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Change Video Speed with FFmpeg

Liza Brown
Liza Brown Originally published Feb 09, 23, updated Jul 18, 24

Have you ever wanted to speed up or slow down a video? Maybe it was too long, or you wanted to draw out an exciting part of the video without having to watch the boring parts.

In this article, we will be showing you how to use FFmpeg to speed up and slow down your videos using CLI. You'll also find some other useful FFmpeg commands that you can use on your videos.

Finally, we will explain how to automate these commands so that you can run them on all your videos with ease.

how to automate these commands
In this article
  1. Part 1. What is FFmpeg?
  2. Part 2. How to Speed Up a Video in FFmpeg?
  3. Part 3. An Alternative to FFmpeg: Wondershare Filmora

Part 1. What is FFmpeg?

FFmpeg is a free and open-source cross-platform software project that can record, convert, and stream audio and video. It was developed by Fabrice Bellard in 2000. It has since become one of the most popular tools for transcoding media content on Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, Windows NT, and more.

One of its lesser-known capabilities is to speed up or slow down videos in just about any design you can think of — with either the audio or the video synced to the other if desired.

Uses of FFmpeg

FFMPEG is a command-line tool that can manipulate and transcode video files. Its uses are as follows:

  • FFmpeg can create, trim, join or separate video clips on the fly and encode them into formats including MPEG, VOB, M2TS, TS, RMVB, or AVI.
  • It can be used for Video processing, Video packaging support, Video compression, Audio, and Video container support, FFplay, and FFprobe.
  • It also has extensive options for altering the look of an image in just about any way imaginable. Whether you want to change the brightness, hue, saturation, or perform multiple operations like subsampling (resizing) without reducing quality—the list goes on!

You could think of it as the Swiss army knife for video manipulation tasks. The interface might seem intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, all commands are broken down into simple English phrases.

The most important thing to know before getting started with this is how to use FFmpeg's -i and -v flags for input and output, respectively. To apply effects like slow motion playback or fast motion playback, use these flags in tandem with one another when specifying which file should be edited.

Benefits and Disadvantages of FFmpeg

FFmpeg has many benefits over other video editing software because it is free and open source, meaning that you have access to the code so that you can modify it if needed. Thus, it's a better option when compared to other video editing software such as Avidemux, QuickTime Pro 7, and Adobe Premiere Elements 12. Some of these benefits include:

  • Being able to edit videos on multiple platforms (Windows, Mac OS X);
  • FFmpeg has features to speed up and slow down video;
  • Being able to convert from one format into another seamlessly;
  • An extensive amount of features are at your disposal.

Some of the drawbacks are that some settings are not configurable, like with YouTube's built-in editor. The main disadvantage, though, would be the lengthiness of the program's installation process: not only do you need to download FFmpeg itself but also three external libraries like libx264, libmp3lame, and libfaac; then you must compile all six packages before the installation completes. Luckily this process doesn't take very long.

Another possible disadvantage is the time required for downloading the various resources since they may not be readily available on standard file hosting sites such as Mediafire or Dropbox (though they can be found through third-party websites). If you're looking for something more robust than Windows Movie Maker or iMovie, we recommend checking out FFmpeg.

Part 2. How to Speed Up a Video in FFmpeg?

FFmpeg can be used to speed up videos. It's not the only option, but it's one of the most common ways to make your videos faster. If you want your video to be faster, then FFmpeg is the right tool for the job. Some speed-up features include: FFmpeg speed up video and audio, ffmpeg speed up video mp4, ffmpeg change video speed, and so on.

The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to speed up a video in FFmpeg

The presentation timestamp (PTS) of each video frame can be modified to alter the pace of a video stream.

Step1 Open a terminal and type in FFmpeg. This will open the program.

open the program

Step2 Drag and drop the video file onto the window.

Step3 This is accomplished with the command -filter:v "setpts=."

Step4 According to the documentation, fast motion requires: -filter:v setpts=0.5*PTS.

fast motion requires

Step5 Click Enter.

click enter

Step6 The result would be a sped-up version of your video.

