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February 12, 2013
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PremiereTutorialsVideo Editing

Creating Beautiful Slow Motion in Adobe Premiere Pro

Slow-motion video can be very beautiful if used correctly. In this post, we’ll take an in-depth look at creating smooth slow-motion from 60p video in Premiere Pro.

Adobe Premiere Pro Slow Motion

Don’t make the mistake of slowing down standard frame rate video for slow motion.  It’ll look choppy and make you look like a total amateur.

Instead, to make smooth slow-mo, you’ll need to shoot your footage at a high frame rate and then play back your footage at a lower frame rate in your video editing app. Most DSLR’s have the capability to shoot 720p at 60 frames-per-second (fps). Shooting at 60 fps gives you the ability to play back your footage at a slower fps like 24 fps. So, in essence, your footage will be played back perfectly smooth with every frame accounted for at 40% speed. Still with me?  Good.

Take a look at this video shot completely in 60p and slowed down to 40%. Notice how there is no frame blending or skipping in the slow-mo:

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to create a similar effect by conforming 60p footage to 24p in Premiere Pro. Unlike other video editing applications that make it complicated to get smooth slow-mo, it is really simple to create slow-motion in Premiere Pro.

There are 2 ways to slow down your 60p video in Premiere Pro…

Technique #1 – Slow down in your timeline

This one is simple and straightforward. Create a 24p sequence.

Premiere-Pro-24p-sequence

Place a 60p clip in your 24p timeline.

Premiere-Pro-slow-motion-timeline

Right click the clip and make sure frame blending is OFF.

Premiere-Pro-Frame-Blend-unchecked

Right click the clip and go to “Speed/Duration” (⌘R).

Premiere-Pro-Speed-Duration

Set your speed to 40%.

Premiere Pro Speed change to 40%

NOTE: If you are working in a different frame rate other than 24 fps, you will have to determine your speed by dividing your destination frame rate by your clip’s frame rate. Ex: 24/60=.4

Now you footage is in smooth slow-motion. You’ll notice that every frame is played back and there is no frame blending. Beautiful!

Technique #2 – Re-interpret frame rate

This is the way I usually conform 60p clips into slow-mo. This is also a good way to make multiple clips slow-mo in one simple step. This will make the selected clips in your bin slow-motion, so if you want to keep your original 100% speed clips in your project, you’ll want to duplicate them before doing this.

Select your clips in your bin that you want to make slow-mo.

Premiere Pro close motion clips selected

Right click and select “Modify>Interpret Footage.”

Premiere Pro Interpret footage

Select “Assume this frame rate” and set the value to your timeline’s frame rate.

Premiere-Pro-Assume-framerate

Done. Now, all the selected clips will play back in slow-mo. Pretty neat.

By using these simple techniques, using 60p video to create slow-motion in Premiere Pro is super easy. Slow-motion footage is a great way to add emotion and style to any video project.

Got Premiere Pro tips to share?
Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Steven Peterson

    If I use 720p 60fps video for my slow-mo shots and use 1080p 24fps for my interview clips (for example), how can I use the 720p footage w/o stretching/scaling it? Will I have to export the entire video to 720p? Should I just invest in a camera that can handle 1080p 60fps?

    • http://www.cineblur.com Brent Pierce

      Hey Steven, what I usually do is simply scale up the 720p footage to 1080p in your timeline to match the rest of your interview clips. That way, your exported video will be 1080p.

      But, if your output video is only going to be streamed via the internet (Vimeo, Youtube), then there really is no need to export to 1080p, as Vimeo and Youtube compress your video and usually only playback as 720p anyways. So, if you are worried about loosing quality in your 720p clips, you might as well scale your 1080p footage down to 720p so you don’t loose quality in your footage.

      But again, I usually just scale my 720p clips up.

      I wouldn’t worry about investing in a 1080p 60fps camera; they can be pretty pricey.

      • Steven Peterson

        Won’t the slow-mo shots look a little fuzzy? Maybe I’m just over-reacting. I’ve never scaled up any of my footage. Never had a reason. I’ll go make a reason and then try it out. Maybe a proper tutorial on scaling up footage is in order?

        • http://www.cineblur.com Brent Pierce

          Yes, it will loose a bit of quality, but probably not hugely noticeable, especially if it will only be played on an internet stream.

          If you are REALLY worried about loosing quality, just make your timeline 720p and scale down your 1080p footage.

          • Steven Peterson

            I could get away with shooting the entire thing in 720P then. Fits more footage on a card. I could take any shot and make it into a smooth slow-mo. No scaling required. Interesting.

