Emulating Photoshop’s Clarity Effect On Video Using Premiere Pro CC

Clarity filter in Photoshop or Lightroom is often utilized by photographers to create a punchier and more vibrant look that imparts an interesting feel to still images once it’s been applied. But, what about video? Even though you will be able to open a video file in Photoshop and use the effect you won’t be able to render it, simply because the algorithms of this filter aren’t optimised for moving images.

Actually, you can apply the effect manually to every single frame of your video inside Photoshop, however, this can turn into an extremely time-consuming and tedious process which is definitely not a viable option. Yet, it doesn’t mean you can’t emulate this certain look in your NLE instead.

Belgium-based independent filmmaker Jordy Vandeput is here with an insightful tutorial showcasing how you can easily emulate the clarity effect look by using the correct blending techniques and filters in Premiere Pro CC to make the image softer or harder just like you would normally do with a still image in Photoshop.

To start off, you need to duplicate the video file in Premiere Pro CC and by holding the Alt key drag the clip to the above video track. Select the duplicated clip, navigate to the Effects Control Panel, open the Opacity parameter and select the Multiply blend mode from the drop down menu. This will make you image darker but you can easily fix that by applying the Luma filter later.


To achieve this dreamy look, you simply need to apply the Fast Blur effect to the bottom layer in your timeline and adjust the Blurriness value accordingly. Also, make sure that the Repeat Edge Pixels mode is enabled. If you want to add more brightness to the overall image simply use the Luma Curve effect and drag it over the bottom clip.

Furthermore, to create the punchier and more vibrant look of your image you need to switch the blending mode of the duplicated clip from Multiply to Overlay. Now head over to the Effects and search for the Unsharp Mask filter and drag it to the clip below. Setting the Radius around 10 and the Amount around 200 should be a great starting point.


Depending on the resolution and quality of your clip you can tweak both settings from there. Furthermore, to control the amount of the applied effect, select the duplicated clip and change its opacity to either reduce or increase the effect.

Thanks to Jordy Vandeput, you can even download the demo footage from the above tutorial by clicking on the following link and play around with it on your own.

[via: ISO1200, source: Cinecom.net]

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  • Guido Rehme

    The info about the Photoshop problem, that i can correct one frame only, is not right.
    I gave a solution in the comments of the yt video as Guido Rehme.

    • Vlady Radev

      It will be great to share this tip with our community here! Cheers!

  • Elliot Kramer

    I’m pretty sure that you just have to make the video clip a smart object and all frames will accept the edit.

    • Vlady Radev

      Sure! We’ve just covered an alternative solution.

      • Vlad

        1) make an adjustement layer and change it’s blending mode to overlay
        2) put a black & white effect to avoid color saturation
        3) put un sharp mask like in the tutorial

        The thing is that you don’t need to duplicate clips. You can just use an ordinary adjustment layer for the same effect.

  • Eno

    This article is right on spot!
    In the past I usually resorted to Photoshop and ACR to give the last touch of grading to the films but unfortunately encoding times are insane and export quality poor, but for internet usage was OK. For pro work I had to export the film as farms, edit them and reassemble in Premiere (very time consuming). Now I tend to do as much as possible directly in Premiere because is much less time consuming factor + the export can be at a very high quality.

    • Vlady Radev

      That’s a great tip, Eno! Thanks for sharing it with the community! Cheers!:)