How to Create a Nostalgic Premiere Pro VHS Effect (Tutorial)

Premiere Pro 05/07/2019 6 min read

Since the days of VHS, technology has come a long way, and editing has become both easier to do and more sophisticated in what you can do. If a VHS tape were damaged or over-played, you would end up with a glitchy fuzzy mess and an unhappy viewer. Years later, editors are digitally recreating the VHS effect in Premiere Pro for flashback and found footage projects, along with interesting and exciting stylized promos, adverts, and music videos. 

In this tutorial, you’ll learn all of the steps to create the trendy VHS effect in Adobe Premiere Pro CC for your own video projects. Whatever your working on, you can be assured that the VHS look will be a great video editing skill that you can use time and again!

Part 1: How to Create a VHS Video Effect in Premiere Pro CC

Follow our step by step guide to creating a VHS look in Premiere Pro. Remember, you can experiment with the different values and settings used to create your own unique VHS style!

Step 1: Adjust the Clip Color for a Vintage Camera Look

First, you need to add an Adjustment Layer to add all of the effects to. This will allow you to easily turn the effect on and off, and duplicate it to try different things. To do this:

  1. Add your clip to your project timeline.
  2. Right-click in the Project Panel, and select New Adjustment Layer.
  3. Drag and drop the Adjustment Layer on to the sequence, directly above your clip. 

Next, you’ll want to alter the color of the clip to achieve a vintage look using the Faded Film and Sharpen effect.

  1. Highlight the Adjustment Layer in the sequence.
  2. Open your Lumetri Color panel, and click the Creative drop-down.
  3. Set the Faded Film effect to 50, and set the Sharpen effect to -50. 

Now it’s time to adjust the Curves to help clip the Blacks and Whites in the footage.

  1. To clip the Blacks and Whites in the footage, go to the Lumetri Color panel and select Curves.
  2. Grab the top right end of the diagonal line in the Curves section, and pull it down and to the left slightly. 
  3. Pull the bottom left end of the line up and to the right. 

To add a slight color bleed to the footage, use the Channel Blur effect. This will separate out the Blues and Reds, and create a nice fuzziness to the edge colors.

  1. In the Effects panel, search for Channel Blur, and drag and drop to your Adjustment Layer.
  2. Increase the Red blurriness to 30 from the Effects Control panel.
  3. In the Blur Dimension drop-down, select Vertical.

To complete the look, duplicate the Channel Blur effect and input the opposite parameters. 

  1. Select the effect in the Effects Control. Copy it (CTRL / CMD + C) and paste it (CTRL / CMD + V). Now you should have two of the Channel Blur effects on your Adjustment Layer.
  2. In the second Channel Blur effect, set the Red Blurriness back to 0, and the Blue Blurriness to 30. 
  3. Change the Blur Dimension drop-box to Horizontal. 
  4. The Channel Blur effect will create a fringe around the edge of the shot. If you want to remove this, you can do so by checking the Repeat Edge Pixels box on both Channel Blur effects.

Step 2: Add a Glitch/Scan Line Using the Wave Warp Effect

With the color of the clip starting to have a retro feel, now you can add those glitchy scan lines that roll up the screen! Here’s how to create it:

  1. Go to your Effects Panel and search for Wave Warp.
  2. Drag and drop the effect to your Adjustment Layer in the sequence.
  3. In the Effects Control panel, change the Wave Type to Square.
  4. Change the Wave Width to a minimum of 600, to create a single line across the screen.
  5. Set the Wave Direction to 0 for a horizontal line.
  6. Change the Wave Speed to 0.1.
  7. Go to the Pinning drop down, and select All Edges to remove the black lines at the side of the clip. 

Step 3: Add Noise and Grain to Your Footage

Time to add some noise and grain to your clip! Videos today are shot and edited in high definition, so to get a realistic look, you need to degrade the quality of your footage.

  1. Search for the Noise Effect and drag and drop it to your Adjustment Layer.
  2. Change the Amount of Noise until you are happy with the look. 
  1. In the Effects panel, search for Mosaic, and drop on your Adjustment Layer.
  2. In the Control Panel, set the Horizontal Blocks to 1000, and the Vertical Block to 500. 

Step 4: Add VHS Stylized Text

Now with your footage simulating a VHS recording, you’ll need titles to match the look.

