Adjustment layers in Premiere Pro from Adobe are a very popular and handy tool to use for video editing. Most of the time you will use an adjustment layer in Adobe Premiere Pro to apply the same effect to multiple clips on your timeline. All the effects applied to an adjustment layer affect all layers below it in the layer stacking order. I use adjustment layers in Premiere most of the time for a letterbox (cinematic black bars) or color grading.
In this blog, you will read everything about using adjustment layers in Premiere Pro. So you will learn where to find them, how you need to add them, and what kind of effects you can use them for. The great thing about adjustment layers in Premiere Pro is you can use combinations of effects on a single layer. It is also possible to use multiple adjustment layers to control more effects. Premiere Pro adjustment layers are similar to the adjustments layers in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects. However, in this article, I will only explain the process to use them in Adobe Premiere Pro.

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How to create adjustment layers in Premiere Pro?

Before adding effects to it, you need to create the adjustment layer. There is no limit to the number of adjustment layers you can use for your project.

1: Select File > New > Adjustment Layer or click “New Item” in your project panel > adjustment layer.
2: Confirm the settings which will automatically be set to the same as your sequence, so click OK.
3: Rename the new adjustment layer in your project panel by double click on it or right-click > rename. I always choose the name of the effect I want to apply, like “cinematic black bars” or “color grade”.

How to add an adjustment layer to your sequence?

1: Select the adjustment layer in your project panel.
2: Drag and drop it into a video track of your timeline, making sure it’s placed above any video clip you wish to add effects to. Add extra video tracks when needed.
3: Bring your cursor to the end of the Adjustment Layer and drag it to the end of the video clip(s) to cover the whole area you want to apply the effects.

Watch the video to see how to create an Adjustment Layer and drag it into your timeline.

How to add a Lumetri color effect to an adjustment layer in Premiere Pro?

For this step, I will cover how to add a Lumetri color effect to the adjustment layer and how to add different video effects to it.

1: Highlight the adjustment layer in your sequence by selecting it.
2: Open your Lumetri color panel in Adobe Premiere Pro
3: Make the desired color adjustments. Or apply a LUT if you have them.

How to add a video effect to an adjustment layer in Premiere Pro?

I mentioned before that I often use an adjustment layer for creating a letterbox (cinematic black bars). With these cinematic black bars, you can adjust your aspect ratio to get a widescreen known from cinemas. The following steps s apply to each video effect you want to add to an adjustment later in Premiere Pro.

1: Select the adjustment layer in your sequence to highlight it.
2: Navigate to the “Effects” in your Project panel and search for your chosen effect. In my case, I chose “crop”.
3: Select and drag the effect to the adjustment layer in your sequence.
4: Navigate to the “effects controls” in your effect control panel to change the settings of the effect you applied. In my case, I adjust the values of the crop top and bottom percentages to create the desired aspect ratio of my clip.

Watch the video to see how to add a color grade or effect to your adjustment layer.

How to save an adjustment layer in Premiere Pro?

There can be several reasons why you want to save an adjustment layer. For example, in my case, I can use the created letterbox for other projects. Adobe Premiere Pro offers the possibility to save your adjustment layer effects as a preset. This present will appear in your effect panel where you can find them for a new project.

1: Select the adjustment layer in the sequence where you want to save the effects from.
2: Navigate to the effects control panel and select all the effects you want to include in your preset. Hold command (Apple) or control (windows) to select more than one effect.
3: Right-click and select “save preset”.
4: Name your preset and click save.
5: You will find the saved preset in your effects panel (project panel). From there you can drag and drop the preset to any other clip or adjustment layer.

Watch the video to see how to save an effect from an adjustment layer.

Use adjustment layers for the right scenarios

There are some scenarios where the use of an adjustment layer will not be the most efficient way. For example, in the case you want to use adjustment layers in Premiere Pro for color grading to apply the same color effect for all video clips. This is only efficient when your footage consists of shots taken at the same location with the same lighting. If not, each clip requires slightly different settings and an adjustment layer is not as helpful when the footage is quite the same in terms of lighting.

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Do you want to learn more?

I hope you learned a lot about how to create an adjustment layer in Adobe Premiere Pro.  If you still have any questions don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section!

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Do you need more information about Adobe Premiere Pro? Read my other blogs with Adobe Premiere Pro tutorials!

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HOW TO CROP A VIDEO IN PREMIERE PRO

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Time remapping in PREMIERE PRO l How to make a SPEED RAMP