How to create the VHS look in Premiere Pro + free VHS effect presets

by Katelynn Mitchell
Read time: 4 min
Posted 19 June 2023

Nostalgia for the 90s is very popular now. So if you know how to make a VHS effect in your videos, you can create stylish clips and get into the trend. Fortunately, in order to get the effect of an old recording (with a date on the screen, stripes, image defects, etc.), today it is not necessary to shoot with an analog retro camera and transfer the recording to a VHS tape. It is enough to add the characteristic features of the video sequence of the 90s when editing the clip. Just use special filters and other tools in a program that allows such processing. Don’t forget about  graphic effects

How to create the VHS look in Premiere Pro + free VHS effect presets

Creating the VHS look

To create a VHS look in Premiere Pro, we need to use a combination of different effects. You can easily enhance and customize these effects to match your retro style desire. Consider the most popular of them.

Lumetri Color

The first effect we need to use is “Lumetri Color”. We can make some basic adjustments to the contrast and white levels with it. We can then make various creative adjustments with the “Faded Film”, “Curves”, and “Vignette” settings. “Lumetri Color” is great because it allows us to choose the right color tone with just one effect.

Channel Blur

Blur channel not only allows you to blur each color channel individually, but also allows you to mix colors.

“Channel Blur” gives footage that recognizable VHS look. It works very similar to “Gaussian Blur” but allows us to blur each color channel individually (red, green, and blue). We can blur individual color channels and this allows us to "merge" the colors together and push them "out lines". Use multiple copies of Channel Blur with different blur sizes to further customize the look.

Unsharp mask

With the “Unsharp Mask” effect, we can add overly exaggerated contrast to the edges and fine details of our footage. This gives our footage a "digitally sharpened" appearance that looks dated. Adjust the “Radius” setting to get the desired look.

Noise and grain

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There are two options for adding noise to a frame. The first is by using Premiere's built-in “Noise effect”. This can give excellent "cinematic" results when set low. The second option is to use VHS or film grain overlay. Just place this clip on top of your footage, set the blend mode to “Overlay”, then adjust the opacity as needed.

4:3 aspect ratio

If you want an authentic VHS look, you need to set the aspect ratio to 4:3. It's better to use “4:3 Image Overlay“ on top of a 16:9 frame. However, you can also set the “Adjust Sequence” to 4:3. We recommend a frame size of 1440×1080 if you use this method.

VHS Shake (using free presets)

If you want to add some VHS judder to the frame, you can do it with free “VHS Presets” in the project file.

To install presets, right-click on Presets in the “Effects” window, then select Import Presets. Select “VHS Presets” from Project File. Now you can drag and drop the preinstalled “VHS Shake” onto your footage (the “VHS Shake” preset is designed to work with 1920×1080 HD footage; if your footage has different size, nest it in a 1920×1080 sequence first, then apply the preset to the nested sequence). The “VHS Shake” preset works with video clips up to one minute. However, if you have a clip longer than one minute, cut it using the “Razor Tool”, then add a “VHS Shake” preset to each part.

VHS overlay

Video recording should take into account all aspects of the appearance of the videotape, including the font.

“Rocket Stock” offers you several resources to give you a retro VHS aesthetic. You can find the correct font in this download, which is used for "recording stats". There are also some glitch effects that are absolute must-have for your VHS overlay.

How to create the VHS look in Premiere Pro A Step-by-Step Guide with Free Effect Presets

VHS style music

End your shoot with 80s or 90s-inspired music.

You have a VHS overlay or footage that looks perfect. Maybe you even added some distortion or fonts. What's next? Well, of course you can't listen to modern music. Use playlists for 80s or 90s-inspired songs that are perfect for your retro shots.


We invite you to try everything that is described in this article and create your own video in the style of the 80s or 90s. Such a clip will certainly attract attention and get the approval of the audience.

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