First, blur can draw focus and attention to a particular part of the frame or the subject. By blurring a video background element, you emphasize what’s in the foreground, and vice versa.
Second, blur can create a special effect, simulating a point of view or establishing something otherworldly. If you have a mystical character, blurring the edges around them or softening their image with a blur effect can help emphasize that character’s magical status. Or, if you have a character who is unconscious and then wakes up, using blur effects to show that character’s perspective coming into focus can also be effective. It comes down to identifying what your film needs and adding blur as necessary.
Key concepts for creating blur in post-production.
With video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro, you’ll have full control over your footage, so you can add blur effects, masks, and other effects with ease. Here are the main tools you’ll use for blurring video.
The Timeline panel
The Timeline panel is where you will assemble and apply effects to your video clips and manage your various video tracks. Understanding the different tools that the Timeline panel offers helps when you start applying keyframes and masks. Because you often apply blur effects to individual clips or parts of clips, knowing how to manipulate these effects — zoom, hide, and cut through each scene — makes them easier to apply.
Keyframing and masking
When you’re blurring video, especially video that has a moving subject, you need to add in keyframing. Keyframes are specific points within a clip where you can assign spatial position, opacity, and a number of other effects. When you have multiple keyframes at different points in a clip, Premiere Pro will interpolate the space between them, which animates the movement from keyframe A to keyframe B and so on.
A common way to use keyframes to blur part of a video is with masking effects — this is one of the best ways to blur a face. A masking effect is a feature within Premiere Pro that helps you create a blur effect over an entire clip, and then have that mask move as the subject moves.
Beyond a simple mask, Premiere Pro gives you multiple options for creating blur effects and video effects that simulate different types of camera movements, colors, and cinematic tricks. You can select from different types of effects within the Effects panel: