Looking for ways to crank up your footage? Here are four ways to use blending to turn normal shots into visual spectacles.

As a fan of Adult Swim’s Off The Air content and regular attendant of EDM festivals, I’ve always been a fan of colorful visuals and eclectic imagery. For some reason, watching normal footage that’s been cranked into a visual spectacle is oddly hypnotic, and it’s hard to turn away from.

So in researching how to recreate these effects, I found that they are perfect for pairing different shots and smashing them into one — as well as creating off-the-wall transitions that are sure to keep your audience stimulated.

Whether you are a DJ trying to make content to play during your sets or a music video creator looking for weird ways to match footage to your artist’s M.O., here are four ways to blend footage creatively.


1. Datamoshing

4 Trippy Ways Blend Footage in Your Video Projects — Datamoshing

If you’re a fan of A$AP Rocky, you may have seen his music video for “Yamborgini High,” which features the datamosh effect pretty heavily:

As you can see in the video, datamoshing is a process of purposely corrupting footage to make the pixels act strangely. In the past, you’d have to download an old video editor that would “accidentally” corrupt the footage, but luckily, there’s now an After Effects plug-in to help you datamosh in one click.

Follow the download instructions for the plugin, open After Effects, and drag two clips into your timeline next to each other. Open up the datamosh plugin, and it will prompt you with a few different options. You can choose from presets on a dropdown menu, or you can toy with the settings yourself. The Delta frame settings will create the “bloom” effect on your videos, and the I-frame settings will help pixels travel and track onto your next clip, creating the mosh effects you’re looking for.


2. Displacement Wipe

4 Trippy Ways Blend Footage in Your Video Projects — Displacement Wipe

This is a transition that our friend Todd created for After Effects (Thanks Todd). The displacement wipe ghosts luminant pixels into the next frame by using displacement maps.

To create this effect, drop two clips into your timeline, and overlap them by a few seconds. Drag the “displacement map” effect onto your top clip. Create a keyframe at the beginning of the overlap through the “vertical displacement” settings (we won’t be using horizontal displacement, so you can just set that to zero.) At the end of the overlap, create another keyframe and type in “5000” to the vertical displacement settings. Now, your footage will ghost trail into the next video. Add an opacity dissolve to the end to get rid of the hard cut-off.


3. Double Exposure

4 Trippy Ways Blend Footage in Your Video Projects — Double Exposure

You may have seen double exposure treatment in photography, but the only example I can think of for video is the intro for True Detective.

This opening sequence actually requires loads and loads of rotoscoping and blending, so I’m going to show you the easy way to create it in Premiere. First, take a clip that has a subject against a stark white background. Drag it onto your timeline — along with a visually interesting video to layer underneath. All you have to do from here is go to Opacity > Blend Mode > Screen. This will blend the two clips and reveal the bottom clip beneath the top subject, but not the white background.


4. Key Transition

4 Trippy Ways Blend Footage in Your Video Projects — Key Transition

This is an effect that I haven’t seen very often, but it turns boring footage into a trippy spectacular. To do this, take some video of an object with a solid color (sign, statue, dumpster, etc.). Bring the footage into Premiere, and place it onto your timeline over another visually interesting clip. To key out the desired color, just drag out the Ultra Key effect from the effects tab and drag it onto your video, then use the dropper to select the keyed color. And . . . that’s it! You can now see the bottom clip through the keyed color, giving your video an acid-trip feel that your can pair with a hue swap to create an otherworldly atmosphere.


Speaking Of Hue Swap . . .

Some of you might ask how I got the colors to change wildly during my video’s intro. To get this effect, use the “Change Color” effect in Premiere. Drop it onto your desired clip, select a vibrant color in your video, and key in a large change through your Hue settings. This will toggle the hue settings during your clip, creating that color-swapping effect you were looking for.


Looking for more video production tutorials? Check these out.