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How to Speed Ramp in Final Cut Pro X – Speed Up Footage

Tanner Shinnick

Learn step-by-step how to speed ramp in FCPX. This simple effect lets you speed up or slow down footage to create stylish transitions in your footage.

Speed ramps are a stylistic and proven editing trick to quickly amplify the mood and tone of your video projects — from amateur to professional. This tried-and-true effect is a great tool for travel videos, commercials, highlight reels, and even narrative films. This effect adds a great amount of energy to any shot it’s applied to. Luckily, FCPX is optimized for speed ramps and the process is super easy to learn. Let’s dive right in and learn how to create your own speed ramps.


Step 1: Timeline

Timeline

Place the speed ramp into your timeline.

First, you’ll want to place the clip you’d like to speed ramp into your timeline. The clip I used was shot in 60fps, so I went ahead and used automatic speed and slowed it down overall to forty percent.


Step 2: Apply Speed Ramp

Apply Speed Ramp

Decide where you want to apply the speed ramp.

Once you have your clip in place on your timeline, you’ll want to determine which areas of the clip you want to apply the speed ramp. For this clip, we’ll make two cuts and apply the speed ramp to the middle clip. Now, to make the cuts in our clip, move our cursor to where we feel the first cut should be. In the case of this clip, I’m thinking about 2.5 seconds in. Move to that spot and hit Command + B to make our cut.

For our second cut, I’m going to go down to about sixteen seconds and hit Shift + B again to make our cut.


Step 3: Speed

Controlling the Speed

Now, you can begin adjusting the speed in your clips.

Now, we have three areas to control the speed in our clips. We can begin our speed ramp. Next to the speed percentage on the middle clip, we see a little downward arrow. Click that to reveal the drop-down menu. Once there, we’ll click the 8x button to speed up our middle clip 8x.


Step 4: Smoothing Tool

Smoothing Tool

Use the speed ramp smoothing tool to ease the transition between speeds.

Now, we have the foundation of a speed ramp. You’ll notice that our two cuts on the far left and far right are at 40 percent and the one in the middle is now at 800 percent. Between these three clips, you’ll notice what looks reminiscent of a translucent transition bar. Consider this your Easy Ease or speed ramp smoothing tool. Without this, our clip would quickly jump from normal playback speed to an abrupt 8x speed. This would be harsh and hard on the eyes. Utilizing this tool makes the transition between the two speeds much smoother. Sliding the bar longer will elongate the amount of time the speed will ramp. Shortening the bar will make the speed ramp/transition occur fast. You’ll want to slide this back and forth until you find the perfect setting for your clip.


Step 5: Dial in Speed

Speed Dial

Now, dial in your desired speed.

Also within those smoothing bars, you’ll see a vertical line. When selected, you can drag this to dial in the exact speed you desire for your clip. If you want your clip to be sped up to 1296 percent, you simply slide it over.


Final Product

Once you dial in all of these steps, you have your finished speed ramp inside FCPX. Take a look at our finished product!

Here’s the downloadable link if it needs to be inserted differently. I also included the non-speed-ramped clip, in case you wanted to use it.

With the speed ramp tool, we were easily able to turn a somewhat uneventful twenty-second clip into a vibrant and lively six-second clip that could stand on its own. If you’re looking for a way to add a little more liveliness to your videos, adding speed ramps is the perfect place to begin. FCPX’s robust built-in tools makes the ability to master speed ramps attainable.


Speed Ramping in Premiere Pro

In this video from Robbie with Shutterstock Tutorials, you’ll find three different methods/solutions for enabling a proper speed ramp effect.

First, to change the Speed/Duration of a clip, just right-click on the clip in your timeline, hit Speed/Duration, then change the percentage to under 100 percent for a slower speed or over 100 percent for a faster speed.

Second, make sure to shoot footage at 120 frames per second. This will give you a smoother slow-motion shot that won’t look weird upon playback. Then, once you have the clip in your media pool, right-click on the clip, hit Modify>Interpret Footage, then under Frame Rate check the Assume this frame rate box and enter in 23.976, then press OK.

Third, Mark IN and OUT on the clip you want changed in your timeline, then right-click >Show Clip Keyframes> Time Remapping> Speed. Now, you can use the Pen tool to move the rubber band on your clip up or down, increasing or decreasing the speed of your clip in the selected time you chose.


How to Speed Ramp in DaVinci Resolve

Adding “Speed Points” in Resolve is a great way to set in and out points on your clip on the timeline. To do this, click on the clip, then use the keyboard shortcut Control-R (Windows) Command-R (Mac). You’ll see a line of arrows pop up at the top of your clip. Move the play head over the moment you want to change the speed, then right-click on the play button on your clip. This will bring up an option to change the speed. This is where you can set a new speed — faster or slower. Then, repeat the step to end the speed ramp as your clip returns to normal speed.


Cover image via Daxiao Productions

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