When and When Not to Use Vignettes

▶ Notify Me!

Be notified of the next Videography and Video Editing Free Training Videos, including resources and checklists... Enter your email...

Join 636 other subscribers.

Don’t destroy your video with special effects. Here’s a guide to using vignettes for the right purpose.

First, what’s a vignette?

  • A vignette is a visual effect used to frame a subject.
  • The word vignette is derived from the word vine.
  • In the old days , books are decorated with a pattern of vines around the edge.

What’s vignette in videography?

  • A gradient of color around the edges of a scene.

When to use black vignettes?

  • Emphasize a subject, especially in complex backgrounds, where the subject is not prominent.
  • Add a sense of drama, something of a nostalgia effect.
  • Even out a scene with one side looking too dark.

When to use white vignettes?

  • Add a sense of space, giving a more positive and open feel.
  • Works better in scenes that are already bright, like in outdoor daylight. It also works well in scenes with low color saturation and uncluttered background.
  • Even out a scene with one side looking too bright, like a lens flare.

When not to use vignette?

  • Do not use vignette if it has the opposite effect and if it de-emphasizes interesting details.

How to use vignettes the right way?

  • Do not add dark vignettes on top of overexposed areas, because it will give a gray tone instead of a darker tone.
  • Do not use the same smooth oval-shaped vignette in every scene.
  • If the subject is off-centre, shape the vignette so it’s off-centre.
  • Do not make the corners black.
  • It should be subtle and not in your face.


Feel free to comment and ask questions.

Adrian Lee
Camera and Video Editing Training



Leave a comment / Ask a question