4 Stylish (And Easy) Video Effects for Vlogs
Jan 7, 2020
Once you’ve started a YouTube channel and gotten together the basics of your vlog — somewhere to film, a camera, a lighting setup, editing software, and some great background music — you’re ready for the next step.
Part of evolving your content means improving the quality. Finding better lighting or audio will take a bit of an investment, and you might not be able to do that right now. But something you can do is add video effects to your vlogs.
We’ve made a list of four trendy (but still easy!) effects that you can start adding to your next post. And to make it even easier, we’ll also point you toward tutorial videos that can help show you how to add these effects.
A timelapse is basically a dramatic “fastforward” button, visually showing a longer period of time within a few seconds. It’s a great way to add drama to a video, and it makes for a unique way to show a traveling sequence.
It’s also a feature available in most camera settings now, which means it has literally never been more accessible. And there are lots of situations where it makes sense to add one.
Walking somewhere to grab coffee? Driving to a new location to film? Building a treehouse in your backyard? Renovating that home you just bought? Use a timelapse for any of these and you’ll be able to feature a segment or activity without dedicating hours of videos to it.
It also works well when you need to streamline a longer process, or maybe to feature something changing over time. (For what it’s worth, one of the most popular YouTube timelapses features a growing bean.)
In other words, timelapses are a versatile trick that many videographers use. They’re also one of the easiest visual effects to add to a project. And, if done correctly, they look pretty slick too — here are some pointers from filmmaker Griffon Hammond:
Now before you go running off to add a timelapse in every video, here’s a word of advice: Don’t. There’s nothing inherently wrong with them, but they’ve become very popular in the vlogging scene over the past year or two.
You don’t want to turn a cool effect into a boring feature on your channel, so make sure to use them with a little moderation. When it comes to visual effects, the saying “less is more” is almost always true, and your audience will appreciate the timelapses more when you choose to use them.
In our post about vlog lighting, we talked about the importance of visual consistency. Once you’re comfortable with lighting and know how to use editing software, you may want to consider adding some filters to your videos.
A digital filter is basically a preset color setting — it’s a way to easily adjust the look of a video without having to re-light or re-shoot the clip. Filters also give you an opportunity to experiment with the look of your videos.
If you want to make your travel vlog cinematic or maybe give something a vintage look, filters are a way to avoid having to individually color grade each shot in your video. A common term for these filters is “Lookup Table,” or a LUT.
Many YouTube vloggers rely on LUTs to simplify the editing process. And if you follow any travel vlogs or filmmaker channels, chances are they’ll even provide links to download (or purchase) the exact LUTs they use on their videos.
Here’s a look at how successful YouTubers use color grading/filters to take their videos to the next level:
(Note that this tutorial is basically exclusive to Adobe Premiere Pro users, but you’ll be able to find shortcuts that apply to whatever program you use to edit your vlog. And while we don't mean keyboard shortcuts, those will certainly make your life easier too.)
At this point, the training montage in Rocky is part of our cultural heritage. It’s something everyone has seen, either online or in parodies. (Also, feel free to hum “Eye of the Tiger” while you read this section. It’ll help set the tone.)
Montages are a trick that many other filmmakers replicate. It can even take different forms, like sequences of short, quick cuts that transition to a longer scene. But the goal is to suggest a long span of time without focusing too much on what happens along the way.
Actually, it’s a bit like a timelapse in some ways. But while a timelapse features a continuous stream of images, a montage lets you cut and combine clips however you like. That means more creative freedom so you can shorter clips into videos that finish a joke or illustrate a point.
We’ve all seen examples of this on YouTube, whether they’re channel highlight reels or brief summary clips. But here’s a great idea for how to condense clips, and how a montage can deliver a powerful experience, even if it looks a bit choppy at first:
The idea of collecting and condensing clips — for comedic effect or heightened emotional impact — is a cinematic trick that we’re all familiar with.
But it also works for vlogs. And if used correctly, it can add a new storytelling card to your hand.
We’re putting this one last because it’s probably the most important piece in editing video. No, it technically isn’t a video effect. But transitions go a long way in making your content look professional, and especially in making your vlogs more entertaining to watch.
This is one specific instance where a video is worth a thousand words. And while you probably won’t ever use this many transitions, here’s a montage of awesome transitions that you can use (and in some cases learn or download for free) to spice up your vlog videos:
If you didn’t already know how cool transitions were, hopefully that video sparked some excitement for how you can keep evolving your vlog content. Because you’ve already got the resources to do it — all you need is a little help in knowing where to start.
And now you’ve got that little nudge. So go out there and get to work on making your vlog the best it can be. We look forward to seeing what you create!