Plenty of projects call for slow-motion, but doing it well takes planning and preparation. Here is the right way to pull off slo-mo in Final Cut Pro X.

Top image via Shutterstock.

Ideally, good slow-motion video begins during production — or even pre-production. If you try to slow down footage that you recorded at a low frame rate, it will appear choppy. So, when recording a segment you intend to slow down in post-production, set your camera to a higher frame rate, like 60 fps, 120 fps, or 240 fps. Further, make sure you use plenty of light so your slow-motion video won’t appear darker than the rest of your footage.

Step 1: Select the Retime Pop-up Menu

Slow Down Footage in Final Cut Pro X — Retime

Underneath the preview window, you’ll see a speedometer icon with a dropdown option. This is called the Retime Pop-Up menu. You’ll see a variety of options, and you can set the clip speed at 50%, 25%, or 10%. Final Cut Pro X also allows you to set a custom speed in order to accurately reflect the frame rate you used during recording.

Step 2: Apply Custom Speed

Slow Down Footage in Final Cut Pro X — Speed

Setting the appropriate speed is really up to you. Just know that if set your speed to 50%, the clip will play at 50% of the normal speed, so it will last twice as long. If you’re slowing down a clip that’s right in the middle of your timeline, FCPX offers the Ripple option, which allows users to slow only a single clip instead of the entire project.

Step 3: Using the Ripple

Slow Down Footage in Final Cut Pro X — Ripple

By unchecking the Ripple box, the clip will no longer cut at the same mark. It will, however, keep the following clip in the same position in your timeline. Deciding whether or not to include the Ripple depends on the content of your footage and the context of the slow-motion clip. Keep in mind that the audio linked to the clip will also slow down. In the Retime pop-up menu, you can select Preserve Pitch to keep the audio at the original level.

The Retime pop-up menu offers several more ways to alter the time and speed of your clip, like Reverse Clip, Speed Ramp, and Instant Replay. To play around with the many capabilities with clip speed and clip reversal, download a free video clip from our friends at Shutterstock to test out the features before diving into your next heavy edit.

Download Free Video Clip


Want to know more about Final Cut Pro X? Check out RocketStock’s blog for more quick editing tips