How to Create a Freeze Frame Introduction in Premiere Pro

Learn how to create an awesome character introduction with the use of freeze frames in this beginner Adobe Premiere Pro tutorial.

Introduction Freeze Frame effect in premiere pro

Do you know the police series ‘Brooklyn Nine Nine’? Or the movie ‘Rock n Rolla’? Well both used a specific effect for their character introductions. And I did the same last year when I made an aftermovie for a Belgian artist named Safi who I went on tour with. It’s basically a freeze frame effect which most of the times is made in Adobe After Effects but I found a way to make it in Adobe Premiere Pro. It does have it’s limitations when you’re making it in Premiere but you can still make something really cool.

First off we need some shots of our characters and you can make these quite boring by letting them just look into the camera or you can let them do an action, which gives more dynamic to the intro.

Once you’ve got your shots, bring them intro Premiere Pro and the first thing that we’re going to do is freeze frame then. Which can be done by either right clicking and choosing frame hold or with the export frame button in the program monitor. From that exported frame you can save it as a png and import it into the project. Then we can use either Premiere Pro or Photoshop for the next step.

Photoshop method

In Premiere you can right click on the png in your project panel and select ‘edit in Photoshop’, this will bring you to Photoshop and from there you can mask the subject so it’s a seperate layer with a transparent background. Photoshop has some amazing tools to do this so if you have Adobe Photoshop I recommend using this.

Premiere Method

If you don’t have Adobe Photoshop you just have to select the layer in your timeline and use the pen tool from the opacity property in the effect controls panel to mask the subject. Take your time for this and make it as accurate as possible.

color matte background
Color matte background

Once our subject is masked out nest the layer and then it’s time to give our background some effects. Of course all of this is completely customizable but what I did was placing a color matte beneath the nested mask layer. Then I applied a ramp effect to it and blended it with the original color to give some more depth to the color matte.

Then we’re going to animate the nested layer with the transform effect. I just scaled and re-positioned the subject a bit. And to finalize the effect you can use extra elements in the background or add overlays or particles. Or a text layer with the name of the subject which you can also animate using the transform tool. Whenever you do this make sure to set the shutter angle to 180 degrees to get motion blur.

Final effect
Final effect

Learn after Effects

As I mentioned before, most of these type of effects are made with Adobe After Effects. Because with that software you have more controls over the effects. And you even have the ability to place your layers in 3D space. Now After Effects is a bit harder to master than Premiere Premiere so I recommend watching our beginner After Effects class on Skillshare. Even I have watched this class completely and learned a lot from it. So when you want to start with creating more (advanced) effects like this, make sure to check out our class. The first two months are completely for free so definitely worth it!

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