iMovie ’09 Tip: Speed Clips 2,000%

iMovie ’09 brings back the capability to speed up or slow down clips, which went missing in iMovie ’08. Select a clip and bring up the Clip Inspector by double-clicking the clip, clicking the Inspector button on the toolbar, or pressing the I key.

Just as with its last appearance in iMovie HD 6, you can move a slider to make the video play back slower or faster (indicated by a turtle or hare icon). The slider lets you choose several speeds: 12.5%, 25%, 50%, 100% (normal speed), 150%, 200%, 400% and 800%.

speed_slider_400.png

You can also enter a value into the text field to the right of the slider, and this is where things get interesting. You’re not limited to the tick mark values on the slider, so you can set the speed to be 118% of normal if you want. The field below that tells you the clip’s changed duration.

But you can also exceed the boundaries of the speed slider. Enter any number between 5% and 2000%:

speed_slider_1786.png

Here’s what 2000% looks like, turning this 23 second clip into a 4.5 second blur:

Tip: If you’re not seeing a Speed slider, the video clip may need to be converted before iMovie can make speed adjustments. (This is the case with MPEG-4 video from Flip camcorders, for example.) In the Clip Adjustments pane, click the Convert Entire Clip button, wait a few minutes (because, as the button says, iMovie needs to convert the entire clip, not just the portion in your movie), and then the Speed slider is available.

Speed_convert clip

  1. For some reason I don’t get the turtle for speed on my imovie 09. It’s just “duration” and this just adds more of the clip I have edited not slowing the clip down. It’s really frustrating…..And I don’t see any reverse the clip option either. Can someone give me a tip?

    Reply

  2. Claudia, iMovie may need to convert the clip before it can make speed changes. Do you see a Convert Entire Clip button in the Speed area of the Clip Adjustments window? If your clip is an MP4 file (such as from a Flip camcorder), that could be the reason you don’t see the Speed slider.
    (I just updated the post to reflect this, since I’ve gotten the question before. Thanks!)
    Jeff

    Reply

  3. If you’re not seeing a Speed slider, the video clip may need to be converted before iMovie can make speed adjustments.

    Reply

  4. i’m having a similar problem, only i do not see a convert entire clip option. Mine only shows the stabilization and then the done button.

    Reply

  5. ok, i see the convert clip button now, but i get an error message every time

    Reply

  6. Jeff,
    I’m editing video from a flip camcorder in iMovie. When i convert the entire clip, i find that the video quality is dramatically reduced. Do you know if i’m just making it up or whether the conversion may be impairing the quality of my video?

    Reply

  7. Clark, the video quality shouldn’t be reduced, especially not “dramatically.” Which model of Flip are you using?

    Reply

  8. I have trouble converting clips. Once I convert them, I try to change the speed, but I still don’t see the speed slider. What am I doing wrong or what should I do? Please email me if you know.

    Reply

  9. James, can you walk through the steps of what you’re doing, and include what type of file you’re converting?

    Reply

  10. Guys I’m in a bind. I have iMovie 09, i have loaded a video that took 45 minutes to load. It’s an MPEG4. I have no option to convert the clip. is it because the movie is too long? I’m hoping to use the spped up feature. Should I quit and use a different program? Is there one you can recommend?

    Reply

  11. Well, first some of the videos I need to convert are in .mov. I pressed the convert the entire clip button and once it finished converting, I still saw no speed slider. That’s the part where I’m stuck.

    Reply

  12. James, what do you see in place of the Convert Clip button when the conversion is done? I just tried this using a .mov video shot with a Canon Powershot G11, which needed to be converted, and as soon as it was done converting, the Convert Entire Clip button turned into the speed slider.
    Have you tried deleting the com.apple.iMovie8.plist (and any other similar) file from your ~/Library/Preferences folder?

    Reply

  13. Todd: Did you put the clip into a project first? You won’t see the speed option in the Clip Inspector if you’re looking at a movie that’s still in the Event Library. Is it possible you clicked the Analyze for Stabilization button instead?

    Reply

  14. I did put the clip in first and no I didn’t click the Analyze for Stabilization button.

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  15. Once it finished converting, the button didn’t change. It was still the Convert Entire Clip.

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  16. My videos are from Youtube, but I converted them into .mov.

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  17. Huh. That’s odd. What did you use to convert them to .mov?

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  18. I used FLV Crunch.

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  19. I’m afraid I’m at a loss. Things to try that come to mind are to use something else to convert the file, in case FLV Crunch is applying some compression that iMovie doesn’t like; see if the same thing happens on another machine with the same video file; trash imovie’s prefs (mentioned above) and restart iMovie if you haven’t already done so.
    Sorry!

    Reply

  20. Actually, things are fixed now. The speed slider doesn’t show automatically, but it comes up later on. Thanks for all the help!

