Do you enjoy the Strokes? No, not the band – I mean adding strokes to text, objects, etc so they have cool borders and what not. For as simple a thing as adding a stroke to something in Photoshop or After Effects, Premiere Pro (and DaVinci Resolve) make this seemingly easy task nearly impossible. So how do you add a stroke or a border to a video clip in Premiere Pro? The trick is using the effects you have in a new way to achieve the look you need. Nifty enough, this trick is ubiquitous for all other NLEs, including DaVinci Resolve.
The work around might have a few steps and not be as easily editable as adding strokes in Photoshop or After Effects, but it is possible to add a stroke to video clips in Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve. To do so, we utilize four duplicates of the drop shadow effect in a very specific way. Crank the opacity to 100%, change the direction of each effect to either 0, 90, 180, or 270 degrees, and then adjust the softness, distance, and color to taste.
I’m a big fan of DaVinci Resolve and this post was honestly inspired by a need to create these borders inside of that program. Using the same method from Premiere Pro yields the same colorful border results in Resolve.
Because this method utilizes drop shadows to make the stroke effect, it’s procedural, meaning if you place a crop effect before the drop shadow effects, the stroke around the video follows what’s been cropped. This even works with masks!
Because it can be rather annoying (and time-consuming) to drag and drop effects or copy/paste multiple iterations of an effect, I built a handy-dandy stroke preset for Premiere Pro. Unfortunately DaVinci Resolve doesn’t have the ability to save timeline effect presets yet, but maybe one day… Anyway, enjoy!