Premiere Pro is probably the most well-known editing software in the industry, and with good reason: it’s an incredibly powerful and user-friendly tool that editors, colorists and FX artists would struggle to live without.
But, by adding a few plugins, you can get even more out of Adobe’s editing software. Whether you’re new to Premiere Pro, or if you’re looking to add to your bag of tricks, these seven plugins are our favorites.
Red Giant’s Magic Bullet suite is the plugin package for filmmakers, and every single one of the seven tools included are lifesavers for anyone aiming to create an authentically cinematic piece of video. Our favorite of the bunch, though, is Looks, which is one of the newer tools in this kit.
The selling point of this plugin is that it makes it relatively easy to recreate the filmic look you see on TV and in movies. There are more than 200 presets included that are completely customizable, so it’s as simple as picking the right one for your footage. And, if that’s not enough, you can use the 40 on board tools to build your own ‘Looks’. You can also color correct with Looks, which is a must-have for anybody working in film.
This plugin is pricey, but it’s worth it if you’re serious about cinematography. In fact, we think it’s worth buying the entire Magic Bullet suite – available for $899.
Bad video effects can sometimes be good, and Digi Effects has set out to prove this with Damage.
Want to make your footage look like it was recorded on VHS, or that there’s a bad satellite feed? Then this software is for you. This plugin is one of the best on the market for adding interference or age to your footage, and it’s incredibly simple to use.
There are plenty of presets on board to give you a great time-saving shortcut, but you can also customize all the elements of the templates to make them your own. The real joy of this plugin is that there’s no need to key-frame your effects unless you want to fade in or out, thanks to the inbuilt timing parameter.
If you’d rather improve your footage than damage it, New Blue FX can help you with that. Although Premiere Pro’s inbuilt ‘Warp Stabilizer’ is a fantastic tool for removing unwanted camera shake, it’s always good to have a backup; especially if that backup will only set you back $99.
It’s quick and easy to analyze your footage for movement, and you don’t need to select a point to track to do so. Once your footage is analyzed, you can then adjust how much motion control and stabilization you need. You can also create the impression that your footage was shot on a steadicam without having to invest in one, making this an even more sensible investment for anyone who shoots handheld or in changeable conditions.
Transitions are one of the easiest way to add production value to your work, and this handy pack gives great variety. In fact, it’s probably the plugin on our list that you’d get the most use out of (and it’s also the cheapest).
There are ten transitions in the pack, and each one is high quality and very usable. Choose from the likes of Impact Push, which gives an interesting yet clean transition for documentary and reportage style work, or go for something more abstract and distorted like Impact Chaos.
There are a further two transition packs available, and at only $247 in total it’s tempting to go for all three. It’s also worth noting that Film Impact is recommended by Adobe, so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.
This plugin from Red Giant is more practical than creative, but can be a true lifesaver when it comes to keeping your footage safe.
If you’re shooting on location and are concerned about keeping your footage safe on the move, Offload can create additional copies of your files and send them to a secondary destination or drive. For extra safety, all of your files are compared to the original to ensure that data is duplicated exactly.
The software is very easy to use, and will work with pretty much any camera, card and video format. It might not seem like the most exciting plugin on the market, but we think the peace of mind it offers is worth the relatively small investment.
If you’re looking for a dedicated and relatively cheap color grading plugin, you can’t go wrong with New Blue FX’s Color Fast 2.
It’s quick and easy to adjust aspects such as exposure and saturation, and you can create a larger range of luminance values in your project by controlling highs, mids and shadows. ‘Four point shape masks’ and ‘shield colors’ are both handy masking tools which allow you to isolate areas of your footage to eliminate or reduce color corrections that you later do. Or, if you prefer your color correcting experience to be more automated, simply choose from the 65 presets.
If you don’t want to splash out on Color Fast, Color Fixer Pro is a lesser but capable color grading solution that’s also available on New Blue FX’s website, but for free.
Boris FX’s Academy Award winning tracking and FX software is a must-have for professional editors, colorists and FX artists. It’s so good, in fact, that it’s been used in the Harry potter films, The Walking Dead, and lots of other huge films and TV shows.
Planar tracking is at the heart of this plugin, and makes it simple to track, roto-mask and remove objects. It works by tracking pixel patterns and does such a good job of doing so that it can follow objects even if they go off screen or out of focus. Need to erase distracting telephone wires or replace a screen on a cell phone? Mocha is the software you need to get the job done.
This plugin is pricey, but you really do get what you pay for. If it’s too much of an investment up front, Boris FX offer a subscription option which is a much more manageable $195 per year.
Wrapping it up
Premiere Pro is no doubt an incredible tool, but plugins really bring the software to life. With the right plugins in your toolkit, you can up your professionalism and take your work to an entirely new level.
What are your ‘can’t live without’ plugins? Let us know in the comments.