Adobe Premiere Pro Post Production Video Editing Software

Playback Speed in Premiere Pro: Everything you need to know

When editing in Premiere Pro you will always want to play your clips back multiple times. playback speed in Premiere Pro is key to this, as well as the playback quality you want to utilise when reviewing your clips. 

In today’s article, we will run through the basics of playback speed in Premiere Pro and how best to set this up. 

Let’s check out all things playback speed down below! 

Playback Speed in Premiere Pro: Everything you need to know

Why is the playback speed in Premiere Pro important? There are many reasons for this, you may be analysing a shot to ensure you’ve got the correct transition into the next scene blended perfectly. 

Or, you may be looking at speeding up a certain scene to create a montage, either way, you’ll want to adjust your playback speed in Premiere Pro accordingly. 

Here are a few techniques to help you nail the basics!

How to fast forward or speed up playback in Premiere Pro

To speed up the playback, simply use this keyboard shortcut. Whilst previewing the clip, press ‘L’ on your keyboard. The more you press the ‘L’ button the quicker Premiere Pro will play your clip back to you. 

If you hold down the Shift key whilst pressing the ‘L’ button, you will increase the speed of the playback in much smaller steps. This is far easier to control and perfect if you’re looking at the clip in detail.  

You may also be interested in reading How to create a keyboard shortcut in Premiere Pro

How to rewind a clip in Premiere Pro

Next up is the reverse, it’s how to rewind a clip back in Premiere Pro. To rewind the clip, you simply press the ‘J’ key on your keyboard, and this will immediately rewind your clip. 

Similar to the above, the more you press the ‘J’ key, the quicker your clip will rewind. So keep pressing the ‘J’ key to get back to the beginning as quickly as possible. 

How to reduce the speed of your playback in Premiere Pro

Pretty simple but a great shortcut to use when viewing a clip. To simply reduce the playback speed of your clip, when viewing the clip in fast forward, reduce the speed by pressing the ‘J’ key. 

The more your press the ‘J’ key, the slower the clip plays until reaching a standstill and then eventually playing the clip in reverse. It’s the same as a remote control, so you can adjust this accordingly by using the ‘J’ and ‘L’ keys on your keyboard, depending on the speed you need.

Also, the ‘K’ key sits between J and L – and this is your pause button. Easy enough to navigate and will speed up your editing workflow in Premiere Pro in no time!

You may also be interested in How to export a video from Adobe Premiere Pro

How to playback a clip in slow motion in Premiere Pro

Slow-motion playback in Premiere Pro is a pretty essential weapon in all video editors armoury (if they use Premiere Pro!). 

To play a clip back in slow motion, follow these simple steps: 

If you shot your footage in relatively normal Frames per second, you’ll want to reduce the playback settings to around 24fps.

This will allow you to view them in slow motion. To do this in Premiere Pro, simply highlight your desired clip or clips you wish to slow and right-click on them.

Then in the Project Panel, click Modify > Interpret Footage. A pop up will appear. 

playback settings in Premiere Pro

The popup will ask you if you want to use the same frame rate as the clips were captured in or if you want to use a new frame rate. Select the second one, “Assume this frame rate” and then enter your new desired frame rate of 24fps. 

Premiere Pro Playback - Interpret footage

And now, you can view your footage in slow motion in the playback module. 

*Remember, if you shot your footage in 24fps, this isn’t a function you’ll need to use; remember, this is strictly for slowing down footage shot at a normal or fast frame rate. 

What should I do if the playback is lagging in Premiere Pro?

This happens often, and there are a few reasons why your playback speed is slow and lagging in Premiere Pro. 

We’ve written a full article on how to optimise Premiere Pro, and we go into a lot of detail on how to run Premiere Pro at its optimum performance. 

But here are a few of the most common reasons Premiere Pro is lagging; let’s check them out!

Reduce the playback resolution

Firstly, look at reducing the playback resolution in Premiere Pro. You’ll probably notice the playback resolution is at a high level; reducing the playback resolution in Premiere Pro has no impact on your exported version of your project. 

By reducing the playback quality, you’ll see an instant improvement when it comes to playback speed. It will be much smoother and stop any additional lag from occurring. 

To fix this, simply go to your playback tab, and at the bottom, you’ll see a little bar (see below). 

playback speed in Premiere Pro

Select the playback resolution bar and move it to ½ or ¼ – the quality will be lower, but its speed will be a huge difference. Remember, the export will be at the quality you select in the export tab, and the playback resolution has no impact. 

Disable your clips when you’re not using them

When you’re not using the clips or editing them in the timeline, make sure you disable them. As a default, all of your tracks in the timeline are enabled.

However, this causes you to use a lot of CPU and will drastically affect Premiere Pros performance. 

To stop this lagging, simply disable the clip.

To disable your clips in Premiere Pro, simply hold down cmd+shift+e – for Mac or ctrl+shift+e for Windows. If you want to enable them, use the same buttons above, re-enable your clips. 

You may also be interested in 6 ways to optimise Premiere Pro’s performance

We hope this article on “Playback Speed in Premiere Pro: Everything you need to know” was useful to you today; please let us know your thoughts down below in the comments. Feel free to scroll a little further to access our latest Premiere Pro resources down below. 

Happy editing!

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