When editing your video, playing with speed controls can help pique interest and guide focus. You might have used slow motion to dramatize a scene, or maybe you’ve sped up a clip to create a time lapse—but have you tried speed ramping?
If you’re looking to add cinematic oomph to your video, look no further!
The speed ramp effect, also called time remapping, describes a smooth transition between speeds (the name is key here—picture a ramp versus a staircase), resulting in a video that dips in and out of slow-mo and/or high speed playback. You can ramp up, ramp down, or do a mix of both for multiple speed adjustments throughout a video!
Read along to:
1. See examples of speed ramping from today’s creators.
2. Learn when it might be impactful to use this editing technique and what questions to ask yourself to maximize its impact.
3. Discover how to mimic the effect yourself in a matter of minutes.
Three Ways Creators Use the Speed Ramp Effect
Imagine you’re trying to bring a simple pan shot of a product to life, energize the transitions in your latest travel video, emphasize the beat drop in a music video, or simply keep eyes glued to your content.
Speed ramping can give your video a distinct, stylized flair. It can help you do anything from spice up B-roll to infuse otherwise unremarkable footage with personality.
Building a Rhythm
Check out this cinematic effect in action in this TikTok, where footage does a smooth whip from full speed to slow-mo in a series of clips aimed at hyping a BMW:
@ibragraphics uses music with heavy beats to further immerse viewers in the rhythm created by tinkering with speed.
Making Cleaner Transitions
Here’s another example, where speed ramping is used to smooth transitions and create personality in simple living-room footage:
@capturedzeal speeds up the end of one clip (turning his lens to down the carpet) and the beginning of the next (turning the lens down again, from the ceiling to his dog) to create a rush that implies continuity. It’s a great transition idea, and speeding it up makes it even cleaner. The speed ramp effect is also used here as an engaging way to give footage personality, flying towards then lingering on the dog’s face for big main character energy.
Spiking Visual Interest
And here’s an example of how music videos specifically can use speed ramping to grab and hold attention:
Compare the flat effect of a single speed effect to the dynamic dipping in and out of slow-mo, courtesy of @cinematicsonly
The look of rushing, swinging, whipping, whooshing—however you’d describe it—that’s speed ramping. Hard to look away, right?
Tips to Improve Speed Ramping in Your Videos
The effect can be tricky to master, so practice is the best way to reach the smooth speed transitions that best energize your videos.
Here are some ways to best implement the speed ramp effect:
- Shoot your video with a high frame rate so that when editing you can slow footage without sacrificing quality.
- Pinpoint the moments in your footage you want your audience to focus on.
- Decide whether you want a highly stylized/rhythmic video (using the effect repeatedly) or if there's a single, pivotal moment to emphasize.
- Consider whether a rapid, dramatic speed transition (a short ramp) or more subtle shift (a longer ramp) suits your video.
- Think about muting the video’s original audio—adjusting the speed will naturally distort the audio anyway—and dropping in a ‘whoosh’ sound, for example, to heighten the effect.
Crafting the Speed Ramp Effect with Kapwing
With Kapwing, you don’t have to download an app or learn a complex software interface. You can mimic a speed ramp right in your browser, for free, in a matter of minutes.
To create the dynamic look of a speed ramp effect in your own videos, you'll use the video speed changer in Kapwing’s video editor. You have the option to slow clips to .25x the original speed or crank the them up to 4x.
This velocity edits tutorial teaches you how to split your video into isolated clips and adjust their speed.
Remember that your goal with speed ramping, along with changing speed, is making the transition as smooth as possible. This means you may want to do more than just split your video into 1x, 4x, and 1x speed segments, for example, where the video would jump in speed sharply. If you wanted to create a more seamless acceleration in that example, you could try splitting your video into 1x—2x—4x—2x—1x speed clips.
This is a skill further explained in the following video from Kapwing's YouTube channel:
What is speed ramping?
The speed ramp effect describes the gradual acceleration or deceleration of a video. You can modulate fast to slow and vice versa, smoothly changing speed.
Why use it?
Changing speed creates a dynamic, cinematic effect to draw in and hold eyes on the screen. Dipping in and out of slow-mo or zipping through shocks of high speed, all with smooth transitions from and to real-time footage will energize and stylize your video.
Keep updated with more editing tips and video effects by visiting the Kapwing Resources Page or subscribing to our newsletter below. And be sure to stay in touch by following Kapwing on Twitter and Instagram.