How To Make A Film Roll Effect In Premiere Pro


Today we’re taking a look at how to get this classic film roll effect.  We’re going to create this from scratch right here in Premiere Pro, and we’re actually taking this inspiration from one of our film roll presets.  It’s this one here, and guess what, it’s free!!!  So if you wanted to download it and use it for inspiration, or to compare it against the one you’re about to create, the link to find it here!

Film Roll Effect In Premiere Pro

So we’re going to create the effect that looks like this one here.   But how do we go about actually creating the effect?  We’ll let’s get started and find out.  First things first, bring two pieces of footage onto your timeline.  A clip to start with, and then when the transition occurs, another clip to transition into.  Cut them down to the amount that you want them to last for.  Including the amount that you want to be included in the transition, which depending on your preference, will last roughly between 12-24 frames.

Cool! Now let’s go ahead and create an adjustment layer.  Right click in your project manager and choose new item, adjustment layer.   Take your adjustment layer and place it overtop of the cut between your clip and then cut it down so that it’s roughly the same size on each side of the cut, but also lasting about as long as you want the actual effect to last for.  

Now that that’s done, we’re ready to actually start creating the effect.  The basis of this film roll effect comes down to an effect in premiere pro called offset.  The offset effect can be found in your effects folder, so let’s search for it, find it under video effects > distort.  And when we drag it and drop it onto our adjustment layer.  And right now we should see no difference.  But if we go up to our effects control panel, we can see the offset capability here.  

So let’s move it around and see what happens to our clip.  If we go to the second parameter here which controls the vertical y-axis movement.  And if we click it and drag it around, we can see that it starts to repeat like it’s on a long film strip.  Great!  So you might be able to start to see now how this effect can be used to make a transition.  We’re going to reset everything, and now we’re going to set a keyframe a bit before the cut point where we want the transition to start.  Then we’re going to go all the way to when we want the transition to end on the other side of the cut and make a second keyframe.  But with this keyframe. We want to move our offset center parameter.  We’re going to take the y-axis control and move it so that it makes about 2 complete cycles.  Try to line it up at the end so that it’s perfectly flush with the edge.  If you need to make very fine changes, holding control or command while clicking and dragging this parameter will allow you to move the mouse a lot while the parameter makes very small subtle changes.  Great! So now this is what the effect should look like so far.  It’s actually not bad at this point already.  We still have a lot more that we can do with this, but this is really the structural element of the effect completed.  The rest is just going to be stylizing.  

Let’s add some realism to this.  Let’s create a ramp in and out of the effect by giving our keyframes a bezier.  Highlight your keyframes and right click them and select bezier.  Now let’s drop down this arrow here and we can see the velocity parameters that we can now play with as well.  Grab these points here and bring them all the way down, and then drag this marker out here to give it more curvature to the speed over time so that it starts slow and then explodes into motion.  And the graph should look something like this.  And at this point you can see where the most velocity takes place at the top of the graph here.  It really helps the effect if you can have this point of greatest velocity at the point where the cut happens between your clips.  So let’s bring our playhead to the cut point here, and on our graph view we can see where that point is.  So let’s highlight both of our keyframes and move them over so that these two places lineup.

You can see if we go frame by frame through this that our clip keeps all it’s detail and sharpness as it moves.  But in real life there would be some blur to it.  So let’s go to our effects and search for the directional blur under video effects > blur and sharpen.  Now let’s drag and drop it onto our adjustment layer, and we can see that if we increase the blur length, we can see that it looks like our footage is moving in a specific direction.  And because our effect is going in the top-down direction, we can leave our blur direction at 0 degrees.  But let’s say that we wanted it to go in the left-right direction, we would change the degree angle to 90 degrees.

But now we need to keyframe the blur to match the amount of movement the clip is going through.  Got to the starting keyframe of your rolling motion and set a keyframe for blur length just to stay at zero, and then do the same thing again for the ending keyframe.  Now go to the center of the effect at the peak of your offset velocity, and make a third keyframe for blur length, but this time, ramp up the blur length to the maximum amount of blur you want your footage to experience.  So now if we give the middle keyframe here a bezier, and then move the angle of it so that it’s a similar shape to the peak of the offset movement, this is what we get.  It looks like the motion is actually causing the motion blur!

Great.  So our effect looks really great, and it’s at a place that if this is what you were going for stylistically, you could potentially call it done.  But we’re going to be doing a little bit more to really sell this effect.  What we’re going to do is make it look like the image is being pulled back before shuffling to the new video frame.  The way we’re going to do this is actually very simple, but there’s one crucial step.   You need to insert another adjustment layer underneath the one that you just created.  So move the current one up one track by either dragging, or highlight it and hold alt or option and hit the up arrow key.  Now you can take the same adjustment layer file from your project window, but make sure to insert it directly underneath the one that you’ve been working on up until now.  If you want to keep track of which is which, I would right click each one and rename it.  Because the top one held the offset and directional blur effects, I’m just going to name it offset and directional blur.  Then for the bottom one, we haven’t added any effects to it yet, but I’m going to name it in advance of what we’re going to do by naming it transform and gaussian blur.  

Great! Now we can easily see what each one is doing at a glance.  Okay, so we’re getting really close, so next up we’re going to be adding the transform property to our bottom adjustment layer.  Once you’ve added it in, we’re really only going to be focusing on the scaling option.  So we’re going to reverse-engineer a bit.  Go to the frame where your offset roll starts to happen, and then set a keyframe.  Then go back a few frames and set another one.  Go back to the second keyframe right at the point of the roll and scale your clip down, and you’ll notice that the whole frame shrinks.  And not only that, but when you play forwards, the rolling offset still goes all the way down the screen even though the size of the frame has been shrunk.  This is why we managed the scaling in a separate adjustment layer.  And now we just need to keyframe the opposite once the rolling has finished to get us back to full size.  

And we’re so close but we’re just going to add one finishing touch.  We’re going to add a gaussian blur to the bottom adjustment layer.  And now we’re going to keyframe it so that as our frame gets smaller, it gets blurrier, making it look like it’s moving out of focus by moving away. For me going to about  65 was enough to make the effect look great, and it also gives a nice natural rounding to the sharp corners of the frame.  

Awesome, so once you’ve keyframed those from 0-65 and then back again to 0, you should be left with this!  And guys that’s how you create your own custom film roll transition!  But there’s one last little bit of flare we can give it to really sell this effect.  I’m going to add a clip from a pack of motion array light leaks on top of everything that we’ve just done.  To make the light leaks look correct, I’m just going to set the blending mode to screen, and then keyframe it to be zero, and then ramp up once the frame gets pulled back.  This makes it look like the footage is right up against a sensor, and as soon as you pull it away it’s like you're letting light leaks hit a real sensor.  It gives a really nice realistic effect.  And because there’s so much blue in our shots, I’m just going to search for the HLS color balance effect, and then change the hue degree so that it’s less red and more blue.  And this is our final result!

Guys I hope you found this video helpful!  Like we mentioned before, if you wanted to pick up the free pack of film roll presets, that link is in the description below.  And if any of the stock clips we used or the light leaks that we added at the end were something you wanted to look at, we have links for each of those as well too!

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!

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Stock Footage Used In This Video:

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