Using Adjustment Layers in Adobe Premiere Pro

If you need to apply an effect to multiple clips at once, an adjustment layer can really come in handy. Experienced After Effects or Photoshop users may already be familiar with the technology which makes its debut in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6.

The concept is simple, you create a new specialty layer that can hold effects and sit above other video tracks. Everything beneath the adjustment layer will be processed by the effect. Adjustment layers can have their trim handles and opacity modified to further refine the effect and its placement. An adjustment layer is often easier to modify since it is a single effect, rather than multiple instances applied to several clips.


To use an adjustment layer, follow these steps.

  1. Click the New Item button at the bottom of the project panel and choose Adjustment Layer. Click OK to create the adjustment layer to match the dimensions of the current sequence.
  2. Locate the new adjustment layer that was added to your project. You can rename it or move it to a bin to make it easier to track.
  3. Drag the Adjustment layer to a higher track in the timeline. Trim its handles to cover just the portion of clips you want to affect.
  4. With the adjustment layer selected, drag an effect on to it from the Effects Browser (or simply double-click the effect).
  5. Adjust the effect using the Effect Controls panel.


  • Be Sure to Blend – Blending an adjustment layer can significantly change the behavior of an effect. This is a great way to create new looks from existing plug-ins.
  • Color Grade Approach – One way to grade color is to combine adjustment layers with standard effects. Use essential color correction techniques to neutralize and issues with individual clips. Then use an adjustment layer across the entire scene to grade or stylize. This makes it easier to iterate different looks or refine an adjustment.

Be sure to pick up the new edition of:
An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro