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In this video tutorial, learn how to create the beautiful titles in the trailer for Dunkirk in both Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X.

Top image via Shutterstock. 

The titles in the Dunkirk trailers and posters are simple and elegant. It’s easy to create this see-through text effect in any NLE. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create these transparent titles in Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X. The Premiere tutorial requires a few extra steps to get it to look right, but the FCPX effect is as simple as changing the blending mode.

Let’s get started so you can see how easy it is.

If you want to use the exact clips I licensed from Shutterstock, and the music from PremiumBeat, you can find them here:

  • “The Remaining” by Emmett Cooke from PremiumBeat
  • Boat Clip by contributor Greg Brave from Shutterstock Footage
  • Wave Footage by contributor Serega K Photo and Video from Shutterstock Footage

How to Create Dunkirk Titles in Premiere Pro

1. Add background footage to the sequence

Using footage of waves will create the exact effect, but you can really use any type of footage to create this look. Import your footage into Premiere and place it on the V1 layer of your sequence.

2. Use the Text Tool to create titles in the Graphics workspace

Open the Graphics workspace and click the on the text tool. Add the name of your titles and place the text above the area of frame you want to see. If you want a certain part of the frame to appear through your text, make sure you place the text on top of the area you want to see.

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Adjust the font, size, weight, etc. to your preference.

3. Move the titles onto the V3 timeline layer and duplicate the video background layer on V2

Back in the Editing workspace, grab the title layer and move it up to V3. Extend the length of the graphic to match the length of your clip. Duplicate the video layer on V1 to V2 — you can easily do so by holding down Option on a Mac (Alt on PC) and dragging the clip from V1 onto V2.

4. Add the Track Matte Key effect to the video clip on V2

Go to the Effects tab and add a Track Matte Key to the video clip on V2.

5. Change the Track Matte Key matte to Video 3

Open the Effects Controls and change the matte under Track Matte Key from None to Video 3.

6. Hide or delete the background video clip on V1

Your text may seem to disappear, but that’s okay. You now need to hide or delete the clip on V1. Once you do so, your titles will now appear as see-through graphics on a black screen.


Instead of hiding or deleting the video on V1, you can also shorten the length of the clip on V1 and add a fade to black after a second or two. That will then reveal your titles.

7. Adjust the position of V2

If you want to center your text, adjust the Position of the video clip on V2. This will correspond with the position of the titles themselves.

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How to Create Dunkirk Titles in Final Cut Pro X

1. Add your footage to the timeline

Drop the background video clip onto the timeline.

2. Add a Basic Title

Open the Text tools tab and add the Basic Title to your timeline. Extend the length to match the length of the clip.

Then adjust the font, size, and tracking to your preference.

3. Open the Video Inspector

Click the Video Inspector icon in the top right corner of Final Cut Pro.

4. Change the Blend Mode to Stencil Alpha

Go the the blend mode, and simply change the mode to Stencil Alpha.

Interested in recreating more movie titles? Check out these other great tutorials and articles:

  • Create a Glow Warp Title Transition Inspired by Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok
  • Create an Animated Title Inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Create Suspenseful “Split” Horror Titles in After Effects
  • How to Create the “Tomorrowland” Titles in After Effects
  • Create “Star Trek: Beyond”-Inspired Titles in After Effects
  • How to Craft Epic Hollywood-Style Movie Titles
  • 9 Quick and Easy Title Hacks for Videos

Do you have tips for creating Hollywood-inspired titles? Let us know in the comments.


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