Change the pace with slow-motion video.

Learn more about high frame rate captures and their effects on the speed of your video. And keep your viewers on their toes with slow-motion effects.

Take it slow.

Change speeds, both literally and figuratively, in your next project with slow-motion effects. The opposite of fast motion, slo-mo gives the illusion of time slowing down in your footage. This is achieved when you record your work at a high frame rate, then play it back at a normal speed. In essence, you show more of what’s going on — what your eyes can’t see in real time.

 

“It usually creates more of a dramatic, emotional feeling,” says videographer Josh Flom.

 

It can also create tension, like with an explosion in an action movie. It can make your work more cinematic. Or you can add motion where there is none with a quick slo-mo video pan across scenes. Whatever the case may be, discover what you need to add slow-motion video FX to your filmmaking toolbox.

 

What you need for a slow-motion video.

Before you go out to shoot, revisit the fundamentals of frame rate. The standard frame rate for video is 24fps (frames per second). You’ll need to record your work at higher frame rates like 50 or 60fps to ensure smooth playback at slower speeds.

 

“If I shoot 60 frames per second, I can slow it down to 40% speed,” videographer Chris Printz says.

 

The higher the frame rate, the slower the footage will be. Like Samsung and Sony, most video cameras have the capability to film past the normal playback speed of 24fps, with even newer models of iPhone able to capture up to 120fps. Whatever you use to obtain your footage with, do a test run. You won’t be able to change frame rate in post-production, so make sure your video camera’s settings are to your liking.

A person capturing a slow-motion video on top of a snow-covered mountain

Open the shutters.

If you want realistic-looking footage, you’ll need to make your shutter speed twice your frame rate, at least. This accounts for motion blur, an optical effect that appears due to quick movement and makes objects look blurry or out of focus.

 

“Anything less than double, you’re going to get choppy footage,” says Printz.

 

Point your camera at a light source and film for a period of time to see what your footage will look like beforehand. If you see banding, flickering, or strobing of the light through your viewfinder, adjust your shutter speed accordingly.

 

Change your bitrate.

If you plan to shoot only in slo-mo, be conscious of the storage it will take up on your video camera.

 

“60 frames per second means you’re taking 60 pictures every second. It doesn’t mean you’re getting more quality; you’re just getting more frames, so it’s going to be much more storage. It’s also more data-intensive on your processor when you’re editing, so make sure you’re conscious of that with your SD cards or other storage,” Flom adds.

 

At a shoot, if you can predict when there will be a break in the dramatic moments, like at a sporting event or wedding, change speeds from slo-mo to standard 24fps to save some space on your camera.


Storage on your computer isn’t the most vital piece for video post-production, as the footage usually resides on an external hard drive, which then talks to your video editing software as you refine your work. A terabyte of local storage should be enough to be able to make renders or proxy files of high-quality video clips.

Ramp it up.

Use varied speeds to keep slo-mo interesting. This is where speed ramping comes in. For example, if you show a couple running in a field, you would want to show a few seconds where they run at normal speed, then slow it down, and then speed it back up.

 

“Slo-mo looks better when it’s paired with normal speed,” Printz says.

 

Keep your viewers engaged by not relying on slo-mo too much. Add other techniques like fast motion and time-lapse to make your projects unique.

 

Consider if your slo-mo scene has audio in it. Slowed down audio has a much deeper, drawn-out tone that “doesn’t sound good,” says Printz. Unless you need it for the piece, it’s not necessary. Both Adobe Premiere Pro and Premiere Rush let you mute or separate audio from video tracks to avoid hearing warped voices.

The Adobe Premiere Pro Effects menu superimposed over an image of a snowboarder doing a trick
Adobe Premiere Pro

Slow it down with the pros.

The powerful tools in Premiere Pro help you edit slow-motion videos faster and polish both your audio and video files. Easily cut excess noise or add advanced video effects and color grading. And if your footage came out “wobbly” due to movement, use the Rolling Shutter repair feature to set it straight.

Image of editing a video on a mobile phone using Adobe Premiere Rush superimposed over an image of a snowboarder going down a hill
Adobe Premiere Rush

Slow it down on the go.

If you’re in a rush and still need to make edits, take your work with you with mobile video editor Premiere Rush. Pick up where you left off with cloud integration, which lets you work wherever you are. Slow it down or speed it up with intuitive, user-friendly video speed controls designed to dazzle time and time again. And once you’re finished, post your premiere to your favorite social channels, from anywhere.

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