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Slow motion is an easy effect to use, but when should we use it?  Should we use it to make otherwise bland footage look cool?  Should we do it in order to pad the length of our production?  Like many things in video, slow motion can be used with creative purpose, but when is the "right time" to use it?  Slow motion conveys a certain emotion, a heightened sense of drama.  So while you might just be doing it to make it look cool, know that the effect has certain connotations that the viewer may interpret differently.  Today, we're going to cover how to do this effect in iMovie and Adobe Premiere CS6.

How to Create Slow Motion and Why to Use It

Slow motion is used to heighten drama, in addition to making the scene look cool.

In iMovie:

  • Select a clip in your timeline.
  • Click "Clip" in the top menu.
  • There is an option for "Slow Motion."  Now all you have to do is figure out if you want 50, 25, or 10 percent.

Those aren't the only options.  You can also select the clip, then:

  • Click the "i" icon just above the timeline to open the inspector window.
  • In the inspector window, you can change the duration to anything you desire.

In Premiere:

  • For standard slow motion, right-click the clip in the timeline.
  • Select "Speed/Duration."
  • You can either change the percentage of the speed, or select a certain duration that you want.
  • You can also use "reverse clip speed" to maintain the pitch of the audio, but you probably don't want to mess with that.
  • With the "ripple edit" tool, you can tell Premiere to push the trailing clips back so that it will make room for the clips you are making longer.
  • Press "OK" and you will have slow motion.

Bonus Slow Motion Trick!

This only works for "overcranked" footage, or footage shot at a higher frame rate than it will be played back.

  • In Premiere, you can right click on the clips you would like to play in slow motion.
  • Click "Modify."
  • Click "Interpret Footage."
  • This gives you some options.  You want, "Use Frame Rate from File."
  • When you put the clip on the timeline with a lower frame rate, it will have more frames to achieve a more natural slow motion look.

Want an example of how slow motion can create drama?  Take a look at this awesome video:

If you want to do a video with some fast motion, there's a video for that.

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