How to Create Beautiful Video Overlays

Video overlays are the best. We love this trick so much because it unlocks unlimited creativity in video editing.

Now you can discover this magic yourself. With this technique, you have the power to:

  • overlay videos, pictures, texts or other elements on another video and vice versa;
  • mix two or more pieces of footage into one composition;
  • create an overlay for a selected area in a video.

And that's just scratching the surface! In this tutorial you’ll find out everything you need to master this fantastic feature and learn how to create beautiful video overlays in VSDC Video Editor.

What is an Overlay

Overlays are some elements that you add on top of your original footage, often referred to as picture-in-picture effect. However, the options are unlimited: these elements can be shapes, images, texts or other videos. In other words, these are elements incorporated on top of existing footage so that they play simultaneously to produce an original effect. You can layer videos and images in different configurations: position them one over another, place side by side or even diagonally on the same scene. You can also adjust the opacity level for each file, which means an image can serve as a half-transparent layer placed over a video – or vice versa.

Overlay’s Importance

Overlays can serve any purpose depending on what effect you need to achieve. They can be used as filters over a video to create a stunning effect, create a specific atmosphere in your footage or set some particular mood by adding romantic, creepy or mysterious elements.

Mastering overlays is one of the basic techniques, a must-know skill for every aspiring video creator that opens up unlimited video editing possibilities, ensuring every video project is polished and sophisticated.

Different Types of Video Overlay Effects

There are so many techniques that you can use to create overlays, from blurring backgrounds for a soft focus effect to incorporating gradients, natural elements, or tinted overlays, the right technique can transform the visual appeal of your footage.

Here are some popular ones:

  • Enriching your footage with atmospheric effects like snowfall, rain, or lens flares to create a special atmosphere;
  • Embedding text into your video to convey messages or emphasize points, making them stand out;
  • Overlaying just some parts of a video to draw attention or create contrast;
  • Introducing overlays of light or color effects to enhance the visual mood;
  • Securing your content with a watermark;
  • …and much more!

Each of these methods falls under the broad category of overlays, expanding the horizon of what you can achieve in video editing.

How to Add an Overlay

Now, when it comes to the technical side of the process, overlaying videos is incredibly straightforward. First, ensure you’ve downloaded VSDC Video Editor – a free video editing software for Windows. Then, follow these simple steps depending on what effect you want to achieve:

Method 1: Basic overlaying

  1. Start with creating a new project using the Blank project button on the start screen. Adjust project settings in the appeared window (if necessary) and click Finish.
  2. Add your video files by dragging and dropping them onto the scene from the file explorer.
  3. Position your videos on the timeline, placing them on separate layers, one above the other. This setup serves as the foundation for overlaying, allowing you to experiment with various effects, such as:

    Applying transitions

    When you arrange the files on the timeline such that the beginning of one video overlaps the end of another, you create a place for a transition. Learn how we achieve the crossfade effect, and for detailed instructions on creating transitions, refer to our video guide.

    Creating a side-by-side effect

    If videos are layered one atop another on the timeline, they naturally overlap. However, by resizing one video on the scene and then the other, ensuring they do not overlap, you can view two videos simultaneously, creating a side by side effect.

    Making a picture-in-picture effect

    Using a similar approach, you can create a picture-in-picture effect. The key difference is that you leave one of the files at the size of the entire scene while positioning the second one atop, making it appear smaller.

    Overlaying text on a video

    Overlays can be created not only with media files, but also with objects and texts. Watch our video guides to discover how to add text to your video and place it on top or insert subtitles.

Method 2: Blending Mode

This method of creating overlays is also to be considered. Unlike the first one, this technique doesn't rely on layering files directly on the timeline but instead utilizes additional options to achieve the desired effect. For this, follow these steps:

  1. Add your video file to the scene, just as described in the previous method. Double-click on it on the timeline and add your overlay video to the scene by dragging and dropping it from the file explorer.
  2. Move to the left side of the timeline and open the Blend menu. Select Screen and watch how two files get blended.
  3. Navigate to the Tools section on the Ribbon on the Editor tab and click on the wrench icon. Now your overlay is ready for editing: adjust the opacity level if you want to make it more transparent.
  4. At this point, you can set your creative spirit free and start playing with the settings. For example, you may want to layer the effect partially or make the overlay gradually disappear. You may also use other blending modes to edit your overlay or follow some of our creative ideas presented below.

Creative Ideas for Using Overlays in VSDC

For your inspiration, here’s a list of what you can do in VSDC, when it comes to overlaying:

What Makes Overlay Video so Popular?

Video overlays have gained so much popularity since they are able to transform ordinary footage into captivating, professional-looking content. They offer creative freedom and flexibility, allowing to merge different elements — text, images, and special effects — seamlessly with the main video. This not only enhances the aesthetic appeal and engagement of the video but also makes the storytelling more immersive. Overlays are easy to apply and are available in the majority of video editing programs, enabling creators of all skill levels to experiment and innovate, further propelling their popularity in video production.


If you are looking for a standout yet simple technique to enhance your video projects and make them captivating, overlaying is the best. Ready to put it into practice? Then go ahead – download VSDC, a few overlay videos to experiment with, and let your creativity take over.



Why would I use video overlays?

Use text overlays to highlight key points and convey some additional information efficiently or create a stunning effect and make a unique atmosphere in your footage.

What types of overlays can I create in VSDC?

VSDC offers a wide set of basic and advanced tools to effortlessly create good quality overlays of any complexity. Whether you're looking to incorporate text, images, or special effects, VSDC has you covered. Just check out our YouTube channel to find inspiration and tutorials that meet your needs.

How do I control the timing and placement of my overlays?

Controlling the timing and placement of your overlays in VSDC is intuitive and flexible. When working with the timeline in VSDC, you can easily scale it, customize and use various buttons for quick and precise navigation. To learn more about all the timeline features, check out our comprehensive guide.