Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Adjusting playback speed, part of iMovie for iOS Essential Training.
iMovie gives you options for increasing or decreasing the speed at which clips playback which can be useful when you need to slow down an especially quick or brief clip to show detail or to speed up a TDS clip to make time pass faster. Adjusting the speed of clips can also produce both dramatic or comedic effects depending on the clips you apply them to. Start by selecting the clip in your timeline that you want to slow down. For this example, I'll look in the media browser. And I find this long shot of me running across a field, and I'll place that at the end of the project. Let's watch it once in real time.
So, that's not a particularly interesting shot. So, let's play around with the speed a little bit. To do this I'll select it. Which again opens the menu at the bottom of the screen. I'll make sure Video is selected, and then I'll tap Speed. That gives us this slider we can use to either slow down or speed up the clip. The turtle represents the slow motion side, and the rabbit represents the fast motion side. Now, I should also mention here that the range of the speed slider is going to depend on which iOS device you're using. Older iOS devices can only slow down footage, and the fastest you'll be able to go is in real time. Newer iOS devices, like the one I'm using here, the iPad Air, support up to two times the original speed.
So, I'll drag the slider all the way to two times the original speed. You can see that significantly shortens the clip, and now when I play it back. Suddenly, I'm sprinting across the field. Now, notice a little rabbit icon is overlaid on top of the clip in the timeline. That indicates that the clip is faster than its original speed. It's just a visual reminder that you've changed the speed of the clip. If I open up the speed controls again, and I drag the slider to the left. Once I go beyond the one time or original speed, the icon becomes a turtle, showing me that I've slowed down the clip. And if you set the clip to the one time or real time speed, the icon disappears.
Now, when you're playing around with the speed, bear in mind that slowing it down or speeding it up also slows down or speeds up the audio in the clip. If I go back to select the opening clip where I'm talking and I slow it down to, say, half the original speed. When I play it back, I now sound like this Now, if that's the effect you want, that's great. But iMovie does give you the ability to preserve the pitch of the clip's audio when you adjust the speed.
Just tap the Settings button down here, and turn off speed changes pitch. >> Hey, this is the Bernheisal road entrance to the is the Appalachian Trail. >> So, now I just sound very sleepy. Now, the effect isn't going to be perfect and how well it works depends on how drastically you've sped up or slowed down the clip. It's also more noticeable when you're dealing with vocals, but under the right circumstances, if you're just slightly adjusting the speed, your viewers might not even notice the change. Now lastly, I want to talk a little bit about the effects of slowing down content. Generally speaking, most video footage is shot at roughly 30 frames per second.
That means for every second of footage, 30 frames appear on screen. And that produces a smooth looking motion that most people are accustomed to. When you apply slow motion to your video clips, what you're doing is reducing the number of different frames that appear each second. Some frames are repeated, so time is stretched out and you get a slow motion effect. But the overall effect looks much choppier than real time video play back at 100% the original speed. Now, there are specialized cameras out there that shoot at faster speeds like 60 frames per second to 120 frames per second and even faster. For example, the iPhone 5S can shoot video at 120 frame per second.
If you have an iPhone 5S or later, you might have played around with its slow motion capabilities. You've seen that the slow motion looks smooth, because it has four times the amount of frames per second as regular video. Now, when you import iPhone footage into an iMovie event, you won't see the slow motion effect when the clip is in the browser. I have a clip here that was shot on an iPhone 5S using the slow motion camera. So, here in the browser, it plays in real time. If I scroll to the end, I'll tap the arrow button to add it to my project. But when I add it to my project, notice we see the turtle icon indicating that the clip has been slowed down.
Now, let's play the clip. Now, it's probably hard to tell by watching it here, but the slow motion looks a lot smoother here than slow motion applied to regular 30 frames per second clips. But that's all I really wanted to point out with this. Some people wonder why slow motion looks so choppy when they play it back. And the answer is the lower frame rate. But with high speed cameras, you have more frames to work with so you get smoother slow motion. I should also mention here that you don't have to apply slow motion to the entire clip. If you only want to slow down a section of the clip, just split the clip where you want the speed change to occur. For example, I'll place a play head at the point right before the cards spring out of my hand.
And I'll split the clip here. Next I'll go to where I want the slow motion to stop. And once again I'll split the clip. Now, I'll select just this middle portion, go to my speed controls, and notice here that it's set to one quarter of the original speed. That's the speed I want it to be. But, for the beginning and end clips, I'll select them, and set them back to real time. And now, it looks like this. Okay, so there you have the many options available for adjusting the speed of your clips in iMovie.
- Shooting with the built-in cameras
- Importing footage from other sources
- Adding clips to a project
- Trimming, splitting, and rotating clips
- Adjusting transitions between clips
- Adding still photos and titles
- Adding sound effects or background music
- Fading audio clips
- Adjusting playback speed
- Backing up a movie with iTunes