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How to Use FREE Cinematic Video Effects with Your Footage

In this post-production roundup, we go over 5 different ways you can add some FREE cinematic video effects to your footage.

Okay, hear me out. You’ve probably seen these videos on YouTube a million times — “How to Make Your Footage Look Cinematic,” and the video is basically some dude sitting in front of the camera for 14 minutes telling you to shoot at magic hour. Well, that’s great and everything, but thank goodness we have channels like SonduckFilm that get right to the point with actual advice and materials to help you out. In his latest tutorials, he actually takes some of our old freebies and applies them to footage. Let’s take a look at what you can expect when you download these free elements.

1. Volumetric Light and Dust Elements

Our very own cinematography wizard Todd Blankenship shot these light elements in our studio. He wanted them for his own elements, so he just went ahead and made them. (Appreciate ya, Todd!)

So, as you can see Josh (Sonduck) drags the clip over his footage and scales it up to fit the screen. Once you have the clip where you want it, change the blend mode to “Screen” — or “Overlay,” or whatever you’d like (it doesn’t matter if you’re in Premiere or After Effects). Because you’re dealing with a “light” element, you can play with the blend mode to fit whatever mood or aesthetic you want.

Download the FREE Volumetric Light pack here.

2. Fog Overlays

How to Use FREE Cinematic Video Effects with Your Footage — Fog Overlays

Nobody loves fog like Todd. It’s kind of weird; you can see how happy he gets here. But, as long as he keeps giving us these fire freebie packs, I’m not complaining. Josh throws one of these 4K clips over his moody nighttime clip and adjusts the blend mode as before. However, this time the fog is a little too intense, so he goes to Effect > Color Correction > Curves and brings it down to a more manageable level. It’s as easy as that!

Download the FREE Fog pack here.

3. Light Leaks

Light leaks are the unsung heroes of post-production. They can instantly turn a boring transition into something dreamy and filmic. Josh throws our Light Leak freebie pack over a bright, happy scene and sets the blend mode to “Screen.” Again, you can choose whichever blend mode you like.

Download the FREE Light Leak pack here.

4. Particles

Particles are little bit trickier. It’s hard to composite realistic-looking particles into your shot, but Josh shows us a few tricks with his video. First you can add a bit of Noise to the shot. Then once you’ve done this, go to Effect > Camera Lens Blur, which will just blend the particles a little bit better. We don’t offer any free particles packs, but we do have a giant pack of over 150 4K particle effects over on RocketStock. The pack is called “Collider,” and it’s truly insane how much you get with it. Check it out here.

(For an old but FREE pack of particles, look no further than our savior Andrew Kramer with his pack on Video Copilot here.)

And honestly the volumetric light pack has dust elements inside it. So, you can always use those elements as well.

5. Lens Flares 

How to Use FREE Cinematic Video Effects with Your Footage — Lens Flares

Lens flares will never go out of style. There, I said it. I know a lot of people (and famous directors) overuse them, but used appropriately and minimally, they can still pack a punch. Josh explains that you need a shot with your light source leaking in from one side of the frame. That way the lens flare makes sense in the shot (practicals work best for this). So add the clip, set the blend mode to “Add,” then play with the position, scale, and opacity of the flare.

Download the FREE Anamorphic Lens Flare pack here.

Looking for more film and video production tips? Check these out.

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