Premiere Pro Tutorial: How to Create a Motion Blur Effect

Video Tutorials
September 13, 2022

Premiere Pro Tutorial: How to Create a Motion Blur Effect

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It might sound counterintuitive but adding some blur to images can make them look more realistic, especially in a video. As your eyes move, your brain naturally blurs images. If images look too sharp in a video, some people might think it doesn’t look real. Using a motion blur effect in Premiere Pro can add some realism to your productions.

In this Premiere Pro Tutorial, we are going to teach you how to create a motion blur effect that you can add to your next video.

What is a Motion Blur Effect?

A motion blur effect is a motion effect that blurs an image. Video editors frequently use this effect to make their videos feel more fluid and realistic. If your video needs more motion, a subtle motion blur can give the impression of movement.

The motion blur effect can be customized to fit your needs. You can adjust settings like the direction of the blur to make it look more dynamic, believable, and interesting.

How Do You Add a Motion Blur Effect in Premiere Pro?

You want the motion blur you add to look natural. Follow these steps to add a motion blur effect using Premiere Pro.

  1. Use the Transform Effect

After you have imported your video footage into Premiere Pro and navigated to the clip where you want to add motion blur, you will add a Transform effect. To do this, navigate to Effects > Video Effects > Distort > Transform. Add this effect to your selected clip in the timeline.

  1. Animate the Transform Effect

Once you’ve added Transform to your selected clip, you will see the available settings to keyframe in the Effects Controls panel. These include:

  • Anchor Point
  • Position
  • Scale
  • Skew
  • Skew Axis
  • Rotation
  • Opacity
  • Shutter Angle

You can adjust the keyframe positions of each setting by toggling the stopwatch icon to the left of each value, then adding a keyframe at the beginning and the end of your clip.

  1. Adjust the Shutter Angle in Premiere Pro

To achieve a motion blur effect, you want to deselect “Use Composition’s Shutter Angle.” You can then adjust the shutter angle to your desired setting. The default setting is 180 degrees. The higher you set the angle, the more blur you will get. Test your setting a few times to make sure you get the look you want. Adjust any of the other Transform settings you want to see how it looks.

  1. Create a Preset

Adding motion blur is something you will likely do frequently. Saving your settings as a Preset can help you achieve the look you want much faster. Once you have the settings you want, right-click on the Transform Effect and select Save Preset. Choose a memorable description and you are ready to go.

Download this clip of driving through a tunnel with motion blur

What Does the Motion Blur Effect Do in Premiere Pro?

The motion blur effect in Premiere Pro works by giving moving objects a natural-looking blur. The human eye naturally blurs objects that are moving quickly. Blurring also happens naturally when shooting at the standard 24 fps. The higher 30 fps rate smooths out motion and is frequently used for sporting events and live broadcasts.

If shot at the right shutter speed, the motion blur in a recorded video should look good. If there is not enough blur in your video footage, it can give viewers an unnatural feeling. Adding motion blur makes your videos look professional and realistic.

Visual effects artists use motion blur most frequently on things like:

  • Text animation
  • Graphic animation
  • Pans and zooms on still images
  • Digital effects
  • Animated models

Add a Directional Blur in Premiere Pro

There may be instances where you want to blur only a specific area within a video clip, like the background. Follow these steps to add a directional blur in Premiere Pro.

  1. Import Your Video Clip

Import the video footage you want to use and add it to the timeline.

  1. Use Directional Blur

In the Editing workspace, select the Effects panel. Navigate to Video Effects > Blur & Sharpen > Directional Blur. Add this effect to your clip.

  1. Select the Area You Want to Blur

Within the Effect Controls panel, you will need to create a Directional Blur mask around the area you want to blur. For example, if there is a waterfall in your scene, you would trace around the edges of the waterfall within the Program Monitor to create a mask. You may need to zoom in to ensure you are accurately following the outline.

  1. Track the Mask

If the object you want to blur moves within the scene, you will need to track the mask. If it is static, you can skip this step.

To track the mask, click on the Track Mask arrows. Stop, if needed, to adjust the mask if it drifts off of the object. If your object enters or exits offscreen, it will likely be easier to start tracking in the middle and go backward or forward to finish the track. You will need to track one frame at a time to fine-tune the process. Play the sequence to verify your mask stays on track.

  1. Adjust Blur Values

In the Effect Controls panel make any needed adjustments to the Directional Blur values to achieve your desired motion blur. Set the direction of the blur to follow the motion of the action. If you need to soften the edges of the mask, increase the Mask Feathering setting.

  1. Evaluate Your Work

Play back your sequence to check your work and make adjustments, as needed.

Utilize Storyblocks Templates for Easy Video Content Creation

Learning how to add motion blur to objects in Premiere Pro takes you one step closer to producing high-quality video footage. To accelerate your video content creation, you can try using video templates. Storyblocks offers Adobe Premiere Pro templates along with Adobe After Effects templates.

These templates combined with royalty-free stock video footage can help you improve your skills and produce even more video projects.

Storyblocks offers subscriptions to stock video footage, audio files, video templates, and still images. We have subscription plans for both individual creators and businesses. A subscription can give you access to unlimited downloads each month. You can then use your newfound video editing skills to add this stock footage to your unique projects.

Want to see how Storyblocks can improve your content creation process? Sign up for a subscription today.

Alyson Majikes

Senior SEO Specialist

Alyson is a Sr. SEO Specialist at Storyblocks with a focus on content. Outside of work you can catch her with her Pomeranian, Theo, or visiting local wineries and breweries.