Footage straight from the camera is rarely the final film. So, how do you give it the star treatment and make it look every bit professional? Discover just one of the quick and easy ways you can transform your clips into a vibrant and engaging cinematic-style film. Follow along with talented filmmaker Daniel Jensen’s (aka @danielsjensen ) tutorial and he’ll introduce you to one of his favourite Adobe Premiere Pro editing tricks – Adjustment Layers.

What you'll need

Set up your project

First up, you’ll need to open Premiere Pro and add in the clips you want to edit. Drag them into the Timeline panel to get started.

Tip: Widen your video layer by dragging it upwards – this will reveal previews for each of your clips and should make the editing process easier for you.

Create an Adjustment Layer

Head down to the bottom right-hand corner of your Project window, select New Item > Adjustment Layer and your timeline settings will appear. Hit OK to leave these as they are. You should now see your Adjustment Layer has popped up in the Project window. Next, drag the Adjustment Layer onto your Timeline, dropping it on the layer above your footage. 

Tip: Adjustment Layers only affect footage beneath them. If your clips are longer than your Adjustment Layer, these videos won’t be impacted. Likewise, any footage above your Adjustment Layer will remain unchanged.

Make your footage more vibrant

Select the Adjustment Layer you’ve just placed into your Timeline and head over to the Color tab at the top of your window. Go to the Lumetri Color panel (which will appear on the right) and select a ‘LUT’ from the Look drop-down menu. This will apply a colour edit (more commonly referred to as a ‘colour grade’) to your Adjustment Layer and footage beneath it. Feel free to play around with the Intensity levels, and other fields, as you see fit. Then drag your Adjustment Layer along the Timeline so it runs above all of the clips you want it to affect.

Add ‘cinematic bars’ to your video

Create another Adjustment Layer as above, drag it over to your Timeline and stretch it out across your clips. Now go to your Project panel and click on the two-arrow icon in the top-right corner. Select Effects and type ‘Crop’ into the search bar. Drag the Crop effect that appears and drop it onto your second Adjustment Layer within the Timeline.

You’ll now see various cropping options have appeared in the Effect Controls panel. To achieve a widescreen ‘cinematic bars’ effect, try updating the Top and Bottom fields to ‘12%’. You’ll see this crop previewed on the right-hand side. 

Adjust the positioning if necessary

To make sure the best part of each clip is within frame after you’ve cropped your videos, head back to the Effect Controls panel. Go to Motion and play around with the Position settings until you’re happy. Follow this step for each clip and then that’s it, you’re all done.

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