How to Slow Video to a Still Frame in Final Cut Pro

Posted on by Larry

[ This effect works in any version of FCP from about 10.3 onward.]

It is easy to create a still frame (called a “hold” frame) in Final Cut. Press Shift + H. This creates a freeze frame at the position of the playhead that slams a clip from full-speed into a still image.

But, what if you want to slow from full-speed into a still image? You can, but it takes an extra step. The easiest way is to create the hold frame first, then slow the video to meet it.


(Footage courtesy of Hallmark Broadcast.)


Select the Range tool (shortcut: R) and drag to select the region in the clip that you want to gradually slow. Make SURE the selection ends at the hold frame.

NOTE: To assure this, I generally START drawing the range at the hold frame, then drag back to the left.

From the speedometer menu at the bottom left of the Viewer, choose Speed Ramp > to 0%.

NOTE: Speed ramps are variable speed sections of a clip that start at full speed and slow to a stop, or begin at the hold frame and speed up.

Final Cut creates a gradually slowing section of video matching the duration of the range you just selected that starts at full speed and gradually slows to a stop at the hold frame.

Here’s what it looks like in the timeline. The orange bars represent gradually slowing sections of video. Each of the four orange bars is running slower than the one to its left.

If you need to adjust the duration of the hold frame, drag the vertical black bar as needed. (A hold frame can be any duration you need.)

NOTE: Whenever you change the speed of a clip, the duration of that clip also changes. Slowmo makes clips run longer.


To start with a hold frame and gradually speed up, use the Range tool to select a portion of the clip STARTING with the hold frame and ending where you want full speed to resume.

Again, from the speedometer menu select Speed Ramp > To 100%. This, too, will modify the duration of the clip.


If you need the speed change to span more than one clip, create a compound clip, then apply the speed ramp to the compound clip.

While you can adjust the duration of each orange speed section by dragging the black line at the right of each section, most of the time this isn’t necessary. Dragging the edge of a gray transition bar (separating each speed section) adjusts the transition speed from one section to another. In this case, too, adjustments are generally not needed.

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