In this tutorial, you’ll learn to create a beautiful speed ramp in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, from capturing the right kind of footage to advanced tips and tricks. Then, we’ll go over ideas and inspiration for when to use a speed ramp. Spoiler alert: if you edit video for any reason, a speed ramp is a great tool to have in your video editing arsenal!
What is Speed Ramping?
Speed ramping is the process of progressively changing the speed of a video clip over time. What might immediately come to mind is using this to highlight actions in sports. For instance, a clip is playing in real-time, then slows down for the duration of a jump, kick, or flip, before resuming normal speed.
While speed ramping is used a lot in sports highlights, adjusting speed can be effective for many types of footage. For instance, check out this example created using this clip of a DJ.
Basic Edits in Premiere Pro
Alright, let’s dive into creating a simple speed ramp in Premiere Pro. Start by adding the DJ clip from the above example in the timeline or whatever clip you want to add a speed ramp
1. Before beginning any work with speed, click and drag to increase the height of the video track in the timeline. This will ensure that you can see the speed ramp in the next steps.
If you’re working within a sequence of clips, you may also choose to drag the clip to a new track while you work as speed changes will affect the length of the clip.
2. Right-click the Fx button on the clip and choose Time Remapping > Speed. The rubber band across your clip now represents the speed of the clip (the default parameter is opacity).
3. Dragging this band up or down will change the speed of the clip. If you’re starting with a slow motion clip, drag the band up (typically to about 250%-300%) to begin with the clip at normal speed.
4. To create a speed ramp, you will need to add keyframes. Command + Click (Mac) or Control + Click (PC) the rubber band to add a keyframe. Note that keyframes will display and can be manipulated both in the Timeline and in the Effect Controls panel.
5. Add two keyframes to divide the clip into three parts. Click and drag the middle section up for fast motion, or down for slow motion.
6. At this point, when you play the clip back, you’ll notice the speed change is abrupt. The effect looks more like a cut than a ramp. Click and drag each keyframe to split it, creating a gradual speed change instead.
Note: if you need to reposition the entire keyframe Option + Drag (Mac) or Alt + Drag (PC) the keyframe. Experiment with different length speed ramps until you’re happy with the timing.
Advanced Speed Ramping Techniques
Create a Smooth Speed Ramp with Keyframe Interpolation
A speed ramp has keyframes marking a starting and ending point for the speed change, but there are a couple of ways Premiere can get the footage from point A to point B.
Keyframe interpolation is the process of filling in the values in between those two points. Simply dragging to split the keyframe like the last example creates an even speed increase between the keyframes. This is called Linear Interpolation.
To create a smoother, more natural speed ramp, use Bezier Interpolation instead. With Bezier Interpolation, the rate of the speed increase will also accelerate, creating more of a “ramp” feel.
Select a keyframe and click and drag the Bezier handles to create an S-curve shape. Adjust until you’re happy with the results.
Create a Speed Ramp Transition
Speed ramp transitions are easy and can add visual interest to many kinds of videos. This effect consists of the clip speed ramping up at the end of a clip, then into a cut.
In the second clip, the speed starts fast and ramps down to create a smooth transition. It can suggest the passage of time, a character’s disorientation, or simply add flair to a marketing video. Check out this example using this clip and this clip:
In Premiere, create a ramp up at the end of your first clip, and a ramp down at the beginning of your second clip. The speed rubber band will look like a bell curve spanning the two clips.
Understanding Frame Rates When Working With Speed
When working with video speed, it’s important to understand frame rates. Videos are typically shot and played back at 24 or 30fps. Slow motion is created by shooting at a higher frame rate, (like 60 FPS, for example) and played back at 24fps.
Time Remapping is simply the act of playing the footage back at a different frame rate than which it was shot. But what if you want to create a slow motion shot or a speed ramp like the example above and you didn’t shoot your footage at a high frame rate?
Adobe Premiere will do its best to extrapolate that missing information, but artificial slow motion typically looks a little bit choppy. So, if you’re planning to use a speed ramp to highlight action in slow motion, it’s best to begin with slow motion footage.
While not every project will benefit from a speed ramp, there are quite a few use cases.
Consider tutorial videos for social media: a beauty creator might demonstrate how to curl a piece of her hair in real-time, then ramp up the speed of the same clip while she finishes the rest of her hair. In a baking how-to video, a creator could add the ingredients to the bowl, then ramp it up for the stir. The reverse can also add style: add ingredients in real-time or fast motion, but slow it down for a dramatic egg cracking.
Speed ramps have a place in narrative structure too. If a character is disoriented, for instance, speed ramping into a cut can provide a transition to evoke that feeling.
And that’s it! Creating speed ramps in Premiere Pro can add function and style to a variety of videos from narrative features to social media posts. Premiere makes it simple to create and refine speed duration right in the timeline to meet any needs.