Easy ways to create glitch video effects

Glitch video effects have a long history in the tech world. The term itself originated from NASA engineers and astronaut John Glen as far back as 1962. It literally referred to a spike or change in voltage in an electrical current. Basically, if something had that distorted, electronic look, it usually met the criteria of glitch art. 

Glitch art today is simply video art that animators, filmmakers, videographers, video journalists and innovative video creators and editors use to intentionally modify and manipulate video content. The goal is to make it look grainy, staticky or electronically distorted. Because of the rising popularity of glitch effects in the last two decades, the art-form has found a lasting practice in the mainstream. In today’s groundbreaking and hi-tech market, gone is the need for old VCRs or hardware with technical issues to produce glitch art. Thanks to advancements in computer editing software, creative minds can make any video project a glitch art prize. Here’s how.

The basics

Firstly, there are various ways to give your video a glitch effect. It’s to your benefit to learn as many editing techniques as you can. Thus, you can make your projects pop. Experiment with as many techniques as you come across (since you never know when you might need them). Secondly, always challenge yourself to bring out the best in your projects and for your audience.

Creating your own DIY glitch effect is a simple process if you choose to go that route.

Creating your own DIY glitch effect is a simple process if you choose to go that route. Below, you’ll find one simple technique to start with. These instructions apply specifically to Adobe Premiere Pro. However, similar tools are available in most professional level editing software.

  1. After you place a video clip in the video track on the timeline, generate two copies of it and load them over the original clip.
  2. Navigate to the Effects panel and locate the Color Balance (RGB) effect and then apply that effect to all three copies of the clip.
  3. Go to the Effect Controls panel and turn the first clip to red, the second one to green and the third one to blue. To do this, simply level up the value of one color while leveling down to zero the other two colors.
  4. Then, change the Blend mode to Screen from the Effect Controls panel in each video clip.
  5. At this point, you can animate the video clips by adding keyframes to the motion properties. Place the mouse over the stopwatch icon and click next to the position option.
  6. Experiment with your animation until satisfied.

Other ways to create a glitch effect

In Premiere Pro

In his online YouTube tutorial, Austin Newman offers valuable insight into editing with Adobe Premiere Pro. Check it out here:

Photographer Peter Mckinnon reveals a reasonably uncomplicated way on YouTube on how to do it all in Adobe Premiere Pro without using additional plugins.

In a DIY sort of fashion, both videos show viewers how to duplicate, slice up, adjust color and animate frames of your video to give you a glitch effect in Premiere Pro.

In Filmora

However, if you want to add glitch effects without investing in pro software, Filmora9 makes the process quick and simple. All you need to do is import videos, add glitch effects and export:

  1. Create a new project and import all the footage you want to edit.
  2. Drag the video file to where you want to add a glitch effect onto the timeline.
  3. Next, choose a filter such as Chromatic Aberration or a TV Static overlay. Filmora offers filters like Static A and VHS Distortion as well as glitch pixels, glitch fuzz, glitch lines, glitch blocks or strong glitch.

In iMovie

Another option is making glitch effects in iMovie. The Mac video editing app allows users with even the most basic set of video editing skills to create glitch effects with ease.

  1. Place the video clip that you would like to add a glitch effect to in the timeline.
  2. Duplicate that clip using the Command+C and Command+V keyboard shortcuts.
  3. Make a series of cuts in the duplicate clip at the locations where you want the glitches to appear.
  4. Delete all the parts of the duplicate clip that you won’t be using.
  5. Click the Crop tool and position the rectangle over the portion of the shot you want to keep. iMovie will then magnify the precise area of the shot and reduce the opacity so that the overlaying video becomes somewhat transparent.
  6. Click on the Clip Filter Icon to start browsing through iMovie’s filter collection. Look for a filter that will allow you to make the colors in the video appear artificial to highlight the glitch. The filter you choose depends on the visual style of the glitch you’re trying to create. 

Plug-ins and templates for glitch video effects

While you can create convincing glitch effects on your own, it’s sometimes helpful to use a template, preset or plug-in to get a specific effect. You can also do this to simply reduce your workload.

On the Envato Elements website alone, there are tons of awe-inspiring screen glitch After Effects templates for digital distortion. One example is Glitch Intro, a retro, cinematic and easy to use glitch effect After Effects template. It includes a tutorial and no plugins are required. When you browse through the After Effects video distortion templates, you’ll find professional AE project files with the right style for your next video project.

Selling the glitch

In addition to editing the visual elements of your clip, you can also use sound effects to emphasize the glitch. Even though the glitch is not actually the result of a voltage spike or other malfunction, adding believable audio to your glitched clip will help sell the effect.

Final thoughts

Once you discover the editing app that’s right for you and your project, you’ll have a host of effects to choose from. The best part about exploring the vast options offered in glitch art is the fun of creating. Plus, there’s the indulgence and thrill of getting your work of art out there for the world to see.

Stephen Mandel Joseph
Stephen Mandel Josephhttps://studio.youtube.com/?utm_medium=redirect&utm_campaign=upgrade&u
Stephen Mandel Joseph is a published, professional writer and director of several Sci-Fi 3D animated shorts and a short drama film.

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