If you film a video clip today, you can use video editing techniques to date the footage and make it look historical. These artistic effects transport your viewers to a different era and setting. If you apply the old fashioned effects to a modern clip, it can also make for a funny/weird contrast that makes your viewer look twice. In this post, I’ll share how you make your video look vintage using a free online video editor.

Effects

Fade

Adding a semi-opaque overlay to your video can make the footage seem much older. A fade dulls and smooths the edges of the people and things in the video, which is more representative of old cameras.  

  • How: To add a fade, open Kapwing’s Filters and upload or your video clip. Click on the “Adjust” tab to increase or decrease the fade. 

Vignette

Vignettes mimic the darkness and periphery blur of vintage film development. 19th and 20th century photographs often have a distinct vignette caused by the dark room process and the poor optics typical of retro cameras.

  • How:  To add a vignette around the edges of a video clip, use Kapwing’s Filters and upload or your video. Click on the “Adjust” tab to increase or decrease the vignette. 

Letterboxing

Old movies were filmed with a widescreen aspect ratio. To make your video look more like old fashioned film, add a black border on the top and bottom edge of your video clip. This technique emulates the mattes that were added to film when they were transferred to a standard-width format. 

Screenshot from an example letterboxed video
  • How: Resize your video to add black padding above and below before publishing it. 

Old fashion music or sound effects

There are certain sound effects that we recognize from old films like the scratch of a record player or a jolly-sounding orchestra that remind people of old movies. Merge these selectively into your video’s soundtrack for a vintage tone.

  • How: Browse YouTube for some music or sounds you want to add, then download them as an MP3. Then, merge it with your video clip on Kapwing’s Add Music to Video tool. 


Intro: Append in a film countdown intro to start off your video. These film leaders helped cinemas set their projectors to the reel’s beginning, so starting off your video with a similar scene gives it a vintage cinematic tone.

  • How: You can use a simple montage maker to append the intro to your video clip. Just import a countdown YouTube clip like this one by copy/pasting the URL and merge it with your uploaded MP4. 

Filters

Black and white

Removing the color from your video takes it back to pre-1940s when colorized film became popular. Use the grayscale filter to zap the color out of your video without adding contrast. Grayscale is more serious and somber than Sepia

  • How: Grayscale is one of the custom filters in the Kapwing Filter library. Upload your video and experiment with different black-and-white options to create your colorless MP4. 

Sepia

Sepia’s warm, brown tint resembles the pigmentation of  vintage photos. By adding a sepia filter to a video, you remind them of nostalgic memories and the passage of time. Sepia works well for low-contrast videos because it doesn’t flatten the lighting.

  • How: Sepia is one of the custom filters in the Kapwing Filter library. Upload your video and add a sepia gradient to age your video clip.
Made with the letterbox technique and the sepia filter