          • John Young

            Steven. Be aware that 60p footage has a very ‘video-y’ look to it. It doesn’t have that cinematic motion blur that 24p footage has. Do some test shooting and put 24p footage right beside 60p footage and you will see what I mean.

          • Steven Peterson

            hmm…while we’re on the video-y vs film look topic. When I shoot an interview, should I shoot in 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps? I mean, it’s not for a film or anything…more of a pre-wedding talking head I guess. I love 24fps to death, but I’m finding myself using it just to use it. I know Brent does a lot of church gigs. If you’re reading this, how do you choose what format to use? Is it situational, or do you use 24fps a lot too? Anyone can chime in. The more the better!

          • http://www.cineblur.com Brent Pierce

            That is a GREAT question that would be a good blog post.
            I use whatever the situation calls for. In interviews, most of the time I will shoot in 30p. For anything that I want to be cinematic, I will shoot 24p.

          • George Kalogeris

            Hi, can I invest in a DSLR (like Sony A77) which records in 1080/50p (I live in EU) and get everything in that format?
            Then, when cinematic look is needed, somehow I could remove half of the frames (one out of every two) and get the same result as I was filming in 1080/25p ?

          • http://www.cineblur.com Brent Pierce

            Technically, yes. But, it’s always smart to shoot in the desired framerate, instead of converting it in post. By shooting it in 25p, your shutter speed will be accurate to actual 25p footage, instead of 50p.
            And, it’ll save you the trouble of changing settings in post.
            The only reason I ever shoot in higher fps is to slow it down in post.

          • George Kalogeris

            Correct, except you don’t know which footage will look awesome in slo-mo.
            If have everything in 25p , I can never have50p.
            If I have everything in 50p, I can choose later
            E.g. when I send other shooter on behalf of me!

            Really what’s the problem of using 50speed when shooting 50p ?

          • http://www.cineblur.com Brent Pierce

            I guess it all comes down to personal preferences. You’ll barely notice a difference between the two, but it will be there.
            The normal shutter speed for 50p is 1/100th, which creates less motion blur than 25p (1/50th)

          • Lorn

            I’m working on an animation project and have a couple of shots that would be in slow motion, how would I go about doing this in premiere. It will be animated in After Effects at 30fps. Would I use the same math formula you’ve posted?

          • William Mease

            I shoot my interviews in 1080p intended for a timeline of 720p so that I create a Close-Up and Medium Shot at the same time. Both remain high quality.

  • http://twitter.com/DARKWINGpro Darkwing Productions

    One other thing to keep in mind, you need more light to shoot in 60fps, because you usually want to try shoot at a shutter speed equal to twice your frame rate, which in this case would be 1/120. I shoot a lot of sports, and although I would love to use my 720×60 mode more often for the smooth slow-mo it can produce, but I find that the lighting often isn’t sufficient.

    When it comes to 24fps vs 30fps, I tend to go with 24fps if I need a tad more light (1/48 vs 1/60). It’s not a huge difference, but when you’re in a pinch, every little bit helps. I find you can barely notice the difference between 24fps and 30fps unless you’re dealing with a fast moving subject.

    • lsauer

      Exactly. And thanks for mentioning that. After all going from a shutter exposure of 1/60s to 1/30s is a full f-stop.
      Doing frame interpolation with a good algorithm, for a few slow motion scenes, often beats finding and buying special lenses that yield another f-stop.
      Those 6 frames, when going from 30fps to 24fps translates to 20% light exposure. As you said @darkwingproductions:disqus, that should not be neglected. Cheers!

  • YML

    Hello, first of all thanks, this is really useful. Say I wanted to (and this may sound a little crazy), I wanted to film 60 seconds of video and slow it down to become an hour of footage (for an art project), are there any realistic methods of doing this without using expensive equipment?

    • http://www.cineblur.com Brent Pierce

      To film in SUPER slow-mo, you’d have to rent a really expensive Phantom camera. But, of course, there are always ways to save money.

      You can simply film it in 60p and use After Effects to slow down and interpolate the frames to seem smoother. There is a great plugin called Twixtor that makes really good slow mo. If you search around, you can find some nice simple tutorials about using Twixtor.

  • Logan Davidson

    When I do technique #2 it looks really good until I render it… Then it gets all choppy and loses some of the clip. Any help?

    • http://www.cineblur.com Brent Pierce

      Hmmm, double check that the sequence and clip frame rates are matching EXACTLY.
      Also check the codec of your clip. If it is different from your sequence, that could cause some issues.
      Also, maybe try deleting your render files for that section. That could also cause some hiccups.

