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Final Cut Pro Tutorial: Making Clips Look Like Old Video

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 8/19/2010

A tutorial on how to give clips the look of old VHS tapes in Final Cut Pro.

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    Get Me That Video Look

    Altering the appearance of your digital video is one of the primary reasons to run it through the post-production process, and the great thing about this new software is that you can change the very fundamental appearance of the video that you have already produced. New HD formats have a clean look that can oftentimes be too sterile looking to match the creative choices that you are making with your project. Luckily, in non-linear video editing programs like Final Cut Pro you have the ability to change this very footage to look like it had a different source of production with the use of video effects. The "video look," which often came from badly recorded VHS tapes, was a look that both identifies a period of time in media history and indicates the clandestine nature of what is on the screen. Here is an easy tutorial on how to use video effect in Final Cut Pro to apply this video look.

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    How to Make Clips Look Like Old Video

    Picture 43 Start out in your Final Cut Pro project by choosing and selecting the clip, or clips, that you want to give the appropriate video look to. You may want to apply the video look to one of the clips first and then copy and paste the attributes from that first clip to the subsequent ones, which will speed up the overall process. This is going to be easier if you are using pieces of the same source clip, but if you are doing completely different video clips shot in different situations with separate visuals then you may want to apply this video effect separately.

    Once the clip has been selected in your Final Cut Pro Timeline you are going to want to make sure that you have Picture 44 the video of that specific clip in the Timeline up in the Canvas. When the clip you are looking to alter is in the Viewer go to the Browser and select the Effects tab. Go to Video Filters and then down to Stylize. Find the Bad TV video effect and drag and drop it onto the video in the Viewer. This will apply the Bad TV effect, which may or may not give you exactly what you want. This will heavily distort the image by making it look like a damaged VHS tape, but if you go into the Filter tab on the Viewer then you can begin to make specific changes to the video itself. If you want to regulate it more to the field of the "video look" then you should turn down the Roll and increase the saturation. From here you may want to add a combination of other filters, mainly Add Noise, Bad Film, and possibly Color Emboss. All of these video effects can end up being too dominant, so you will have to lower their overall intensity until you get the noise consistency that is appropriate.