Part 3. An Alternative to FFmpeg: Wondershare Filmora

FFmpeg is the best video editor in this e-market, and it's totally free! The only problem with this software, however, is that it isn't very easy to use for some newbies. If you're looking for an alternative to FFmpeg but want one with amazing editing capabilities, Wondershare Filmora should be on top of your list! Here are some key features that make Filmora stand out among other video editors.

Wondershare Filmora has all the features you need in a video editor and is also easy enough for beginners to use. It is also compatible with Windows and Mac OS, which means there are no issues with compatibility.

One of the best features of this software, compared to FFmpeg, is its simplicity. With just a few clicks and by following the on-screen instructions, it can be used to create videos that are visually appealing and fun.

Free Download
Free Download

The supported formats of Filmora are Video formats (AVI, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MKV, WMV), Video codecs (AVC1, MPEG-4 AVC, VC1/WMV3), Audio formats (AC3/DTS), Picture formats (JPG/JPEG). Supports up to 4K resolution.

Filmora also offers extensive editing features, including:

  • Speed Ramping: To produce distinctive dramatic effects, change the speed of your film while having more control over your keyframes.
  • Preset Templates: Making a creative film is straightforward using the built-in Filmora Preset template
  • Mask and Blend: The masking and blending features in Filmora are user-friendly and packed with valuable capabilities.
  • AI Portrait: Easily identify people in your film and increase the fun factor when editing it.

Major approaches to speed up a video in Filmora

As we know that Filmora has the option to change the speed of a video, so let's find out step-by-step how to do that; you can also watch this Tutorial on Youtube:

Method 1: Use the 'Fast' or 'Slow' option to change the speed

Just as simple as the heading is, this option is pretty straightforward, but you cannot decide how much speed you want to add to your video or how slow you want it to be.

Method 2: Changing Uniform Speed in Wondershare Filmora

You need to check your video's FPS and import your clip first.

Pick your preferred video. Go to the menu and select "Download." After hitting the "Plus" button, you may maintain the video's quality by choosing "Match to Media."

go to the menu

After the movie has loaded, you have two options: double-clicking the clip or selecting the speed option provided below the screen.

double clicking the clip

A window appears when we double-click the chosen video. We shall navigate to the "SPEED" section beneath this window. Additional "Uniform Speed" and "Speed Ramping" panels may be found on this speed panel. We shall operate within the uniform speed panel to alter the video's tempo consistently. A slider is provided for us to adjust the movie's pacing.

The general speed of the film is continually increased or decreased when we choose the option for constant pace. If we choose the speed option on the screen, it gives us a built-in range of numbers that we can use to change the video's pace in addition to presets like rapid and regular slow.

rapid and regular slow

Once we click "OK," the video's tempo adjusts automatically.

Method 3: Adjusting the Fast/Slow motion to fit your movie using the Speed Ramping option

To set up the speed ramping feature for your video, double-clicking the video will give us access to the "SPEED RAMPING" option in the speed panel. When we select the speed ramping option, we see a range of graphs. Each graph shows a number of tempo variations that we may use in our movie.

For Instance, when we select the "MONTAGE" preset, the video's tempo changes based on how many keyframes we choose and at what rate. As previously stated, as the graph rises above one and falls below one, the movie's tempo will slow down, increasing its regular speed.

increasing its regular speed

Moving these keyframes higher will make the video go more quickly, while moving them downward will make the movie move more slowly. We may also add more keyframes by using the add button up top, as seen in the image. When satisfied with our results, we will produce the video after pressing the "OK" button.

Watch this video and know more about speed ramping.


In conclusion, the first thing you can do to speed up your video is to use FFmpeg. The FFmpeg project is a community-driven, non-profit collaborative project to develop and maintain an open-source code library for handling multimedia files, including video. It has many features including ffmpeg speed-up video, ffmpeg slow-down video, etc. FFmpeg is free software and supports many platforms, including Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android.

Filmora is another great alternative that allows users to speed up their videos much more easily than using FFmpeg alone. Moreover, it has built-in tools that allow users to automatically detect if there are any issues with their videos. Filmora also offers a wide range of features that you may not find in FFmpeg.

Liza Brown
Liza Brown Jul 18, 24
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