Premiere Pro: Change Clip Speed
There are also several places you can change speeds – keyboard shortcuts, menus, the Timeline, and Effect Controls. This article illustrates all of them, but not all the possible permutations; feel free to experiment.
Creating still frames is not as simple as doing so in Final Cut Pro, but, as long as you don’t move your playhead, it isn’t hard.
For instance, here is a clip of two tigers playing. I want to freeze this to add a graphic describing the tigers. Here’s how:
- Park your playhead on the frame you want to freeze in either the Source or Program monitors.
- Click the icon for Export Frame in the toolbar under the monitor containing the frame you want to freeze. (It looks like a small camera.) Or, type Shift+E.
- Give the file a name and select a format. I prefer to use either TIFF or PNG when working with still images.
- Click the Browse button to select a location to store the file. While still frames take very little space, I tend to keep them organized in a single folder related to that project, because it is so easy for them to get lost.
- Select File > Import, navigate to and select the still frame you just exported. Click Import to import the still frame into the Project panel.
- Load the still frame into the Source monitor and mark it with an In and Out for the duration you need.
- Click the Insert button to edit the still frame into the Timeline at the position of the playhead.
As long as you don’t move the playhead from the moment you export the still frame until the moment you edit it back into the Timeline, this process will create a seamless edit between the clip and the still frame.
An Insert edit freezes the action, then allows it to resume where it left off. An overwrite edit replaces media at the point of a freeze frame. This would be appropriate when you want a freeze frame to stop the action, then fade to black at the end of scene before the start of the next scene.
NOTE: You can also do this in the Timeline and the Effect Controls panel, I’ll talk about both later in this article.
CONSTANT SPEED CHANGES
NOTE: This is the traditional way to do a constant speed change. I’ll show you two other cool ways to do this a little later in this article.
To change the speed of the entire clip by the same amount, select the clip and choose Clip > Speed / Duration (or type: Command+R).
This opens the Clip Speed / Duration dialog window.
- Either enter the speed change as a percentage (here, I’m using 50%), or as a duration.
- If you want the clip to run backwards, check the Reverse Speed checkbox
- If you want the audio pitch shifted so it sounds the same as the original clip, check the Maintain Audio Pitch checkbox.
- Check Ripple Edit if you want to play every frame from the In to the Out. This will change the duration of the clip in the Timeline. If you need the duration to remain the same, uncheck Ripple Edit. However, this will play fewer source frames if you slow the clip, and more source frames if you speed the clip.
You can’t have this both ways, either the duration of the clip changes, or the number of frames displayed changes.
NOTE: To change or reset the settings a clip with speed changes, select the clip and choose Clip > Speed / Duration. You can change the speed of a clip as often as you want; in all cases, Premiere refers back to the source media on the hard disk as the starting point for changes.
It isn’t obvious, but you can do a fit to fill edit in Premiere. This is where the speed of a clip in the Source monitor is changed to fill the duration indicated by an In and Out in the Timeline. Here’s how:
- Set an In and Out in the Timeline indicating the duration you want the new clip to fill.
- Open the clip you want to insert into that duration from the Project panel into the Source monitor. Mark the region of the clip you want to add to the Timeline using an In and Out. (This creates what’s called a “four-point edit.”
- Click either the Overwrite or Insert edit buttons.
- If the durations don’t match, the Fit Clip dialog appears, asking what you want to do. To create a Fit to Fill edit, select the top radio button. (Other options allow you to determine which of the four edit points should be ignored to create this edit.)
VARIABLE SPEED CHANGE
Learning how to do variable speed changes also provides additional techniques we can use to create constant speed changes and still frames.
Edit the clip you want to adjust into the Timeline. Right-mouse-click the words Opacity in the header of the clip, and switch the rubber-band display from opacity to Time Remapping > Speed.
The yellow horizontal line displayed in the middle of the clip, now controls clip speed. To apply a constant speed change to a clip, drag this line up (to speed a clip) or down (to slow a clip). In this case, I’m slowing the speed of the entire clip to 65% of normal speed.
NOTE: As you change the speed of the clip, the duration also changes. If you need to freeze the duration of a clip, use the Clip > Speed/Duration dialog discussed earlier.
To vary the speed of the clip, we need to use keyframes.
Press the Command key to set a Time Remap keyframe. These are unlike any other keyframes in Premiere, because we only need one keyframe to change the speed of a clip.
Here, I added a Time keyframe, and raised the yellow line before the keyframe to 120% speed. Then, I dragged the yellow line after the keyframe down to 40%. The clip will play faster than normal before the keyframe and slower than normal after the keyframe. The speed change is instantaneous.
To ramp the speed from one speed to the other, drag the right side of the keyframe to the right. This creates a ramp between the two speed sections.
To ramp down to a still frame, drag the two halves of the keyframe apart, then drag the right side of the time remap line down to 1%. This slows the clip during playback to a still frame. (If you want the clip to freeze instantly, don’t separate the keyframes.)
You can add as many Time Remap keyframes as the duration of your clip will support.
You can also make speed changes – both constant and variable – in Effect Controls > Time Remapping.
Set keyframes using the Add/Remove Keyframes button. Navigate between keyframes using the small left- and right-pointing arrows. Adjust keyframes by splitting them as you would do in the Timeline.
Drag the white line up or down to change speeds.
NOTE: To reset a clip to normal speed, click the stopwatch icon next to the word Speed in the Time Remapping section. This displays a dialog box where you can delete all keyframes and reset the clip to normal.
There are a wide variety of ways to changes clip speeds in Premiere Pro CS6. I am especially impressed with how easy it is to set speed ramps between keyframes.
Take a few minutes to experiment on your own and discover what more speed can do for you.