While a wide array of factors go into giving films from different eras their distinctive atmospheres and aesthetics, arguably the most defining characteristic of films over time are their video qualities.

That being said, video quality has changed a lot over time and people have become increasingly aware of these different aesthetics. Whether it be a silent film or a home video played on a VHS player, anyone can tell the difference between videos from different time periods based on their own distinctive visual qualities.

In this tutorial, I will show you an easy way to make your video look like films from various time periods using Kapwing. Let’s get started!

  1. Upload Your Video or Start with a Template
  2. Make Your Video Look Like a Film
  3. Download and Share Your Video!

Step 1: Upload Your Video or Start with a Template

Whether you are new to Kapwing or have used Kapwing in the past,  you can upload your video by launching the Kapwing website in your browser and then clicking Start Editing or New Content.

You can then choose to start with a blank canvas or simply upload your video.

A screenshot showing the upload options in the Kapwing Editor

To upload your video, you can either select Click to Upload to select the file or drag and drop the file directly onto the Click to Upload rectangle.

You can also paste a link from websites like YouTube, TikTok, or Twitch to import your media into Kapwing or bring your video directly from Google Drive or Google Photos.

Once your video has been uploaded, you can preview and edit it as needed using Kapwing’s built-in video editing features.

Instead of starting from scratch, you can also simply choose from various ready-to-use templates courtesy of Kapwing:

Film Template:

A GIF showing an example of the Film Template on Kapwing

VHS Template:

A GIF showing an example of the VHS Template on Kapwing

Old Fashioned TV Template:

A GIF showing an example of the Old Fashioned TV Template on Kapwing

Step 2: Make Your Video Look Like a Film

Now that your video is in the Kapwing Studio, you can begin making edits to make it look like a film. Here are several techniques, effects, and filters you can try to give your video a film effect.

Removing Color

One way to make your video look vintage is to make it sepia tone or black and white. To fully remove color from your video, click on your video, select the Adjust button located under Video on the right side of studio, and drag the Saturation slider all the way to the left.

A screenshot showing how to remove color from a video in the Kapwing Editor

To manually create a sepia-toned video, click Elements on the left side of the studio, choose a rectangle under Shapes, and adjust it so that it fits over your video. Then, change its color to any shade of brown and lower its opacity to somewhere between 20% and 50% using the “+” and “-” symbols for best results.

A screenshot showing how produce a rectangle in the Kapwing Editor
A screenshot showing how to produce a sepia-tone effect in the Kapwing Editor

You can also give your video a 60’s aesthetic by reducing its saturation and increasing its brightness by about half, adding some blur, and a mostly transparent yellow filter.

If you don’t feel comfortable adjusting any sliders, you can alternatively choose a filter by selecting the Adjust button located under Video, clicking on the Filters tab, choosing from the various black and white filter options like Maxwell, Moose, and Grayscale or simply choose the Sepia filter, and then pressing the red Apply Filter button in the bottom right.

A screenshot showing how to add a sepia-tone filter in the Kapwing Editor

Flicker Effect

To give your video an old-fashioned look, you can add a TV-style animation. To do this, click the Images tab on the left side of the studio and search for terms like “Static GIF”, “Film GIF”, or “VHS GIF”. This will allow you to choose from various animations from the web to add to your video.

Once you’ve selected your desired animation/GIF, simply click on it to add it to your timeline. Next, adjust the length of the animation to ensure that it continues throughout the entirety of your video. If needed, you can reduce the Opacity (or transparency) of the new animation layer by clicking on it, going to the Edit tab on the right side of the studio, pressing the Adjust button under the Image header, and moving the Opacity slider to the left as needed. I recommend starting the slider at around 20% and adjusting from there.

Old-Fashioned Text

In case you need to make any text layers seem old-fashioned, Kapwing’s animation library has a Flicker effect that you can use to add to your video’s film aesthetic.

First, click on the Text tab on the left side of the studio, select Add Text, and choose or upload a font that best fits your video’s style. Then, in the top right of the studio, click the Animate tab and choose the Flicker animation to make the text look like a flickering flame.

Step 3: Download and Share Your Video!

Once you’re satisfied with your video’s added film aesthetic, you can download your video by either clicking on the green Export Video button located on the top right of your workspace or selecting the drop down arrow directly to its right to export it as a specific file format.

A screenshot showing how to export a video in the Kapwing Editor

After rendering, you can share your video using the provided links or you can download the file to publish it directly to any desired platform. If you would like to make any changes, you can easily go back into your workspace and make any edits as needed.

A screenshot showing how to download or directly share a video from the Kapwing Editor

If you have any feedback about Kapwing or the Kapwing Studio feel free to let us know! For more tips and tutorials on creating great digital content in 2021, check back in at the Kapwing Resources page, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or read through some articles related to different filters and effects: