How To Highlight Things In Your Video in Premiere Pro


You may have seen examples in our tutorials where we take time to highlight key aspects that we’re going over.    Whether it’s highlighting an entire section in Premiere Pro or just a small label, this can really help to draw your audience's attention to exactly the place you want it to go.   So today, we’re going to show you how we commonly get this effect, and we’re even going to go over an additional method in case you wanted to highlight a chunk of text for example.  So open up Premiere, and we’re going to learn how to highlight together!

Preparing Your Clip

The first step that we’re going to take is finding the point at which you would like to highlight a piece of your footage.  Before you get to work highlighting, do all that you can to make sure that even if you didn’t highlight anything, you’ve done your best job at drawing attention to the item.  For us, this usually means zooming in and centering the items in question.  

This needs to happen first because we’re going to be duplicating our footage, so any effects and changes need to be completed before the highlighting process.  Now, duplicate your footage and stack them directly on top of each other.   For the moment, drop your opacity of your bottom clip down to below 50%.  Now you shouldn’t see any changes yet because you still have the duplicate overtop.  But here’s where that changes.

Adding A Crop Effect

Go to your effects panel and search for crop.  You can also create a mask instead, but cropping will allow us to easily get perfectly straight lines.  Next, drag it onto your top layer and then start to adjust the top, bottom, left and right sliders to leave only the section of 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 we’ve dropped out everything except for what we want the audience to focus on.  

Fading In/Out Your Highlight

So far the effect is looking good, but we want to have this effect fade in so that it's less abrupt.  

Go to your bottom layer and make sure that the keyframe is set for opacity.  Make 4 keyframes, 2 at the beginning and 2 at the end.  Now raise up the first and last keyframes to start and end at 100%.  Now what we have is a fade into the highlighted effect and a fade back into the normal shot.  Great! And that's how we do our highlighting effects here at Motion Array.  But let’s take this concept and apply it to something else that you might be able to use in the future.  Let’s say that you want to show some text and highlight it to show it’s importance.  We can do what we just did but take it a step  further.  

Highlighting Text With Color

I have here some text that we’re going to use and I’ve stylized it in a way that looks nice.  So what we want to do is create an effect where we highlight the text in a color without covering it.  

First, 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.  But now that you have it, duplicate that layer in premiere pro and stack it.  Now drop your opacity so that you can see what you’re working with and use the crop or masking tool to include only what you want to be highlighted.  Now with that done, raise your bottom layer opacity all the way back to 100 and don’t add any keyframes.  Instead on this top layer, we’re going to be doing some color correction.  You can do one of two things, you can go to the basic correction section of Lumetri color and change things like the color temperature and tint, or you can 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.  And it’s what we’re going to use.

Great! That looks good. But we want to animate it. So to mimic like someone is using a pen stroke, we’re going to go to effects and search for linear wipe.  Drag and drop it onto your footage and then drag your transition completion slider all the way over, and you can see the effect we’re going for! Now 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.  And with that this is our effect.  That’s how you make a highlight effect in premiere pro!

We hope you found this video helpful.  If you did, we’ve got lots of other tutorials for Premiere Pro, After Effects, and filmmaking in general! If you have any questions, let us know in the comment section below.  

Thank you so much for watching and we hope to see you in the next video!

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