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How To Change Video Clip Speeds in Final Cut Pro

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/15/2010

Learn how to change the speed of a select video clip or make it play backwards.

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    Simple Tools

    The uses for what you have recorded with your digital video camera are about as varied as what you record. Once you have the video you can alter and change the footage to fit any kind of creative need you have, whether it is modifying the color palette or reshaping the way the images move. It is now common to alter, if even only slightly, the speed at which the video runs or switching it so it plays in reverse. These are simple tasks that can be done in Final Cut Pro, and any home digital video producer can utilize these tools.

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    Changing the Speed

    If you want to alter the speed a video clip plays, which is to say make it go faster or slower, put the video into an open space in the Timeline. You can put it at the very end of an existing sequence where it has space on either side, or create a completely new sequence just for altering this clip. Double click on the clip and then go to Modify in the task bar and then down to Speed. A window will come up so you can numerically change the speed of the clip. If you want the clip to go slower you will change the percentage to be less than %100, and if you want it to go faster than it originally was then you change it to be higher than %100. For example, if you want it to go half speed you will change it to %50, and if you want it to go double speed you would change it to %200. The length of the clip in the Timeline will then change to match the length the clip is after this alteration.

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    Reversing the Video

    If you want a selected clip to play in reverse the process is even easier. You again place the clip into the Timeline and double click it, which brings it up into the viewer. You will again go to Modify and Speed, but instead of changing the percentage number you will simply check the box that says Reverse. When you go back to play the clip in the timeline it will now play backwards, including the audio track.

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    Knowing When

    Some effective creative tools are a simple process to uses, but you just have to know where to look. Changing the speed of a clip or forcing it to play backward simply requires going to the Speed sections and changing minor settings. Now that you know how to do it you need to figure out when, and make sure to always be selective when aesthetically altering your digital video clips.