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Speeding up or slowing down clips in Final Cut Pro is nothing new, but the way they've re-designed retiming a clip makes it a lot more elegant. Let's step inside the Retiming project and take a look at how it our works. I've only put three clips in my timeline because I really want you to focus on retiming the clip without having to be bothered by all the other clips and finding the exact location. The clip that we're going to work with is this center clip, broll_dance_rehearsal. I actually put three clips in the timeline, because I want you to see how the clips are rounded or affected when you speed up or slow down the middle clip.
Now if I want to do a time change to this clip, I could use the keyboard shortcut Command+R. I'll go over here to the drop-down menu and use one of the defaults. Now at first blush, it looks like I can only slow a clip down to a defined percentage of 50%, 25%, or 10%, and speeding up, again I'm limited to four options. This is not the case. Let's take a look how speed retiming works in Final Cut Pro X. The first thing you want to do is switch from your regular Selection tool to your Range Selection tool.
And in this clip as I skim over, I think it would be really neat if as the girl leaps in the air, I can slow that down. So using the Range Selection tool, I'm going to select the exact part of the clip where she leaps and lands. With this part selected, I'll go back over to my Speed pull-down menu and switch it over to 50%. As you see, it immediately slows down just that section, pushing the rest of the timeline further downstream. Let's go ahead and play that and see how it looks.
I'd like that, but I want it to be a little bit slower. I'm going to zoom in so you can see the detail here, and you see that it says 50%. Well, my presets are 50%, 25%, and 10%, none of which I want, but don't let that worry you. If you go over here to this widget, I can click and drag to the left or right, slowing it down precisely to the amount that I want. I think 30% would work perfectly. Let's go ahead and playback the video.
Perfect! Now something else to keep in mind is that it automatically doesn't ease in and ease out on your speed change. You can also speed up a section of a clip. Once again, use your Range tool to select part of a clip. I can go over here and speed this up to 2x, and what I want you to notice is that when something is sped up, it's a blue line. When something is slowed down, it's orange, and when it's at its original speed, it's green.
Let's go ahead and play this back. Now another great feature of Final Cut Pro X is what if I actually miss the key point where I wanted some action to happen? Well, if I try to move this right or left, all it does is speed it up or slow it down. But when you go to this drop down, in addition to being able to slow it down or speed it up right within the clip, I can change the End Source Frame. And what you'll see is a small film clip that I can move left and right and I can say precisely where I want that 100% to stop and the speeding up to start.
Now there's one more really cool feature that I'd like to show you in Final Cut Pro X. I have this great Slow-Mo of doing the leap, but wouldn't it be nice if I could repeat that? Once again with the Range tool selected, I'm going to grab that area of my video. With this area selected, I can go back down and I can choose something called Instant Replay. Now let's hit Shift+Z so you can see the whole line. When I play that, she does the leap and for those who've missed it on the East Coast, here it is again for those on the West Coast.
There's one last thing I want to talk to you about speed change, and that's quality. When you slow a clip down, there are several ways that you can get those extra frames. One is to repeat them. The other is to do frame blending. Well, you can actually choose within Final Cut Pro the Video Quality for each clip that you speed up or slow down. Normal will just repeat frames and that could look a little bit jumpy or a little bit staccato. Most of the time you want to choose Frame Blending and this will give you a smoother slow motion.
But if you really want beautiful slow motion, you can do it right here within the application. In the previous version of Final Cut, Final Cut 7, you would actually have to send your clip to Motion, apply Optical Flow, and then send it back. No more! Now if I want the quality of Optical Flow, well, Final Cut will actually look at the vectors and direction the pixels are traveling and create new pixels and images. I can do it right here within the context of the application. Now granted, it has to analyze the clip first, and you'll notice in your Viewer window it'll say Analyzing for optical flow. Don't worry! This isn't going to stop you from editing. Go ahead and keep editing.
And once it finishes the analysis, when you render, your slow-mos will be flawless. Now slow motion and speeding up is one thing, but something that we do a lot when editing is the freeze frame. And if you search for the Freeze Frame button or the Freeze Frame pull-down menu, you won't find it in Final Cut Pro X. That's because they're doing it a little bit differently. They're calling it a Hold Frame, and Hold Frames can be applied in a couple of ways. So we can focus on this third clip, I'm going to press Command+Plus and zoom in.
I'm going to skim over to the frame that I want to freeze and then click on the image to move my playhead to that position. Now I'm going to scroll over to the right to give you a better view. Once I decided on the frame that I wanted to freeze, I go to my Retiming pull-down window and simply press Hold. What you'll see is at that point in time, I now have a hold frame of the little girl. let's go ahead and hit Play and see how that works.
Now if I want the hold to be longer or shorter, just like before I can grab the edge and stretch it out longer or shorter. I'm going to press Shift+Z so we can actually see the end of our clip. If I want just the hold frame, make sure that you grab the right edge below the green line and pull it to the left. If you wanted to start in the hold, do the same thing from the beginning and you can tighten it up. If I need this hold to last longer, I simply grab the Widget and pull to the right.
And now I have a freeze frame that plays as long as I need. It may take a few minutes to get used to this whole new paradigm of speeding up and slowing down the clip. But as you can see, once you get used to it, it's way more robust than Final Cut Pro 7.
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