How to Make a Custom Sam Kolder Transition in Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro 06/01/2019 3 min read

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to make a custom Sam Kolder transition in Premiere Pro CC. This transition uses the gradient wipe effect, which takes into account the brightest and darkest parts of your image to determine where your footage becomes transparent. By keyframing the basic variables in this effect, you’ll effectively create a transition that is unique to each piece of footage. 

Used frequently in high-quality travel videos and popularized by filmmaker Sam Kolder himself, we’ll walk you through the three easy steps to make it happen!

How to Create a Sam Kolder Transition

Step 1: Set Up Your Timeline

You can start creating your professional gradient wipe effect by taking the first piece of footage you want to work with and place it on your timeline. Next, you’ll want to take your second piece of footage — the part that you want to transition into  — and add it to your timeline too. 

Make sure to slightly overlap the two pieces of footage at least as long as you want the transition to last. This is important because when the effect begins part of your footage is going to become transparent, and if there isn’t anything behind it you’ll simply see black.

Step 2: Find Your Effect

Once you have your initial timeline set up, you’ll want to go to your Effects tab and find Gradient Wipe by either going to Video Effects > Transition > Gradient Wipe. Or, you can type Gradient Wipe into the search bar and choose the one underneath Video Effects, not Video Transitions

Drag and drop this effect onto the clip that is highest in your timeline. Truthfully, you can actually have either clip on top — the one you are transitioning with or the one you’re starting with — both have the same process with just one step reversed. For this tutorial, we’re assuming you have your starting clip on the bottom.

Step 3: Modifying Your Effect

Once you’ve dropped the Gradient Wipe onto the clip, head to Effect Controls and you’ll find the Gradient Wipe options at the bottom. 

You’ll find an option called Transition Completion that has a percentage. This is how much the transition has taken form — 0 to 100. It starts with the darkest parts of your image and makes them visible, while the brightest parts are still showing the clip beneath. You need to Keyframe the transition to go from 100 to 0.

Bonus! Customize with Effect Controls

There are a few other features inside of the Effect Controls panel that can help you create the perfect gradient wipe transition for your project. 

  • The Transition Softness determines how hard and pixelated the transition looks. The higher the number, the softer the transition. 
  • The Gradient Layer determines which video layer the gradient stems from. 
  • The Invert Gradient option switches the priority from lights to darks in terms of what’s being made transparent first. 

And, if you want to reverse to transition out of the same clip into another one, you do the same setup but reverse the keyframe transition completion. If you originally went from 0 to 100, go from 100 to 0 on the second one. 

The Sam Kolder transition in Premiere Pro looks professional and creative. Better yet, this transition is based on what is actually in your shot, making it appear that each transition you built is custom made every single time. Give it a try, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

We’ve also tons of cool Premiere Pro transition templates, presets, and plugins if you’re looking for inspiration for your projects!