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How to Make Good Video Look Bad
Guides to video stylizing with Adobe Premiere

Here you can find guides to making video appear as if it were broadcast
over antenna, filmed with webcam, etc. using Adobe Premiere - although
thse techniques could probably be applied to other editors as well.

Skip to a Guide:
1-Make video look as if it was filmed via webcam
2-Make video look as if being recieved over antenna/satellite
3-Make video look like it's from a 70s film reel
4-Make video look "dreamy"

Make video look as if it was filmed via webcam:
Step 1:



The base image.

Note the timestamp. Although not all webcams have a timestamp, they usually have something in the corner to that effect, so it's a good idea to add one. This one was made with Visual Basic. Non-programmers might opt for a static title.
Step 2:



Increase brightness and contrast

Effects→
Video Effects→
Adjust→
Brightness & Contrast
Step 3:



Add pixelization. Webcams generally have poor resolution.

Effects→
Video Effects→
Stylize→
Mosaic
Step 4:



Simulate JPEG compression. Webcams usually save images as low-quality JPEGs. Give the video the "JPEG" look by duplicating it twice, putting all three videos on top of eachother (via Premiere's layers), lowering the mosaic resolution of the two "top" videos, then making those two top videos partially transparent. In the example frame, the two top videos have 17% opacity, so details are still visible but things look slightly "blocky".
Step 5:



Lower the framerate. Webcams rarely operate at 30 fps like normal cameras. 12 fps is a good amount.

Effects→
Video Effects→
Time→
Posterize Time


The difference isn't visible in the example as it's only one frame.
Add a few frame holds and "Random Block"
transitions (to simulate download glitches) and
you're done. Note that, like many of the effects
mentioned here, the JPEG compression
simulation is much more prominant when seen
at a high resolution.

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Make video look as if being recieved over antenna/satellite
Step 1:



The base image
(a fake Russian game show)
Step 2:



Increase brightness and contrast

Effects→
Video Effects→
Adjust→
Brightness & Contrast
Step 3:



Increase shaprness. This gives the image a grainy look reminiscent of over-the-air TV. Adding noise is another alternative, but I think this looks better.

Effects→
Video Effects→
Blur & Sharpen→
Sharpen
Step 4:



Add a Wave Warp. This helps simulate a poor signal.

Effects→
Video Effects→
Distort→
Wave Warp


Make sure to make it horizontal. Use "smooth noise". This should be dynamic, so have the wave height and other variables fluctuate over time.
Step 5:



Add more distortion.

Effects→
Video Effects→
Distort→
Wave Warp


Same as with the last step, but this time, just use "Noise". This adds little jaggies to the "smooth" distortions produced by the previous step. More noticable at higher resolutions.
Step 6:



Mess up the colors a little.

Effects→
Video Effects→
Image Control→
Color Offset


The example has an offset of just 0.5% (also more noticable at higher resolutions). Separating color channels like this gives the video a subtle but noticable junkiness.
Step 7:



Mess up the sound. Poor signals effect sound, too.

Effects→
Audio Effects→
Stereo→
Lowpass


Use the lowpass filter to adjust sound quality dynamically: when the video looks bad from the wave warps, the sound should sound bad, too.
The key is to keep things dynamic by adjusting
the ammount of distortion added throughout the
video. Just like in real life, there should be
areas of good quality and areas of bad quality.

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Make video look like it's from a 70s film reel
Step 1:



The base image.
Step 2:



Increase brightness and contrast

Effects→
Video Effects→
Adjust→
Brightness & Contrast
Step 3:



Lower color saturation. Back in the day, colors weren't as vibrant, and even if they were, we want to exaggerate the aged look.

Effects→
Video Effects→
Image Control→
Color Balance (HLS)
Step 4:



Mess the colors up a little bit. There are few better ways of making video look mildly low-quality than by offsetting color channels.

Effects→
Video Effects→
Image Control→
Color Offset
Step 5:



Add film grain. Film reels have film grain. The only good way of I've found to add film grain is actually by using the "Film Age Old" filter in Windows Movie Maker. If you don't have that program (it comes free with some versions of Windows), or can't find it, you'll have to draw grain manually (sorry) and probably have it play in a loop above the video.
Remember the 70s? Remember the 90s?

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Make video look "dreamy":
Step 1:



The base image.

This is the simplest of these guides.
Step 2:



Duplicate the video and blur it

Effects→
Video Effects→
Blur & Sharpen→
Gaussian Blur
Step 3:



Put the blurred duplicate on top of the original and make it 50% transparent. The video now looks "soft" and "dreamy" yet retains details because the original video is still visible. That's it.
You're done.

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Copyright © 2007 Pawel Mikolajczyk