    Reply

  21. Okay, that’s just weird, but I’m glad it’s working!

    Reply

  22. Hey guys. I just installed iMovie 09, and put a clip in it that was previously used in iMovie 08. I’m trying to speed it up, and I understand how to, but all I get is the “Analyze Entire Clip” Button on the clip ajustment page. What should I do?

    Reply

  23. Should I click that and let it Analyze for Stabilization?

    Reply

  24. Aha… nevermind! I hadn’t moved it from the event library yet, so I was unable to see the convert clip option!. By the way… great site! has helped a lot! Thanks you guys!

    Reply

  25. wow. I’m not sure what is wrong, but I’m getting no rabbit or turtle options on clip inspector, and it is a movie (.mov) not another format, and i am double clicking it in the project itself and not the event library…
    ????

    Reply

  26. I am trying to change the speed of an imported picture. Unfortunately the inspector does not offer a speed option, and the convert button does not appear as an option.
    Help!

    Reply

  27. Rommel, if you’re working with a photo (versus a video clip), you need to change the duration of the clip. Double-click the clip and set a new Duration value.

    Reply

  28. hi, everytime i try to convert the clip, it doesn’t let me. It converts it, but the hair and tortoise sign doesn’t show up even if I have converted it multiple times!
    HELP!

    Reply

  29. Hi, great site…okay, where on earth is that “convert entire clip” button located? I dragged the clip in question from the library into a project- but there’s simply no “convert clip” thingie to be found…HELP!

    Reply

  30. Cool site. I’m a first-timer here.
    I’m working with video (1080p) from my HeroCam. I’m trying to speed up the clip, but when I move the slider over, hit DONE, then go back to play the clip, it disappears in the viewer, but I can still hear the audio.
    Weird.
    I tried to speed up some DV video and it worked fine.
    Any ideas?
    Thanks,
    Kings

    Reply

  31. Kings,
    The MPEG4 variant used by the HeroCam isn’t entirely compatible with iMovie. Download the free MPEG Streamclip to convert the footage first.
    http://www.squared5.com/

    Reply

  32. Green screen appears after converting video!
    Does this happen to anyone else?
    1. Import .mov as New Event
    2. Add to Project
    3. Click on Settings Wheel
    4. Select Clip Adjustments and then ‘Convert Entire Clip’
    5. Speed up or down
    6. Play .mov file and it appears as a plain green screen – the whole movie clip is unviewable 😦
    I cant understand where I m going wrong…
    I’m using imovie ’09
    Ciara

    Reply

  33. I am having an issue with iMovie where I am editing a wedding video. Everything was going smoothly with the first 20 clips or so, but now all the extra clips I am adding, from the same source, are automatically adjusting the speed, sometimes to 20% and I want everything at 50%. It won’t even let me change it back to normal speed. Anyone know what I am doing wrong??

    Reply

  34. Jay: That does sound weird. Have you restarted your computer? I wonder if iMovie is running out of memory (or the computer’s memory is fragmented) and is getting confused.

    Reply

  35. Yeah I did try restarting and everything and nothing seems to help. I did find a work around though, if the clip does that to me I just delete and redo and that seems to work. It is a bit annoying but it works.

    Reply

  36. Michael Maytorena February 26, 2011 at 12:22 am

    I’m am currently having the same problem claradoran is having with her iMovie 09. I’m using iMovie 11 and whenever I try and convert a .mov clip for speed adjustment the clip turns to a solid green state with audio but not my video???????? What is going on… If you can solve this one your a genius… I’ve looked everywhere for a solution

    Reply

  37. He there,
    I’m having a question about title speed in i movie 9.
    I would like to decrease the speed of my title.
    The only way I had found is to extand the title time, but it’s doesn’t the good solution for me because I need to put some other texte juste after.
    I need your help
    Thanks a lot

    Reply

  38. Thanks!! I needed to read some of the comments to solve some confusion. I didn’t know it HAD to be in a project. You should list that. But otherwise, thanks!

    Reply

  39. Hello,
    I’m trying to work with different speeds in a single clip (trying to edit my first snowboarding video). I have split the clip in several places to try to make the transitions smoother between going faster than normal and then slower during an interesting move, but it seems to end up cutting pieces of the video. When I play back the video, you can see there are small pieces missing that make the video look unnatural. I’m guessing that by cutting into very small frames and adjusting the speed I loose some info… Do you have any suggestions? It’s driving me crazy!!!
    Thanks a lot

    Reply

  40. Javi,
    When you add a transition, iMovie needs to pull some footage from the clips on each side of it, which I’m guessing is causing overlap and the disconnect that you’re seeing. Can you accomplish the edits without using transitions?
    Jeff

    Reply

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