Simulating Camera Shaking in Adobe Premiere

Simulating camera shake to a static video clip in Adobe Premiere is easy. It requires some labor, but it's not that complicated. Here's how to do it.

Change the Clip's Scale

A camera shake would mean that the camera unexpectedly moved. To do this to a static shot, you're going to need to increase it's size in order to have the frame move without seeing black space.

The new clip size is going to be dependent on how much shake you want. If it's going to be an intense, dramatic shake, then you're going to need to greatly blow up the size. But if it's a small shake, like someone accidentally bumping the camera, then you only need to slightly blow it up. Remember, the larger you blow up the video, the more it's quality will decrease.

Change the Positions

Now that the scale has been changed, you have some room that the frame can move in. The next step is to change the positions of the clip. The first step in this process is creating key frames in the positions line that are placed close to each other. A camera shaking happens very fast, so that's why the key frames are placed close to each other.

Once you have a series of key frames placed, you will change the position for each one. The position of the clips is measured in 'X' and 'Y' graph values. Change these values on each key frame. You can start with fairly random numbers; as long as black video doesn't appear, you're in the clear.

The video frame is not infinite. When you've over shot, at the edge of the frame, black will appear. This will make the effect seem fake and audiences will reject it.

Watch the Results

Once all the key frame values have been changed, it's time to watch your work. Premiere Pro will automatically animate between the key frame values giving you movement. But, before you can see this, you need to render the video. Rendering creates a preview file, which allows you to smoothly see how your effects are working. After the video is done rendering, it will automatically play.

Make Changes

After seeing the video, you might feel that the direction of the movements didn't feel natural enough or that the shaking was too slow. Create new key frames and change the values until you're left with an effect that you're happy with.

You can adapt this process to make camera shakes become still. Blow up the frame size and then cut every single piece of the clip so it's one frame in size. Change the position of each clip so that they are all the same. It's very labor intensive, but if you do it right, no one will ever know a shaky camera even existed.

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