Speed Up or Slow Down Video Clips With Premiere Pro CS6

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Introduction to Adobe Premiere Pro CS6

Like other nonlinear video editing systems, Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 makes it possible to quickly execute video and audio effects that would have taken hours to complete in the days of analog media. Changing the speed of clips is a basic video effect that can add drama or humor and professionalism to the tone of your piece.

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Getting Started With a Project

To get started, open up a Premiere Pro project and make sure the scratch disks are set to the correct location by going to Project > Project Settings > Scratch Disks.

Open the Clip Speed/Duration window in Premiere Pro by right-clicking on a clip in the timeline or by going to Clip > Speed/Duration in the main menu bar.

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The Clip Speed/Duration Window

The Clip Speed/Duration window has two main controls: speed and duration. These controls are linked by Premiere Pro's default settings, indicated by the chain icon to the right of the controls. When you change the speed of a linked clip, the duration of the clip also changes to compensate for the adjustment. For example, if you change the speed of a clip to 50 percent, the duration of the new clip is half that of the original. The same goes for changing the duration of a clip. If you shorten the duration of a clip, the speed of the clip increases so that the same scene is presented in a shorter amount of time.

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Unlinking Speed and Duration

You can unlink the speed and duration functions by clicking on the chain icon. This allows you to change the speed of a clip while keeping the duration of the clip the same and vice versa. If you increase the speed without changing the duration, more visual information from the clip is added to the sequence without affecting its location in the timeline.

Since it's common in video editing to choose the in and out points of clips based on the story you want to show your viewers, best practices recommend leaving the speed and duration functions linked so you don't add unnecessary footage or remove essential footage from a project.

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Additional Settings

The Clip Speed/Duration window has three additional settings: Reverse Speed, Maintain Audio Pitch and Ripple Edit, Shifting Trailing Clips.

  • Reverse Speed lets you present your clip backwards, so that the in and out points are flipped.
  • Maintain Audio Pitch keeps the audio track the same even if you change the speed or duration of the video. Checking this box is a good way to prevent ambient tones from increasing or decreasing in pitch.
  • Ripple Edit, Shifting Trailing Clips allows you to change the duration of a clip and adjust the following clips in the sequence to compensate for this change. If you don't select this option, a clip with increased duration cuts off the head of the subsequent clip, and a clip with decreased duration is followed by black frames where the tail of the clip used to be.
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Variable Speed Adjustment

In addition to changing speed and duration with the Clip Speed/Duration window, you can adjust speed variably. With a variable speed adjustment, the speed of the clip changes throughout the clip duration. To adjust speed variably, Premiere Pro has a feature called Time Remapping. You'll find the Time Remapping function in the Effect Controls tab of the Source window.

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Time Remapping With Premiere Pro CS6

To use Time Remapping, queue the playhead in the Sequence panel to where you want to make a speed adjustment. Then:

  • Double-click on the clip to open it in the Source panel.
  • Go to the Effects tab, and find Time Remapping under the Video Effects section.
  • Add a keyframe to the clip by clicking on the diamond icon. This marks the location for the beginning of the speed adjustment.
  • Play through the clip in the Sequence panel to where you want to end the speed adjustment and add another keyframe.
  • Drag the second keyframe forward or backward to adjust the speed of the clip you've just selected. By changing the clip duration, you automatically change the playback speed.