How to Time Remap in Premiere Pro - 3 Steps & NEW Techniques!

To create cinematic speed ramps in Adobe Premiere Pro, right-click on your clip and select Show Clip Keyframes > Time Remapping > Speed, then use the Pen tool to set your keyframes where you want the speed change to start and end. Adjust the speed by dragging the white line between the keyframes and smooth out the transition by widening the keyframe markers, making your video as dynamic and engaging as a travel edit on YouTube.

October 19, 2023
How to Time Remap in Premiere Pro - 3 Steps & NEW Techniques!
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What Is Time Remapping/Speed Ramping?

Time remapping is essentially the manipulation of a clip's speed. But don't mistake it for a simple speed adjustment. It's a dynamic process that allows you to vary the speed within a single clip, rather than applying a uniform speed change. This is crucial for creating speed ramps, where the clip gradually speeds up or slows down, rather than abruptly changing pace.

Speed ramping is essentially a subset of time remapping, but it's the technique that truly allows for creative storytelling. Imagine a scene where the protagonist is walking into a room; the clip could start at 50% speed to emphasize their entrance, ramp up to 200% as they scan the room, and then slow back down to 100% as they find what they're looking for. This creates a dynamic flow that keeps the viewer engaged, and it's all done within a single clip.

When you're working with music, the beats per minute (BPM) can serve as a guide for your speed adjustments. If your track has 120 BPM and you want to sync a specific action to a beat, you can calculate the exact speed percentage to make that happen. For instance, if the action takes 2 seconds in real-time and you want it to align with a single beat (0.5 seconds at 120 BPM), you'd need to speed it up to 400%.

Can You Speed Ramp In Premiere Pro?

Contrary to popular belief, you can actually do speed ramping effects in Premiere Pro - It's just not the ideal software for doing it. I myself, would also not recommend it though. It's so much easier to do time remapping on Adobe After Effects. Premiere Pro only has the bare minimum tools and layouts to facilitate for time remapping functionalities.

Prerequisite 1 - FPS

Frame rates are the backbone of your video's visual experience, and understanding them is crucial for any serious videographer. When we talk about frame rates, we're referring to the number of still images—frames—that your camera captures each second. For instance, at 30 frames per second (fps), your camera is essentially taking 30 still photos in that one-second span, which when played back, create the illusion of motion.

Most Hollywood films are shot in 24 fps, and there's a reason for that. This frame rate introduces a certain amount of motion blur, which our eyes perceive as more "natural" or "cinematic." It's not just about aesthetics; it's about how our brains are wired to interpret motion. The 24 fps standard has been around since the early days of film and has been deeply ingrained in our viewing experience.

Recommended FPS for Speed Ramping

Shooting at a minimum of 60 fps is generally reserved for slow-motion effects including speed ramping. When you shoot at these higher frame rates and then conform the footage to a 30 fps or less timeline, you're essentially stretching those extra frames across fewer frames per second. For example, if you shoot at 60 fps and then conform it to 30 fps, you're spreading those 60 frames across 30 , leaving 30 "extra" frames. This results in a 2.22-second playback time for what was initially 1 second of real-time action, creating that slow-motion effect.

Now, if you're aiming for a cleaner, news-like quality, you'll want to bump up to atleast 120 fps or higher - this is the bare minimum for generic smooth slow mo. This frame rate reduces motion blur, giving you a crisper image. It's often used in modern music videos and gaming montages/edits. Some Tiktok trends also use higher FPS and ultra high resolution to get your attention.

Premiere Pro Speed Ramp Tutorial

First off, I'll clarify by saying that speed ramping is not the same as altering the frame rate (FPS). Changing FPS affects the entire clip uniformly and alters the motion aesthetics, whereas speed ramping allows for dynamic speed changes within a single clip.

Step Description
Understanding Frame Rates Before diving into speed ramping, understand the importance of frame rates. Higher frame rates like 60fps or 120fps give you the flexibility for slow-motion effects.
1a: Interpreting Your Footage Right-click on the clip in your project window and go to Modify > Interpret Footage. Set the frame rate you want your clip to conform to.
2a: Setting Up for Speed Ramping Expand the height of your video track for a better view. Right-click on the small fx box at the top left of your clip and choose Time Remapping > Speed.
3a: Creating the Speed Ramp Activate the Pen tool (or press 'P') and click on the rubber band where you want the speed change to start. This adds a keyframe.
3b: Adjusting Speed Switch to the Selection tool (or press 'V') and drag the sections apart to adjust the speed percentage.
4: Smoothing It Out Hover over the keyframe marker and click and drag horizontally to lengthen or shorten the speed ramp for a smoother transition.
5: The Final Touch - The S-Curve Click on one of the keyframe markers to see a small blue line. Click the top of this line and rotate it between 30-45 degrees for a smooth S-curve.

Accessing Time Remapping

To kick things off, right-click on your video clip and navigate to Show Clip Keyframes > Time Remapping > Speed. A white line appears, which is your speed control line. Command or Ctrl-click on this line, and you'll see a marker appear, often referred to as a keyframe. These keyframes are your best friends when it comes to speed ramping. They allow you to define the points where your speed changes will begin and end.

Manipulating Keyframes

Once your keyframes are set, you can drag them up or down to adjust the speed. Dragging them up accelerates the clip, while dragging them down decelerates it. But here's the kicker: you can also drag these keyframes horizontally to control the duration of the speed ramp. This is where the term "ramping" truly comes into play. The horizontal movement of the keyframe adjusts the "ramp time," essentially controlling how quickly or slowly the speed change occurs.

Effects Control Panel + Bezier Curve

For those who like to fine-tune, the Effects Control Panel offers another layer of control. Clicking on the keyframe icon here will create additional markers, allowing for even more nuanced speed changes. This is particularly useful for complex sequences where multiple speed changes are required within a single clip.

That grey marker that appears when you slice your clip with the Pen tool. This marker is your gateway to a smooth transition. When selected, it turns blue, signaling that it's ready for manipulation. Hover over it, and your cursor will morph into a horizontal double arrow. This is your cue to click and drag.

Now, the distance you drag this marker horizontally directly correlates with the smoothness of your speed transition. Drag it out for a longer ramp, and you'll get a more gradual, cinematic transition. Pull it in for a shorter ramp, and the transition becomes more abrupt, almost aggressive. It's all about the mood you're aiming to set.

Creative Applications

Speed ramping isn't just a technical exercise; it's a creative tool. You can use it to create smooth transitions, intense pans, or even motion blur effects. The key is to understand the narrative or emotional impact you're aiming for. For instance, a slow-to-fast ramp could signify a build-up of tension, while the opposite could indicate a moment of reflection.

A Bridge to After Effects

If you're looking for even more control, Adobe Dynamic Link allows you to bring your clip into After Effects. While Premiere Pro offers robust capabilities, After Effects provides a more extensive range of speed and duration controls. It's like taking your clip to a specialized clinic when you need that extra level of care.