Premiere Pro is a daunting program at first, there’s no two ways about it. Just looking at the number of buttons, switches, and sliders made my head spin when I first started using the program. Many beginners quickly pick up the basics of cutting but often avoid the Effects panel altogether because it is full of complex-sounding names for tools. While many of these effects are highly situational, there are some that are extremely multifaceted and I would recommend all beginners learn to help bump up the overall quality of their videos.
Audio Transitions–>Crossfade–>Exponential Fade
This is a small detail that is so simple, but goes so far. If you drag and drop this onto to conjoining clips, the sound of the first one will gradually fade out while the sound of the second one fades in. This may sound really simple and a little unnecessary, but you will quickly learn that all locations have a unique room tone. What this means is that when you switch back and forth between scenes or dialogue shot under different conditions, your cuts will be extremely jarring. Even if no sound is actively being created in the two environments you are switching between, viewers will consciously and unconsciously pick up on the change. Adding in Exponential Fade makes this transition less harsh.
Audio Effects–>Filter and EQ–>Parametric Equalizer
Parametric Equalizer is a great tool to bring out your actors’ or subjects’ voice in a noisy environment. There is a preset that heightens sound within the sonic range that the human voice is within and reduces all other sound. This is great if you forgot to unplug a refrigerator onset that left a low-grade noise throughout the entirety of your clips. It’s also just a great tool to use regularly even when you don’t have a noisy background since it creates crisp and clear dialogue. To use it simply drag and drop Parametric Equalizer onto your clip, go to the effects panel, find Parametric Equalizer, click “Edit” under “Bypass”, click on the dropdown menu that reads “Default” on the pop up window, and select “Vocal Enhancer”. Note that you can also manually fool around with the vocal range to achieve even clearer dialogue. It’s not as complicated as you might think, but you will still want to watch a tutorial like the one below before attempting it on your own.
Video Effects–>Distort–>Warp Stabilizer
Your professor has probably told you to not rely on fixing things in the edit, and they are right. Do things to the best of your ability onset. However, if time or resources are limited and you walk away with a shakier shot than you had planned, do not panic. Warp Stabilizer smooths out the shakiness in your shots, but the trade off is that it crops the shot by a few dozen pixels on all sides. This allows Premiere Pro to move the shot digitally to counter your own movements, creating a smooth shot. You can even change just how much you stabilize the shot by moving the “Smoothness” slider under Warp Stabilizer in the effects panel. This effect does work with pans, tilts, and some movement, but can get incredibly janky with more complex movements. If you try to use Warp Stabilizer on some footage that looks like it could have been in the Blair Witch Project, then Premiere Pro will spit you out a pile of hot garbage.
Video Effects–>Blur&Sharpen–>Gaussian Blur
This combined with the pen tool is a great way to blur out faces and objects. If you were shooting on a location and realized you accidentally got the sign of a gas station in the background then Gaussian Blur is a great way to blur that sign out. This is especially handy for anyone here looking to do documentaries.
There are tons of other effects out there than can and hopefully will be of help to many of you in the future, but if you are starting out these are some good effects to master early on.