Adobe Premiere is packed with handy editing tools that can make your videos faster, slower, or a combination of the two. Below, we've shared how to use Premiere's Rate Stretch tool to get the most out of your available clips, so you can fill up empty space in your project when there's no other option, or create interesting time-warp effects.
What is the Rate Stretch tool?
Essentially, the Rate Stretch tool allows you to change the length of a clip by slowing it down, or "stretching" it. If you have three video clips loaded into your Premiere timeline, for example, and there's a gap between Clip 1 and Clip 2, you might need to extend Clip 1 to fill the entire space. However, Clip 1 might not have any more available footage. In that case, you'll need to use the Rate Stretch tool to slow down Clip 1, extending its length until it reaches Clip 2. Conversely, Rate Stretch can also be used to speed up clips and make them shorter.
How to Use Rate Stretch in Premiere
1. First, load your current Premiere project and find the area on your timeline that needs the Rate Stretch tool. You'll find the Rate Stretch icon in your main toolbar — it looks like a wavy arrow, bisected by a thick straight line. You can also select the tool by pressing the X key on your keyboard.
2. Next, click on the clip that you want to stretch or shorten, and drag in any direction. As you change the clip's length, the percentage value will adjust on the clip (located after the clip name, in brackets) so you can tell how slow or fast it is. For example, if the clip is labeled with "[35%]", that means it's playing at 35% of the original speed. Anything labeled over 100% will play faster than the original clip. When you're happy with the Rate Stretch adjustments, press Ctrl+S (or Command+S on Mac) to save your work.
3. Finally, the Rate Stretch tool can also be used to alternate sped-up and slowed-down sections of a clip, creating dramatic effect in a music video or montage. You can make a few cuts on a longer clip with the Razor tool, and then stretch or shorten individual sections with the Rate Stretch tool to adjust their speed. It's a low-budget way to create special effects like The Matrix.