Cinematic Black Bar Opening Effect


Ttoday we’re going to be showing you, my favourite way,  to create a cinematic black bar opening effect!  This effect can really help to draw in your audience by slowly revealing what’s behind the black bars.  You can see how this effect really helps to make that scene way more interesting. That example was just 2 shots, but you can see how that reveal made it way more fun to watch!  Especially if you use it on clips that have a really interesting subject that you can isolate in the center of frame. The best part is that it's really simple to pull off and we’re gonna learn it in under 5 minutes right here in Premiere Pro and learn how to create this effect!

Cinematic Black Bar Reveal in Premiere Pro

The first thing that we’re going to do is drop our footage onto our timeline.  Now the way we’re going to go about this is to actually create a new layer that the black bars will literally be opening up through.  It’s like we’re going to be making slit that our footage underneath is being seen through that gets wider and wider.

So to start, create a new graphics layer by going to essential graphics and hitting the page icon here and selecting rectangle.  And you can see that it pops up a new layer on our timeline. Let’s just stretch it out over the duration of our footage. This is what we’re going to use to create the black of our black bars so stretch it out over your entire clip.  It does not have to be clean or precise. You can also go down here to the zoom level and choose something wider like 25% just to make sure that you can see your whole frame. And now, let’s go to our color swatch here under essential graphics, or it’s also under effect controls.  And we’re going to choose perfect black for our color. Great! Make sure that stroke and shadow are OFF too while you’re at it.

Cool, we’ve stretched it out here and now comes the fun part.  Making the slit. Now Premiere is not as versatile as a program like after effects for having grids and centering tools and making your graphics precise.  So the closer you follow along here, the better your results will be.

Go up to effects controls and let’s go under the shape section for our shape, and we’re going to choose to create a rectangular mask.  Click it, but don’t touch the mask. Why shouldn’t we touch it? Becuase right now it’s perfectly centered. And we don’t want to have to try and finess it back to center.  It’s just easier if we do the following. Make sure that your selection tool is highlighted and that our shape layer is highlighted. Now we’re going to highlight the mask in effect controls and then drag over these two points of the rectangle.  Now that they’re highlighted, click either one of them, and then hold the shift button, and drag them out way past your frame. Holding shift is important because that keeps everything proportional and makes sure that you’re only moving it across left and right and not up and down.   Cool, so we’re just going to repeat for the other side.

Awesome! So this may be hard to understand why we’re going through all this trouble, but I guarintee it’ll make things way easier for us, and you’ll see why in just a second.  Let’s go down here to the inverted button and select it. AH! Now you can see what we’re going for! But it’s a little bit fuzzy because my default edge feather is set to 10. Let’s just set it to zero and we get a nice crisp edge.  And guys you’ve created your black bars that we can use now. So the question is how do we make them open and close? That’s the best part. Because everything is perfectly centered, and we extended our shape and mask all the way past the edge of frame, we can just use mask expansion under our mask settings in effect controls to control how open or closed our black bars are!

Awesome right!?   And because this is so easy, animating it is even easier. So if we go to the beginning of our clip and drag it all the way down so it’s closed, and then we set a keyframe for mask expansion, then go forwards and keyframe it to open up.  We can see that making this effect animate is simple! Nice! And if we wanted it to come to a nice slow stop, let’s just go to the second keyframe, right click it, and add an ease in. Now it comes to a smooth stop!

And if we want to make the effect happen faster, just drag the last keyframe in.  and if we wanted to make it super long and dramatic, we just have to drag this keyframe way back.  Simple as that!

And because this is all being controlled by a layer completely isolated away from your footatge, you can have 1 clip, or a whole sequence under your black bars as they open up, and the effect doesn’t change!  Play around with it and see if you can integrate it into your next video!

And if you wanted to take this effect to the next level, as always adding sound effects and ambiance can really help to sell the effect.   And for your convenience, I’ve listed all of the Motion Array sound effects and ambiance I used for the beginning intro sequence example.  Adding sound effects is a huge part of selling an effect, if you want to see that in another application, check out our video on speed ramping your footage!  Using speed ramping during your cinematic opening we just learned how to do might be a really cool combination!

We hope you found this video helpful.  If you did, we’ve got lots of other tutorials for Premiere ProAfter Effects, and filmmaking in general!  Thanks so much for watching!  And I can’t wait to see you in the next video!

Music Provided By Motion Array:

Stock Footage Used In This Video:

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