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What Are Special Video Effects?

Special video effects are used on a video after it has been filmed to enhance the quality of it, or to add elements that can’t otherwise be filmed. Some people use Adobe Premiere, or if they are on Mac, they will use Final Cut. Other people prefer to use Adobe After Effects, as that allows them more creative control over their effects. Either way, when it comes to taking a video from ordinary to extraordinary, understanding video special effects is essential.

Types of Effects


When transitioning between different shots, the most common effects used are ‘cross dissolve’, where two shots fade into each other, ‘dip to black’, where the shot fades to a black screen, and ‘dip to white’, where the screen instead fades to white. This allows the video to move from one scene to another without it being too jarring for the viewer.

Colour Correction

Often, after a video has been shot, the colours may be uneven, or there is a specific aesthetic you are looking for. All video editing software allows control over how colours are expressed and graded. You can set every shot to have a greenish tint, or just brighten up dark scenes or you can even make certain colours like red pop exclusively.


A more commonly used special video effect is to add titles; this is as easy as writing out some text and adding it as a layer to a video using the chosen software program. There are many different fonts and styles to choose from, and you can even add effects to the text, such as having it scroll or fade in.

Credits and Captions

A more versatile use of text in video involves the use of credits and captions. At the beginning or end of the video, a list of the people who worked on it can be displayed, and a scrolling effect can even be added. Captions can be inserted when audio is hard to make out, or to introduce someone and their profession, as often seen in documentary interviews.

Although not directly a video editing technique, the sound can also be edited to better fit the video. This can be done if the audio is distorted or too loud. It can also be used to add sound effects that would be hard to capture by just filming a scene. This is also done by adding or removing layers of sound in the editing software.

More advanced techniques

There are other special video effects that require skills slightly higher than the average user, such as using a green screen or layering in effects that are separate from the actual video. These other effects could be relatively simple, such as adding a small explosion effect, more complex such as adding a lightsaber effect, or very advanced such as adding 3D elements to the shot. Although this takes more skill, requires more time and often needs expensive equipment, such as a computer that is able to render these effects, the green screen itself and a camera that is able to capture enough initial detail that these effects don’t seem too out of place.

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