Make Your Shots Look More Cinematic With These Video Editing Tricks

Screenshot: Kellan Reck (YouTube)

So you shot some footage for your indie film, but it doesn’t quite look like the stuff you see on the big screen. These simple video editing tricks will help make your footage look a lot more like the stuff the pros shoot.

To spice up your footage, filmmaker and YouTuber Kellan Reck has five tips in the video above that you should consider when it’s time to edit what you have in the can. Keep in mind, all of these tricks require professional video editing software, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, which is the current industry standard.

  1. Add movement to stable tripod shots: You can animate the position and the scale. For example, you can zoom in from the initial frame to about 105 per cent at the final frame with the scale pulling up a tiny bit as it zooms. You don’t need too much! Reck recommends you don’t go more than five per cent zoom for longer clips, and no more than two to three per cent for shorter clips.
  2. Use Warp Stabilizer on shaky handheld shots: Reduces jerky handcam footage to a more relaxed, smooth-looking shot. You can set it to reduce all motion, or better yet, set it to your own preferred motion like you would with a standard stable shot.
  3. Colour correct your shots: Add a slight vignette, kick up the contrast, change the temperature, adjust the tint, pull highlights toward orange, pull shadows toward teal, bump up your whites, and bring down your blacks.
  4. Adjust sharpness and film fade: Boost the sharpness a little to make things look clearer, then increase the film fade to give it that classic movie look.
  5. Add a letterbox: Letterboxes (the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen) make your digital shot look wider than it is — giving it an appearance that’s very similar to actual film.

Don’t forget: Only make these adjustments in a way that’s best for your shot and the overall feel of your film. You’ll be surprised what a few simple changes will do to even the most basic shots.


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