How To Create a “Before & After” Wipe in Premiere Pro

Written by: Nate Hernandez

Even though we live for a good “Before n’ After”, we don’t watch HGTV only for the home makeover. It takes courage to admit that we watch for the crazy house hunting mom-drama.  We get so caught up in the house hunting drama, that we forget about what we originally tuned in for; that transformation.

A powerful transformation can sell the dramatic change the “Property Brothers” worked so hard for. VR, however, has the potential to make the makeover even better. One small problem stops us from making it effective in VR, however. A wipe in 2D is easy to animate, but it isn’t easy to do that in 3D.

In this tutorial, I will teach you how to animate a transitional wipe in VR. It’s perfect for a transformation like in HGTV or the wipe on Avengers: Infinity Wars when Thanos reveals the destruction of his home planet.

While you may be a magical Premiere Pro warlock, getting the footage perfect before post-production is essential. Here are your goals when filming:

  1. Make sure to stick the camera in the exact same position. Place it on the same spot on the floor as well as the same height.
  2. Next, the camera and its settings should be the same. Ideally, you should use the highest resolution and use 30fps. If there are dark shadows, change the white balance so that the image is brighter. Brighter pixels are sharper pixels!

Now that we have all our footage ready to go, stitch your footage and we can finally open Premier Pro! Import the videos and lay them directly on top of each other. Place the Before above the After.

The second step is to align the footage so that the landmarks are on the same part of the screen. Reduce the opacity of the top layer so that you can see both simultaneously. Then apply the “VR Rotate Sphere” and adjust the layers until they are aligned properly.

Side Note: If you are just a bit off and you can’t get it in the EXACT position, don’t worry too much. The human mind will compensate for small differences.

Moving on, we are going to start adding effects. Select the effects tab and look up the “crop” tool. Drag the effect onto the top layer. Select the “Effects Controls” tab on the left of the screen. The effect on the bottom should say “Crop”. Click it.

Enter for the left is 0% and then 75% for the right. You can personalize the size to your tastes, but I found this to be a good balance between the “Before” and “After”.

There should be a small chunk of the before shifted slightly to the left with a harsh line revealing the “After” layer under it. No feathering. No motion.  Just a block of footage standing alone like a kid in the supermarket pretending that they didn’t get lost.

To get some motion going, we need to use the dreaded key frames. They can be a little tricky for first timers, so it is important to carefully follow these instructions.

Make sure your timeline in effects control is at the zero mark. In crop effect, you will see a stop watch icon. Click on the stop watch on the left and the right crop effects.  Two diamonds should appear in the beginning of the timeline. Move the timeline cursor to when you want the animation to end. 15-30 seconds should be enough. Now you can change the values to 75% for the left and 0% for the right.  Two more diamonds should appear in the timeline.

You can now play back the video and see that it’s moving. The hard part is over. You can relax, now.

To give it the finishing touches, we need to feather out the harsh lines of the top layer. Luckily, this effect is already in the crop effect. The value of the feather tool should be at zero. Change it to 500. This will ensure that both layers blend seamlessly.

If “ifs” and “buts” are candy and nuts, you should be finished. Congratulations!