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Time-remapping is the process used in video to slow down or speed up time. And like many tools in After Effects, there are many different ways to remap time. For this video, I'm going to show you what I think is the most visual way to not only apply time-remapping, but to understand how it works. I want you to start off by double clicking the stairs high speed comp and then loading up a RAM preview. Just understanding the Preview panel for this video, I'm going to have from current time selected. That way I can jump around to different frames and load up a preview and it won't start back at the beginning of the comp.
Let's load up a RAM preview of a couple frames in this specific composition. After a few seconds have loaded, go ahead and press the Spacebar to begin playback. Now if you look in the Info panel, you can see that it's playing back in real time. But if you look in the Composition panel, it looks like our athlete's running in slow motion. I'm going to stop playback here for a second. The reason it looks like that is because, in essence, that's what was happening. We use the high speed camera to shoot this footage. So it shoots more than the average number of frames per second. Anytime you think you're going to need a slowed down footage Or do some heavy time-remapping.
You want to go ahead and try and shoot that footage with a high speed camera. Even if it just shoots double the number of frames, say 60 frames per second, that will still give you more frames to work with when it comes to slowing down the project. To better understand what I mean, you should think of it this way. If I had a dslr camera that shot 60 frames a second, and then I imported that footage into afterthoughts and told after effects, no it really was shot at 30 frames a second. What after effects is going to do is play it back at half the speed.
So in essence, you've already got slowed down footage. When you're re-mapping time, very rarely is it a problem to speed up your footage. The problem usually occurs when you try and slow it down. Let's double click on the board part composition here in the top of our Project panel. Now, let's load up a RAM preview here. You can see we've got some Go Pro footage that my friend Carl shot of Emily going through the snowboard park. Now as you can tell, it's handheld. But, even though it's a little shaky, it's still high enough quality for us to deal with here in after effects. So I'm going to press Spacebar to stop playback for a second. Now it just so happened that I stopped on the right frame, but I would like to add a freeze frame here.
So I'll have my friend Emily here in the snowboard come up and then pause for a second at three fifteen and then after the freeze frame we'll have a go ahead and snowboard through the rest of the scene. So lets move our current time indicator to frame three fifteen. To enable time-remapping, select layer 1 and go up under the Layer menu and go to Time > Enable Time Remapping. Two keyframes are automatically added at the start and end of your project. Now, if you want to add a key frame at a specific point in time, go ahead and position your current time indicator there.
And then click the diamond key frame button in between your key frame navigator buttons on the left end of your time line. Now that we've added a key frame in the middle of the timeline, let's open the Graph Editor by using a little known key command Shift+F3. This will toggle the Graph Editor on and off. Now, if we're looking at the Graph Editor, you can see we have a solid line, and now it's because it defaults to the speed graph. Now, it's going to play back at one second per second, because we haven't really remapped any time.
I want you to go to the second button from the left, and click on it, and change to the value graph. So go to edit value graph. Notice the angle of this line here is telling me that this footage is playing back in real time. If I click and drag down on the footage, the footage on the left is going to play back slower than real time. And the footage on the right is going to play back much more quickly. So, if I move my current time indicator to around, two seconds or a little before. I can let up a RAM preview and press the Spacebar here, and you can see, in the slow frames, it looks rather jittery. Now, its doing this because the footage was shot at 2997 frames a second, but, if you slow it down, much slower than that 29.97. It has to basically stretch out the length of each frame. There aren't enough frames to blend them together to give us a nice slow motion effect, so I'm going to press the Spacebar and stop playback and press Cmd+Z on the Mac, Ctrl+Z on Windows to undo.
Now, what if I want to add that freeze frame and then have her ride off through the rest of the park? I can quickly and easily do that by getting out of the Graph Editor and making sure I have the last two keyframes selected. I'm going to click and draw a lasso around both, and then click and drag on one of them. Now, as I drag out to the right, let's drag it to around 4:15, and I can see what frame because it's in the Info panel there. I'm just going to draw a lasso around this frame one more time. Because that'll deselect both key frames. And just select that one key frame.
Now I can press Cmd+C to copy and Cmd+V to paste. Same thing with Windows, it's just Control instead of Command. Now if I go back to around two seconds and load up the ramp preview, you can see my footage actually goes up. And pauses and then continues on through the rest of the ride. It's doing something funny right now and that's just because it's not playing back in real time. You should always double check the Info panel, if you think something's not playing back the right way. In this example, we've frozen our footage. Now we could easily add a slow down just before that freeze frame by going back into my Graph Editor and that's what we'll do.
I'm going to press the Spacebar to stop playback and open the Graph Editor and here I'll draw a lasso just around that first freeze key frame and then let's click the easy ease in button, the second one from the right on the bottom. When I click that, I'll get this pull out handle. Now if I load up a RAM preview starting at two seconds, you'll see, it kind of slows down a couple of frames before it stops. And thats because, again, it slowing down to such a slow frame rate, it doesn't have enough to keep playing back.
So, i just going to press the Spacebar to stop playback, and what you need to do is just click and drag on the handle and hold down shift after begin to drag. Let's shorten that slow-down significantly. Now if we load up a RAM preview, you can see that the board comes up and then pauses and then continues on. That did a pretty good job. Now, on occasion, you'll have instances where this still isn't quite good enough. If you press the Spacebar to pause playback here, I want to go ahead and go up under the layer menu and show you another setting.
It's called frame blending. Now a new slowdown footage, After Effects has a couple different ways that it can try and make up the frames in between, and that's frame blending. So if you've got footage that's really jittery and you need it to actually not be quite so jittery go to your frame blending and choose at least frame mix. Pixel notion's going to give you the highest quality frame blending. But sometimes it doesn't work so well with footage that has a decent amount of motion blur in it. Now if you're unfamiliar with motion blur, I'm going to go ahead and double click this kick comp. The kick comp has footage that we shot with a high speed camera but as we scrub through, you'll see there's a lot of motion blur on her foot because she was moving very quickly, and the camera was moving very quickly. See the motion blur on the ball before the ball ever moved. I would never want to use frame blending with pixel motion on this layer. If I needed to use frame blending for this layer, I would select the layer and go up under Layer, go to Frame Blending, and choose Frame Mix. At least that way you'll have a better chance at a successful blending of frames. So when you think about time remapping the devil is in the details. If you think you want to slow something down try to rent a high speed camera that shoots a high number of frames a second, even if it's a dslr camera that can shoot 60 frames a second.
The more number of frames your camera can shoot a second the better your slow motion footage is going to look because you'll have more frames to work with. Now, if your footage wasn't high speed, and you still have to slow down the footage, remember, you can always go up to the layer menu and adjust the frame blending. Just remember, pixel motion's going to give you the highest quality, but it's going to take the longest to render. And frame mix may be slightly lower quality, but it'll be faster to work with. And using frame mix, will generally give you a better result on footage that has a lot of motion blur.
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