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The Many Different Ways to Use the Crop Effect in Premiere Pro

Logan Baker

Here are six ways the crop effect in Adobe Premiere Pro will improve your filmmaking workflow — and yield more satisfying results.

If you want to be proficient in Adobe Premiere, you’ve got to familiarize yourself with the key effects you’ll be using every day. One of these effects is the crop tool — an extremely important tool in a video editor’s toolkit.

In this video, Cinecom.net demonstrates the many ways this simple tool can help you play with multiple images at once, give your video a more cinematic feel, and enhance the flow of your video. Let’s take a look.


Adding the Crop Effect to a Clip

Video Editing 101: The Many Different Ways to Use the Crop Effect in Premiere Pro (Reissue Draft) - Adding to a Clip

Adding the crop effect is as simple as dragging “Crop” from the Effects panel onto your clip. From there, you’ll have the ability to add the crop using the Left, Right, Top, and Bottom parameters. These parameters are also animatable, so if you want a crop to creep in, you can set some keyframes to slip a crop into your clip.

If you’re looking for more precision, there’s a more customizable way to do it. Create an adjustment layer and place it over your clip. Add the Crop Effect to the adjustment layer and perform your cropping from there. This gives you a lot more control over the placement of your clip. You can adjust the placement of your clip with the position tools to use in conjunction with the crop tool.


Adding a Cinematic Touch

Video Editing 101: The Many Different Ways to Use the Crop Effect in Premiere Pro (Reissue Draft) - Adding Wide Screen Bars

So, to start, you can use the crop tool to add the classic cinematic widescreen bars to the top and bottom of your image. This’ll give you that letterbox, widescreen feel. To apply this effect to your entire edit, add an adjustment layer first, then move the clips around, fitting the new aspect ratio however you like.


Use the Effect with Text

Video Editing 101: The Many Different Ways to Use the Crop Effect in Premiere Pro (Reissue Draft) - Animate Your Text

The crop tool can be an extremely stylish way to animate your text. All you need to do is apply the effect to your title and change the position, set your keyframes, and reveal the text at whatever speed fits the current style you’re trying to convey. It’s a fast way to add a touch of production value and flare to your project, if you want to add some movement to your titles and text.


Create a Split Screen

Video Editing 101: The Many Different Ways to Use the Crop Effect in Premiere Pro (Reissue Draft) - Create a Split Screen

The next obvious effect you can throw on is the split screen. This is as simple as placing two clips on top of each other, then going over to the Effects Control Panel and moving the clip’s position, accordingly, to fit the center of the frame for each shot. If you want to move the clip over in a smooth way, right-click on the keyframe, hit “Temporal Interpolation,” and hit “Ease In” or “Ease Out.” This’ll smooth out the overall animation.


Add Spicy Transitions

Video Editing 101: The Many Different Ways to Use the Crop Effect in Premiere Pro (Reissue Draft) - Add Transitions

The crop tool can turn your transitions into fun, fast-moving movements with a couple of simple keyframe placements. First, make sure the upcoming clip is atop the tail end of your current clip. Then, add the crop effect to both clips. For the bottom clip, enable the zoom (in the crop effect), then raise the bottom by about fifteen percent, with your keyframes set toward the end of the clip. This’ll stretch out the video downwards. Then, for the top clip, animate the bottom from one-hundred percent to zero percent. This’ll bring the clip down, following the first clip.


Reveal Your Effects

Video Editing 101: The Many Different Ways to Use the Crop Effect in Premiere Pro (Reissue Draft) - Reveal Effects

So, this effect is perfect for anybody doing breakdowns of their color grades, effects, shot compositions, or any type of tutorial-based instruction. Basically, however many effects you have applied to your clip, you’ll duplicate the clip X number of times. So, if you have four effects, you’ll make four new clips, and they’ll have all the effects applied to them. Then, take one effect off each clip, starting from the top. Your original clip should have no effects applied. Apply the crop effect to each clip and animate any property from one-hundred to zero, which will cause it to reveal itself. Finally, copy and duplicate the setting on each clip, and trim it down so your timeline looks like a staircase. This’ll  slowly reveal all of the effects you’ve applied.

Video Editing 101: The Many Different Ways to Use the Crop Effect in Premiere Pro (Reissue Draft) - Reveal Effects

Unfortunately, the Crop tool will only allow you to create a reveal with either a straight vertical or horizontal line. If you want to add a diagonal reveal, that’s where you’ll be having to work with masks within Premiere or After Effects.


Blending Clips Together

If you’re looking to blend multiple shots that have been shot in the same placement, the crop tool is where you’ll bring them all together. Just take your multiple shots and place them on top of each other in your timeline. Apply the crop effect to all of them. From there, all you have to do is just crop each individual layer into the sections that they need to display, and add a feather to the edge (inside the crop tool), so they blend together nicely. For more info about how to shoot this style of video, check out Jason Boone’s video about the crop tool.


This post was originally published in June, 2018. It has been updated to reflect changes in the industry.

Cover image via Cinecom.net.

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