity of your bottom clip down to below 50%.

You shouldn’t see any changes yet because you still have the duplicate overtop. You’ll fix that in the next step.

Step 2: Add a Crop Effect

To highlight just the area of the video you want, you’ll need to define it.

  1. Go to your Effects panel and search for Crop. You can also create a mask instead, but cropping will allow you to get perfectly straight lines easily.
  2. Drag it onto your top layer and then start to adjust the top, bottom, left, and right sliders to leave only the section of the video you want to be highlighted.

You can see that around the crop is a faded out version of the video, which makes it look like you’ve dropped out everything except for what you want the audience to focus on.  

Step 3: Fade Your Highlight In/Out

Now you’ve highlighted the area but may you want to have this effect fade in so that it’s less abrupt.  

  1. Go to your bottom layer and make sure that the keyframe is set for Opacity.
  2. Make 4 keyframes: 2 at the beginning and 2 at the end.
  3. Raise the first and last keyframes to start and end at 100%.

Now you have a fade into the highlighted effect and a fade back into the normal shot.

Part 2: Advanced Tips for Highlighted Text 

Highlight Text with Color

Let’s say that you want to show some text and highlight it to show it’s importance. You’ll use a similar process.

  1. Add some text and stylized it in a way that looks nice. What you want to do is create an effect where you highlight the text in a color without covering it.  
  2. Get your text onto your timeline in a format that looks nice. You can screenshot a document, export it as a .png, or manually type it out yourself. Once you have it, duplicate that layer in Premiere Pro and stack it.
  3. Drop your Opacity so that you can see what you’re working with and use the Crop or Mask tool to include only what you want to be highlighted.
  4. Raise your bottom layer Opacity back to 100 and don’t add any keyframes. Instead, on this top layer, you’re going to be doing some color correction. 
  5. You can do one of three things:
  • Go to the basic correction section of Lumetri Color panel and change things like the color Temperature and Tint. 
  • Or, go down to the Color Wheels and dial in a more specific color for your highlight. The other option you have is to go to Effects and search for Tint
  • This will give you a potentially deeper and thicker color than the previous option.

Adding A Pen Stroke Animation To Your Highlight

If that looks good, you might want to animate it for some extra pizazz. To create the effect of someone using a pen stroke.

  1. Go to Effects and search for Linear Wipe
  2. Drag and drop the effect onto your footage. 
  3. Then drag your transition completion slider all the way over.
  4. Make two keyframes: one at 100% and one at 0% and spread them out. You can change the direction that this happens from by either typing in 90 degrees or -90 degrees to switch from left to right or right to left.

The text will now be highlighted with a smooth pen stroke animation! 


That’s it! You now know how to highlight important areas and text in Premiere Pro! Not only that, you can add cropping effects and fades to the highlighted area for a smooth transition. Add a little pen stroke animation on your highlighted text, and your next video project is already drawing in your audience’s focus much better!