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Have you ever watched a video online and marveled at the cool timing of a shot as it speeds up and slows down in perfect rhythm to the music?
You might think this is a simple slow-motion effect, but it’s actually a slightly different technique called speed ramping.
Speed ramping is a technique used to adjust the speed of your clip, to speed up and then slow down your shots to create a unique cinematic effect (like mentioned above).
Sometimes referred to as The Matrix effect, you can use speed ramping to move between fast motion and slow motion with ease, and even edit the rate of transition between the two speeds, choosing between a smooth and gradual slowdown or a quick and instantaneous switch.
Today we’re going to teach you how to use speed ramping effects depending on which of the three main editing software options we recommend you use: Premiere, Davinci, or Final Cut Pro.
Let’s dive in!
Speed ramping for Adobe Premiere.
Speed ramping, also known as time remapping in Adobe Premiere Pro, is useful for switching between super-fast footage and super-slow footage, creating a unique effect.
Thankfully, the Youtuber Tech Infusion, who produces useful tutorials for filmmakers, motion graphic artists, and video editors, created a very easy to follow video on how to use speed ramping in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Check it out below or read our helpful recap to help you implement it yourself.
As Tech Infusion points out, the speed ramping process in Premier is pretty simple. It goes like this:
- Right-click the clip you want to speed up or slow down, and select the Time remapping option, then click Speed.
- Drag the video clip out so the clip is tall enough on your timeline to see the time remapping keyframes (it appears as a straight line). You can then drag the line upwards to speed up the clip, or downwards to slow it down.
- When you want to set a keyframe, simply drag the playhead to the spot you want to start the speed ramping, then click the little diamond to the left of the clip to set a keyframe. Drag your playhead to the part of the clip where you want the speed ramp to stop, then set another keyframe.
- With your two keyframes set, you can drag the bar up or down to speed the clip up or slow it down. Keep in mind, as you slow down the clip, the clip itself will get longer, so make sure you don’t have any other clips placed too close to the one you are mapping.
- Once you have mapped the section you want to speed up or slow down, you can drag the handles on your keyframe to “ramp” the time change effect gradually.
- The further you drag out the handles, the more the transition slopes, with longer inclines happening more gradually and shorter inclines happening more abruptly.
Speed ramping for Davinci Resolve.
To add a speed ramping effect to your footage when editing in Davinci Resolve, we found this video by Youtuber MrAlexTech to be very helpful. Check it out below, as well as our short recap.
To speed ramp in Davinci Resolve, MrAlexTech recommends:
- Selecting your clip and selecting the Retime controls option (you can also use the shortcut Control + R). Now a speed change filter will overlay your clip on the timeline.
- Move your playhead to the moment you want to start your speed ramp, and once placed, click the drop-down on the overlay next to the 100% (which indicates the speed of your clip) and select the option to Add speed point.
- Every time you add a speed point, you are creating two separate clips that you can adjust the speed of separately. As MrAlexTech points out, if you want to create one section that is fast and one is slow, you section them off with multiple speed points.
- Once you have set all your speed points to create your separate clips, click the drop-down again and select the option to change speed, then set the percentage you want the clip to play at. If you want faster, choose a higher percentage; slower, choose a lower percent.
- You can also manually adjust the length of your speed points by dragging the lower handle on the speed point, or manually adjust the speed of your speed points by dragging the upper handle.
- If you want to add a gradual fade between your speed points, you can left-click your video clip and select the option Retime curve. You will be looking at a window called Retime Frame, so click the retime frame dropdown and check it off. Check Retime speed instead, then adjust the keyframes to add a slope/fade to your speed ramps.
Speed ramping for Final Cut Pro.
Another popular editing software is Final Cut Pro, and thankfully Youtuber Tech Talk America put together this video on how to speed ramp using the Mac-based software.
Check it out, as well as our recap, below.
Here’s what David Cox from Tech Talk America recommends for speed ramping in Final Cut Pro:
- Similar to using Davinci Resolve, you can start a speed ramp on any clip by selecting the clip in your timeline and pressing the shortcut Shift + B. This will create a speed ramp overlay on your clip.
- Instead of adding keyframes to your clip, in order to create separate speed ramp frames, move the playhead to the end of the clip you want to adjust the speed of and press Shift + B again. This will create two separate speed ramp frames to adjust separately.
- To adjust the speed of your separate clips, click the dropdown next to the speed percentage (default is 100%) and choose either the Fast or Slow option. If you select fast, you can pick between speeding the clip up by 2x to 20x faster as a starting point, then drag the handles of the clip to speed up or slow down from there.
- You are also able to adjust the gradual slope/fade of the speed ramp by dragging the handles of the gray bars that act as transitions between your clips of varying speeds. You can drag them closer to shorten the transitions or drag them further away to make the transition more gradual.
- If you want to change the placement of the speed ramp effect itself, double click the gray bar handle that appears between clips and select the option called Source frame: edit. You can then drag and adjust the length of the different clips themselves if need be.
Speed ramping in context.
For more about speed ramping and when you might want to use it in your videos, check out our longer article on How to Edit Slow Motion Footage here.
Grant Harvey is a freelance writer, screenwriter, and filmmaker based out of Los Angeles. When he’s not working on his own feature-length screenplays and television pilots, Grant uses his passion and experience in film and videography to help others learn the tools, strategies, and equipment needed to create high-quality videos as a filmmaker of any skill level.