Choosing the right font is as important as the effects you use, so consider carefully how you want your titles to look. Fortunately, there are lots of cool fonts available online such as this VHS style font, Kindly Rewind. Always be sure to check the license before you use the font in your project though!

One title you may want to include is the time and date the video was “recorded.” Here’s how to add a date stamp, similar to what you might see on a home videotape: 

  1. Install your chosen font, and open your project.
  2. Ensure there is a video track free in your sequence between the Adjustment Layer and footage layer.
  3. Select the Text tool and click on the screen to type the date stamp.
  4. Change the font and size of your text, and position in the bottom left or right-hand corner of the screen.
  5. Make sure the text layer is between the footage and Adjustment Layers.

Outside of adding the time and date, there are many ways you can use titles with the VHS look. For a deeper dive into how to add titles to your videos, here’s another handy Premiere Pro tutorial.

Step 5: Add VHS Player Icons

Similar to VHS text, many tapes would display icons such a play, fast forward, rewind, and pause. Using icons on your video can really sell the VHS look. Here’s an example of how to add a simple play button icon to a video:

  1. Move the Adjustment Layer up a track to leave space below it for the number of icons you want on screen.
  2. Select the Pen tool, and click on the screen to create the rough shape you want. Don’t worry about making it the right size at this point.
  3. Adjust the points of the shape to perfect it.
  4. Go to the Effects Control Panel and adjust the size and position of your shape until you are happy with how it looks.
  5. In the Essential Graphics Panel, change the color to match the text.
  6. Finally, move the Shape layer to below the Adjustment Layer.

You can add all sorts of icons to your VHS-inspired video project. You might even consider adding effects to the footage, for example, speeding your clip up and displaying a fast forward icon.

If you are short of time or want a more professional edge to your display, check out this great Display Logo pack.

Step 6: Sell the Effect With Audio & Static Noises

The final thing you might want to consider when creating a realistic VHS effect is your audio. You may have a great looking effect, but if the audio doesn’t match, your audience won’t believe it. Here are the steps to make the audio sound like a videotape:

  1. In the Effects panel, search for distortion under the Audio options, and add it to your clip.
  2. Under Effect Controls, select Edit.
  3. In the Presets drop-down menu, select Tape Drive. This will create a broken audio effect.
  4. Go back to the Effects panel and search for Low Pass filter.
  5. Add the effect to your clip and set is to about 4500.

You may also want to add audio glitch effects to your video, specifically during transitions in the footage or at the start/end of your video. Check out this TV Glitch noise pack for a quick and simple solution to your VHS audio effects.

Part 2: Download VHS Effect Templates & Presets

If all of that seems a bit too much effort, or you simply don’t have the time right now, we’ve got you covered. Check out our range of template and preset packs to create the perfect VHS look in a matter of minutes!

1. VHS Presets Pack

This VHS project pack contains 12 styles, ten transitions, and 13 overlays, which can be used individually or combined to create new effects. This powerful template pack can help you convey the look and feel of old VHS tapes, adding warmth and nostalgia to any project.

Download VHS Presets Pack Now

2. VHS Effect Presets

The VHS effect pack contains 10 Premiere Pro presets with soft film grain, motion blurring, and impressive channel blur effects.

Download VHS Effect Presets Now

3. VHS Opener

If you’re looking for clean animations and a selection of trendy transitioning effects, then this great Premiere Pro template opener would give any project an authentic 80’s feel. 

Download VHS Opener Now

4. VHS Stories

The VHS Stories Premiere Pro template project features 9 dynamic editable text layers and 9 media placeholders. The vertical resolution makes it perfect for Instagram Stories and Snapchat.

Download VHS Stories Now

5. VHS Damage Transitions

VHS Damage Transition pack contains 10 transitional effects, including RBG and Noise. These stunning transitions can help you create a range of stylized, glitchy cuts to your project for the old VHS tape look. 

Download VHS Damage Transitions Now

The VHS effect in Premiere Pro is easy to achieve and can help you create stunning compositions. While it is not suitable for every project, the videos in which you can use a VHS tape effect are a lot of fun to create. Now that you understand the basics, and have a range of templates to get you started, get nostalgic and start experimenting!

Share this article: