Speed up or slow down clips in iMovie

Take control over time by speeding up (or slowing down) particular parts of your video clips


As movie-makers we can enjoy using iMovie’s time-tweaking tools to change the speed of our video clips. This enables us to slow down time and analyse an action (such as a flying bird) in a way that wouldn’t be possible by just using the human eye. We can also speed up time and perceive an event in a new way, such as watching the time-lapse style ebb and flow of traffic at a road junction, for example.

By splitting a clip and re-timing specific sections you can create a comical sequence in which a character moves from super-human speed to real-time in a single scene, as you’ll see in our walkthrough. To get the most from this tutorial download the supplied source clips.


1. Import clip

Go to File>New Event. Label the event Speed. Click Import Media. Browse to select our Fast Source.mp4 movie file. Click Import Selected. Drag the entire clip to the Timeline.


2. Add retro effect

Before splitting and re-timing parts of the clip, click on the Video effects icon and choose an Aged Film effect to reflect the clip’s outdated chauvinistic subject matter.


3. Split the clip

Scrub the Playhead to just before the man gestures to the woman. Right-click on the clip and choose Split Clip. This cuts the Timeline clip into two separate chunks.


4.Split it again

Scrub the Playhead forward by a second or so and split the clip again once he’s finished beckoning. Split the clip once again as soon as the slipper is on his foot.

Step055. Speed it up

Our sequence will now be on four sections. Click on the first chunk. Click on the Speed icon above the Viewer. Set the Speed pulldown menu to Fast.


6. Choose a preset

Click on a speed preset (such as 8x) to experiment with different speeds. The 4x preset works well with this clip. Speed up the third clip section using this preset, too.


7. Link the clips

The re-timed characters look more comical as they jump between real time and fast motion. Use an iMovie Jingle to blend the different sections into a seamless sequence.


8. Import and split

Choose File>New Movie. Click No Theme then click Create. Label the movie SloMo. Click OK. Download our Slow source clip and import it. Drop it into the Timeline.


9. Slow it down

Split the clip to isolate the section where the bird flies into land. This time set the Speed pull-down menu to Slow and then click the 10% preset to study the subject’s movement.