  • Kodie

    Hey man! Such lovely info you’ve provided here and it helped a lot… However I was thinking of asking what effects you used to create the video? I like this look and have always wanted to achieve this but for some reason haven’t been able to get it. Please help.

  • stan

    can you please tell me how to have a bezier curve control over the speed for a 60p footage in a 24psequence. Since I would only like to slomo a certain section of the 60p footage and not the whole clip. Please shed some light on this method of time scaling

  • Ch

    “Unlike other video editing applications that make it complicated to get smooth slow-mo..”
    Try out Corel VideoStudio Pro X6. Couldn’t be more easy than that.
    Only thing both programs need is interpolation like Aftereffects does so you actually can make a nice slow-mo out of a 30 frame vid.

  • Dario Škorić

    What if a have a 120fps footage?

    • http://www.cineblur.com Brent Pierce

      Use the second technique in this post. You’ll simply assume the fps of your desired frame rate.

  • Kent

    Thanks for the tutorial works great. What if I am shooting at 60fps and want extreme slow motion, say 15% rather than 40%? Simply bumping down the percentage in premier creates not so smooth extreme slow motion. I know how to achieve pretty good slow motion using Motion, Cinema Tools and Final Cut and I know it is also possible using After Effects. What workflow/programs would you recommend to achieve VERY slow motion if Premier is my primary video editing application? Thanks.

    • http://www.cineblur.com Brent Pierce

      Hey Kent,
      You could try using the “frame blend” method on the clip, but that will still be ‘less-than-great’ results.
      For best results, I would send the clip to After Effects and use a slow-motion plugin like “Twixtor.”

  • LOIS

    Question:

    When i convert my video, i see those “lines” like an interlaced video.

    Why? Im used the INTERPRETE FOOTAGE and the speed but i get the same results.

    Could you tell me what am i doing wrong? Sorry for my poor english

    • http://www.cineblur.com Brent Pierce

      Preview your footage by rendering it by pressing the “enter” key. See if that fixes it.

  • Cameron Ware

    Hi, I’m a newbie to premier… well at least since a few dodgy videos in high school.
    Im looking to take some 240 fps GoPro footage (WVGA) and slow down cutout sections of it to 24 fps.
    Trying the first method down to 10% then rendering the work area, it appears to slow it down more than intended and only plays a portion of the clip and cuts out the rest. Method 2 slows it down good but increases the amount of editing required to insert it into the original, unless there is an easier way to align the slow motion to the correct position in the original video than frame by frame and cutting at the right spots. Any suggestions?

    • http://www.cineblur.com Brent Pierce

      Hey Cameron, I think the issue is just an error in Premiere. There are little bugs in Premiere that will cause the issue of cutting out part of the clip.

  • Hiba

    Awesome article and comment questions… I’m learning the ideal way to shoot a cinematic feel music video with lots of slow motions and reverse motions (slower than the Jessie video)… I have two questions

    What low cost cam would you recommend? (Canon 5D would do the job)?

    I work on Adobe Premiere and have matrox. I have never worked on AE, but since you have mentioned that the best way to do really slow motions was to work on it with twixtor, could you maybe create a blog on showing the steps of it? It would be really helpful, or maybe just how to make our way through AE… Thanks

    • http://www.cineblur.com Brent Pierce

      Hi Hiba,

      As long as the camera has the capabilities to shoot in 60p, that will allow you to get great slow-mo. The Canon 5D mk3 has that ability. Also, the cheaper Rebel series of DSLR’s have that ability as well.

      Here is an older post with a Twixtor walkthrough that is very helpful. http://philipbloom.net/2011/09/13/twixtor/

  • Sprout Princep

    When I import an 50 fps vid
    PP change it into 25fps vid
    I can not figure out why?

  • retrochic

    Thanks, this is really great. I thought I would have to borrow a Phantom camera to get the effects like that.

  • CJ

    Hey there I am working with GOPRO footage that is 100fps and when I interpret the footage it looks choppy and not smooth like the video you posted. I followed all the steps and have had this work with dslr footage perfectly before. Any Suggestions?

    • CJ

      the footage is also pretty dark so i feel the shutter speed could have possibly been an issue

  • avegagti

    Thanks for the right up, very helpful to get me thinking ahead. I recently shot some clips in 24fps and wondering if you have any guidance on making smooth slow motion in Premiere with them?

  • Aperiso

    What would be the best workflow if you wanted to speed ramp the footage instead of having the whole clip play back in slow motion?

    • http://reverbnation.com/therawdeal James Lawrence

      this is my exact question.. i may want to make a part of the clip slow mo and let the rest play out .. but if its a 24 fps sequence .. the 60 fps footage will look out of place

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