Wedding Video Editing: How To Use Slow-Motion Properly

Wedding video editing can be fun and exciting. This medium can offer the editor a lot of effects to experiment with, one of which is slow motion.

All special effects should be used sparingly in order to maximize their impact (if used too much, they simply become annoying to the viewer), and slow motion is no exception. There are two kinds of slow motion effects. Those that were done properly in-camera, and those that the editing program creates.

In-Camera Slow Motion

Video in the United States is recorded and plays back at 30 frames per second. (actually 29.97fps, but we use 30 as a round number). This means that there are thirty still images in one second of video. Now, if we were going to shoot true slow motion, we would do it with the camera. If we want the footage to be twice as slow as it is in real life then we shoot 60 fps. Since playback remains at 30fps, it takes two seconds to play back just one second of video recorded in this mode. This is true slow motion, because there are 60 individual frames being shot at that second.

Not all video cameras allow you to change the frame rate to achieve slow motion, and sometimes you are unable to shoot slow motion because of exposure problems. Since there shutter speed increases in slow motion, you need to have more light to compensate for the exposure, which is not always an option in dark situations.

Creating Slow Motion in Your Editing Program

Most editing programs allow you to change the speed of your clips. To increase a clip's speed, the program takes away frames, and to decrease the speed, like for slow motion, they add frames.

For example, if you were to make a one-second clip play back as two seconds in slow motion, then the program automatically adds frames. Each frame is simply repeated, so it takes up one fifteenth of a second instead of a thirtieth. Thus, it looks like slow motion, but it is not the same as the slow motion you get when you do it in camera.

When To Use Slow Motion

Slow motion should always be used sparingly, or the audience will quickly tire of it. This is even truer with slow motion created in the editing program, because its quality is not as high. Reserve the slow motion effect for special moments, montages, and close-ups. If it is used with a purpose other than looking cool, then you will have some beautiful sequences.

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