Slow Motion in FCPX


Like most modern NLEs, FCPX comes with the ability to slow down and speed up your footage. Unlike the others, however, FCPX also has a nifty feature built in that allows for incredibly smooth motion, even when you drop the speed by 90% or more.

The feature is called Optical Flow, and it really couldn’t be simpler to use, unlike some of the third party plugins like Twixtor that offer similar functionality, but in a much more robust and complex package. Here’s a quick tutorial from the folks at PremiumBeat that shows exactly how to use it.

Having used Optical Flow a little bit myself, I can say that it’s pretty magical for how drop-dead simple it is. However, it’s not perfect, especially when using footage shot at 24 or 30 frames a second. With that said, at 60fps or above, it really starts to shine, as you can see from the tutorial above.

So the best tip here, other than using Optical Flow, is to plan ahead a bit and optimize your footage so it looks great when slowed down. Even though this isn’t a cinematography blog, that means shooting at 60 frames per second (or higher if you have the option). It’s also a good rule of thumb to roughly double your frame rate when setting shutter speed, so go for 1/120 and you’ll be golden.

Lastly, like other PremiumBeat tutorials, this one has the ability to download the video and music assets so you can try for yourself on some nice footage. Just head over here and download them if you’re interested.