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How to Replace the Sky in Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve

Sky replacement is a quick and easy way to make your shots look more dynamic. Let’s take a look at how to replace the sky in Premiere and Resolve.

Sky replacement can make pedestrian shots look more exciting and turn great shots into something truly epic. Need a moon? No problem. Don’t want clouds? Get rid of them.

We’ve put together a tutorial that walks you through two methods of sky replacement. The first uses Premiere Pro, and it’s very beginner-friendly.  The second method, accomplished in DaVinci Resolve, is a little more advanced. Both take very little time at all.

Sky Replacement in Adobe Premiere Pro

Switch out your sky in Premiere Pro is a breeze, and it works best if the horizon in your shot doesn’t move. In the example I’ve used here, the drone doesn’t change position relative to the horizon, but in a ground-level shot, this means you don’t tilt the camera up or down.

Combine Images

Use the Rectangular Mask and section points to cover the part of the shot you want to keep.

Add the shot you want replaced on the top track. Below it, add the sky you want to replace it with. Next, select the top track, and bring up the Effect controls. Pick the Rectangular Mask, and use the section points to cover the part of the shot you want to keep. Take note: It helps if you keep the edges clear of the sides of your clip. That way, when you add some feathering to the horizon, you won’t also feather the sides.

Mask Expansion

Add Mask Expansion, then adjust its size and position.

You can now add Mask Expansion so that the mask sits right on the horizon. Next, select the bottom layer, and adjust its size and position so that the bottom clip’s horizon lines up with the top clip’s horizon.

Integrate Clips

Add a color matte when integrating clips.

To better integrate the two clips, add a color matte from the New menu and select a color from the sky. You can place this over the bottom clip, change the transfer mode to Multiply, and adjust the opacity to the desired strength.

Sky Replacement in DaVinci Resolve

The above method works great if there are no objects intersecting the horizon. If you’ve got objects intersecting the horizon, you’ll need to key out the sky, rather than just mask it. In Resolve, you can do this with a selection.

Positioning Tracks

Position the ground on Track Two above the sky on Track One.

First, set up your clips — place the ground on Track Two above the sky on Track One. In the color tab, use the selection tool to drag over the sky and isolate this layer. You may need to denoise this by increasing the Denoise value, and refine the key with the In/Out Ratio.

Once you have a clean key, invert it. Add an Alpha output to the node tree by clicking the right button and selecting it. You can now drag the blue box from your keyed node to the project’s Alpha. There’s a chance you may need to invert your mask to make it show correctly.

Color Grading

Create a fluid transition by adding a bit of color from the ground into the sky.

The advantage of replacing the sky in DaVinci Resolve is that you can further grade your clips to better integrate the composition. While you’re tweaking the look, try adding color from the ground to the sky to make them feel more like they’re part of the same universe. Ultimately, your sky replacement effect can be as simple or complex as your skill and imagination allows.

Want some more tips and tricks for Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve? Check out the following resources: