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Have you ever wondered, how all these filmmakers are getting this nice and crisp looking footage and just that overall cinematic look?
Here are 4 free tips and easy ways how you can make your footage and videos look more cinematic in Premiere Pro.

All this equipment out there is already expensive enough. All these tips I‘m about to give you are totally free to use. So why not use them right? 

Tipp Nr. 1: Camera Settings

In order to get that cinematic look in the first place, you need to shoot in the right way, to begin with. This means before you can actually start editing your footage, you need to adjust your camera settings and start to actually think about the scenes you want to capture.

A few settings you should use:

So to get the best results, your shutter speed should be fixed at ~2x your framerate.
Which means, if you are shooting at 24fps, your shutter speed needs to be at 1/50 and if you are shooting at 120fps it needs to be at 1/250.

Set your Picture profile to a Log Format, S-Log or C-Log, or Cine4 (for Sony Cameras). By doing this, you will be able to get more out of your footage in post-production.

Tipp Nr.2: Set your timeline to 24 fps

Sequence Settings
Sequence Settings

Have you ever watched a Hollywood movie? All these films have been shot in 24fps. This is, in general, the look you want to achieve. So every piece of footage you are capturing will start to look more natural. 

Just hop into Adobe Premiere Pro, head into your timeline and click on Sequence -> Sequence Settings -> Have a look at Display Format and choose 23,976 fps.

Tipp Nr.3: Color Grading

Color Grading is a huge deal when you are trying to make your footage look more cinematic. Although it is free to use it can be a little bit overwhelming at first. 

So what I like to do in the beginning, is to match my shots in my timeline in order to make them look the same and not to have any crazy looking color and exposure variations.

Lumetri Color

Lumetri Color Adjustments
Lumetri Color Adjustments for Cinematic Videos

To achieve this, what we want to do is head to the first clip in your timeline and open Lumetri Color. So now you might ask yourself, how do I make sure to balance all these clips out. And it is actually really is.
All you have do is, to activate Lumetri Scopes and have a look at the waveform and vectorscope. 

The Waveform basically represents the exposure of your clip from left to right. And your shadows should be reaching the bottom 0 level and your highlights the top 100.

Just be careful at skin tones. Make sure they are at around 60-70 to look normal. Or check out the Ansel Adams Zone System to be sure. 

The Vectorscope tells you how much color is in your clip.
So, the more centered it is, the less color is in your footage. Since, especially the white balance can be off sometimes, make sure there aren’t any differences in your clips. 

Color-wise, make sure that every clip has about the same amount of saturation in it. Because we will adjust the look and color range in a separate layer on top of our clips. 

Create an Adjustment Layer

adjustment layer
Adjustment Layer

The easiest way to make your footage look the same is to apply a LUT on our Adjustment Layer which covers the entire timeline.

Select the Adjustment Layer and head into Lumetri Color again. Choose Creative and apply a LUT. I know not everybody has their own LUTs, so I added a few links to download some. You’ll find the link in the Infobox down below. 

The only thing left you want to do is to hit Browse and select the Lut to apply it. 

It can look a bit strange. Just reduce the intensity a little bit and you should be good to go. 

Tipp Nr.4: Cinematic Bars

cinematic bars
Effect: Crop

Cinematic or Black Bars on to of your video is just an easy way to make your footage look even better. 

All you have to do is, to go into Effects, search for Crop and apply it onto the Adjustment Layer and add 13% to the Top and Bottom section. 

So as you have seen. The whole process of making your footage look more cinematic is really easy. But it may take some time to color correct properly.

Want to learn more about film making and photography? Head over to my channel on YouTube.