Need to add a slow motion sequence to your project? Learn how to slow down your footage in Premiere Pro with this helpful tutorial.

Top image via Shutterstock.

Whether you’re working on an action film or wedding footage, there are many reasons why you might want to slow down footage in Premiere Pro. In this helpful step-by-step Premiere Pro tutorial, we’ll show you how to do it.

Step 1: Select Your Clip

How to Slow Down Video in Premiere Pro — Select Clip

The first thing you will need to do is select the clip you want to slow down in Premiere Pro. Footage shot at a higher frame rate is better suited for slo-mo. It’s also advantageous to shoot in frame rates that are directly divisible by at least half of your intended frame rate. For example, if you are working with a 24 fps composition, try to shoot in 240 fps, 120 fps or 60 fps to keep the slo-mo footage consistent.

Step 2: Adjust the Rate

There are two distinctly different ways to change the duration of your footage in Premiere Pro. The Rate Stretch Tool and the Speed/Duration menu.

The Rate Stretch Tool

  • Pros: quick and easy to use
  • Cons: imprecise frame rates, can lead to awkward drop-frames

How to Slow Down Video in Premiere Pro — Rate Stretch

You can select the rate stretch tool from the toolbar or simply hit the R key on your keyboard. To use the Rate Stretch tool, simply grab the end of your clip. The Clip will automatically extend to fit the duration of the new clip. While the Rate Stretch Tool is a completely adequate way to change the duration of your clip, be aware that the Rate Stretch Tool is imprecise. Clips that you slow down using the rate stretch tool are highly susceptible to dropped frames and awkward chopping.

Speed/Duration Setting

  • Pros: highly precise, reverse speed option, pitch preserving option for audio
  • Cons: takes a few seconds longer to use

How to Slow Down Video in Premiere Pro — Speed Duration

Alternatively, you can use the Speed/Duration settings to adjust the speed of your clip. To use this feature, simply right click on the clip you wish to adjust and select Speed/Duration from the pop-up menu. A second menu screen will pop up. You can adjust the settings by hand from this menu.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the menu settings.

How to Slow Down Video in Premiere Pro — Settings

  • Speed: How slow your newly timed clip will be compared to the original. A 50% speed setting will create a clip that is twice as slow.
  • Duration: The actual duration of the new clip. You can manually adjust the duration of the new clip down to the frame from this menu setting.
  • Reverse Speed: Reverses the clip.
  • Maintain Audio Pitch: Keeps audio levels consistent when slowing down audio clips. This will keep your subject from sounding like a chipmunk or James Earl Jones.
  • Ripple Edit, Shifting Trailing Clips: When you select this checkbox, your new clip will push adjacent clips forward in the timeline to accommodate the new clip duration.
  • Time Interpolation: (See Step 3).

Step 3: Adjust Time Interpolation

How to Slow Down Video in Premiere Pro — Time Interpolation

Once your clip has changed duration, there’s one more setting that you need to take a look at: Time Interpolation. Time Interpolation relates to how Premiere Pro will interpret your newly slowed footage. To adjust the Time Interpolation, you can either right click on your clip and access the Time Interpolation menu, or you can find Time Interpolation in the Speed/Duration menu listed above. Here’s a breakdown of the three settings.

  • Frame Sampling (Default Option): Frame sampling is the default option in Premiere Pro. Frame Sampling will not create any new frames. Instead, current frames will extend to accommodate the new clip duration.
  • Frame Blending: Frame Blending, as the name implies, will cross dissolve two frames together, depending on the duration of the clip.
  • Optical Flow: Optical Flow is the most advanced way to slow down footage in Premiere. Optical Flow analyzes your footage and creates completely new frames based on the original clip. Optical Flow is best suited for clips shot on a tripod.

That’s all there is to it. Once you have retimed your clip,  you can easily preview it by hitting the spacebar. If you want to download a free video clip from our friends at Shutterstock to test out the speed options in Premiere Pro, simply hit the download button below.

Download Free Video Clip


Want to learn more about Premiere Pro or Video Editing? Check out the rest of the blog here on RocketStock.