How to Make Movies Slow-Motion in Final Cut Express

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Slow-motion is commonly used to sustain the drama of an action. Because this effect is so popular, the video editing program Final Cut Express provides two ways to achieve it. The first method is the "Modify Speed" menu option, which allows you to set the exact speed or duration of the modified clip. This option is useful when you wish to experiment with your clip to attain the best-looking slow motion effect. The second method is performing a "Fit to Fill" edit. This is useful when you have an empty space between two existing edits that you wish to fill with a slow-motion clip and you are not particular about achieving an exact speed.

Speed Modification

  • Click on the clip you wish to make slow-motion.

  • From the "Modify" menu, select "Speed."

  • In the "Duration" text box, type a length of time in minutes and seconds or type a speed percentage in the "Speed" text box.

  • Check the "Frame Blending" check box to smooth the effect. Without frame blending, the video may appear choppy at very slow speeds.

Fit to Fill

  • Drag the "Source" control to the "Destination" control that corresponds to the track you wish to insert your video on. These controls look like square puzzle pieces that lock together near the beginning of the track. There are multiple "Destination" controls, but only one "Source" control, which is labeled "v1."

  • Place your timeline indicator over the point in the timeline at which you want your slow motion clip to begin.

  • Click the "Mark In" button or type "I" on the keyboard.

  • Position your timeline indicator over the out point and click the "Mark Out" button or type "O" on the keyboard.

  • Double-click the clip you wish to make slow motion to open it in the Viewer.

  • Mark an "In" and "Out" point on the clip.

  • Drag the clip to the Canvas window and release it over the "Fit to Fill" button that appears in the edit overlay section. Final Cut Express will automatically adjust the length of the clip to match the length between the "In" and "Out" marks on the timeline. Note that this only makes your clip slow-motion if the space to be filled is longer than the clip you have chosen to fill it.

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