Do you have a moment that you wished you had captured in ‘slow motion mode’ in your camera, but didn’t? Or did you capture video at a high frame-rate but can't figure out how to make it play back in slow motion?

If that’s you and you want to figure out how (or IF) you can do it in DaVinci Resolve after-the-fact then you're at the right place! DaVinci Resolve offers several methods for achieving the ‘slow motion effect’. Which method you choose will depend on if you want a ‘variable speed effect’ (or not), if the quality of the effect meets your approval, and if you have the paid version of DaVinci Resolve (named DaVinci Resolve Studio) or not.

All slow-motion effects rely on changing the frame rate of the shot to something slower than the frame rate of the camera recording. If you recorded at 24 frames per second (fps), you would change the playback rate of your shot to 23 fps or slower. The software will duplicate or recreate the missing frames, creating a slow-motion effect.

The ‘slow motion’ workflows in DaVinci Resolve (from simplest to most advanced) are:

Method 1: Directly setting a clip’s frame-per-second playback rate using ‘Clip Attributes’

Did you record your shot at a high frame rate (say, 120 frames per second) but want to override the clip’s playback rate to 24 frames per second so it always plays in slow motion?

  • In the Media Pool, Cut Page, or Edit Page, right-click on the clip in a bin and choose ‘Clip Attributes…”.
  • From the ‘Video’ tab use the ‘Frame Rate’ pull-down to choose your desired frame rate.
  • Press ‘OK’ and your clip will now always playback at the new frame rate.
  • Note: If the clip is already edited into a Timeline, this modification may adversely affect that instance of the clip and you may need to replace that shot in the timeline, each time the clip appears. It’s best to make this change before you start editing the shot into a timeline.

Method 2: Using the ‘Fit to Fill’ command to set a constant frame rate speed effect (on the Edit Page)

Drag from the Source window and drop the image onto the ‘Fit to Fill’ command in the Record viewer on the Edit page.

If you want to ‘fit’ a short clip into a longer duration (or if you want to ‘fit’ a longer duration shot into a short duration) on your timeline then ‘Fit to Fill’ is the classic editing command you want to use.

  • On the Edit page, enter both an In / Out point on the source footage.
  • Enter an In / Out point in the Timeline for the duration you want to ‘fit’ the source footage into.
  • Either drag the clip from the source window onto the record window and select ‘Fit to Fill’ from the graphical menu or use the Edit > Fit to Fill menu command

Method 3: Setting a constant frame rate slow motion on the Cut Page

Did your record your shot at ‘normal‘ speed but now want to slow it down in the timeline? This is the most basic form of the slow-motion effect, where you set a single frame rate for the length of the shot. This workflow is for setting a constant speed slow motion in the Cut page.

A handy shortcut to the Cut Page’s Speed tool is to right-click on a clip and choose the ‘Change Speed’ command from the contextual menu.

Either right-click on the clip or use the ‘Clip’ pull-down menu and then choose: ‘Change Clip Speed’.

  • The viewer now changes to reveal the ‘Tools’ menu, directly underneath the viewer, with the ‘Speed’ controls active.
  • Speed: Hover your mouse over the speed text box and click-drag to the left to slow down the shot for a slow-motion effect.Notice that the clip Duration changes as you make changes to the speed of the clip. In the timeline, the clip gets longer as you slow it down. You may also directly input a number into the Speed text box. To reset your speed, hover over the speed icon and click to reset.

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Method 4: Setting a constant rate slow motion on the Edit Page:

For more control over your slow-motion effect, switch to the Edit Page.The Edit Page provides several advanced controls not found on the Cut page, for more refined choices.

The ‘Change Clip Speed’ menu on the Edit Page provides access to a variety of additional options not available on the Cut Page.

Either right-click on a shot in the timeline or highlight the clip in the timeline and select from the ‘Clip’ menu the command ‘Change Clip Speed’.

  • This opens the ‘Change Clip Speed’ menu offering a variety of options not available on the Cut page:
  • Speed / Frames per second / Duration: These three inputs interactively affect each other. 100% speed is the base frames per second (FPS) of the clip, displaying the default FPS and duration of the clip.You can directly input numbers into the text boxes. You may also hover your mouse over the Speed/Frames Per Second text boxes and click-drag to the left/right to increase or decrease the playback speed of the clip.
  • Freeze Frame: For an instant freeze frame, pause on the frame you want to freeze, open the ‘Change Clip Speed’ menu and choose the checkbox for ‘Freeze Frame’. The entire clip is now frozen. This command is also found in the ‘Clip’ menu and by default, DaVinci Resolve assigns a Freeze Frame keyboard shortcut.
  • Reverse Speed: If you want the clip to play at normal speed but in reverse, this checkbox automatically reverses playback of the clip.
  • Ripple Sequence: Do you want to slow down the speed of your clip but keep the current first and last frame of the clip, making the clip longer? Then enable the ‘Ripple Sequence’ checkbox. The entire timeline after the clip will be pushed back to make room for the longer duration of the slow-motion clip. If you do not enable ‘Ripple Sequence’ then the duration of the clip stays the same and the slow-motion effect starts from the first frame of the clip.

Method 5: Variable-rate slow motion on the Edit page (retime effect)

Do you want a ‘slow-motion ramp’ effect, where the clip plays normally and then smoothly slows down (and maybe speeds back up again? Then you’re looking for DaVinci Resolve’s ‘retime’ controls.

You can create sophisticated variable speed motion effects using the Retime controls and Retime graph on the Edit Page.

To activate ‘retime’ select the clip in your timeline and choose ‘retime’ from the right-click menu or from the ‘Clip’ menu. Using the controls on the clip itself in the timeline:

  • Park the timeline on the first frame where you want the ramp slow-motion effect to begin. Use the pulldown menu on the bottom of the clip in the timeline and choose, ‘Add Speed Point’.
  • On either side of the speed marker are pulldowns allowing you to set the speed of the clip before and after the marker.
  • To enable the variable transition between each Speed Point, right-click the clip and choose, ‘Retime Curve’. A large curves interface is exposed.
  • Click on the keyframe of the Speed Point. A box at the top of the curve is highlighted. Choose and highlight the alternate box, which changes the curve to a bezier.
  • Pull the edge of the bezier to shorten or lengthen the time of the transition from normal speed to slow-motion.
  • Experiment with the pull-down choices, adding additional Speed Point, click-dragging speed points, and click-dragging keyframes (including the graph endpoints) up/down to completely customize your variable rate slow-motion.

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