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How to Create Slow Motion Video From Drone Footage

In this tutorial we will learn how we can fake slow motion on our drone footage. Why would we ever need to do this? Well let’s say you have a drone shot that is perfect for your video, however it is just a few seconds too short. You can stretch that footage out a bit, emulating a natural slow motion look to add the extra few seconds to the shot you need! Let’s take a look at how this is done.

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1. Double Your Composition Length

First we will need to double the length of the composition for our shot, effectively doubling the length of our timeline in Adobe After Effects. Right-click in the grey area of your comp, and click Composition Settings. The go ahead and double the duration length.

Timeline and composition in Adobe After Effects

2. Time Stretch

Now right-click on your footage and select Time>Time Stretch

Select Time Stretch

Set the Stretch Factor to 200%. This is going to double the length of our original shot, which will also fill up the entire length of our longer composition timeline.

Time Stretch set to 200

3. Enable Pixel Motion

Now we need to get rid of the stutter effect on our footage. As it is right now, every frame from our shot has been duplicated: this creates a strobing effect. To get rid of this we need After Effects to interpolate between each frame, essentially creating new images in-between our original frames.

After Effects does this with what is called Pixel Motion. To enable it we need to click on the Frame Blending option for our clip twice, this will enable Pixel Motion. (Make sure to click it twice to see the smooth line on the icon.) Next enable the Frame Blending preview for the composition by clicking the flim-strip icon next to Motion Blur.

One thing to note is that the Pixel Motion effect will take longer to render in After Effects when it is enabled. However this effect can come in really handy in a pinch and can save a shot that might be too short.

Bonus Tip

As a cool bonus tip, you can spice up your slow motion drone footage by adding in video elements with an alpha channel. An obvious choice would be adding in birds to a drone shot to give it that extra cinematic edge. This Slow Motion Pigeon clip on Videohive is a great example of clips that work great! The clips also don’t even have to be or real footage, CG birds like this Bald Eagle can work just as effectively!

Mentioned in this tutorial