How to Record and Edit Slow Motion Videos on Your iPhone

Slow motion video recording is one of the coolest features on the iPhone. Here’s how to use it.

The camera in the latest iPhones (and especially the iPhone X) is incredibly good. For slow motion video recording, it’s actually significantly better than many DSLRs.

On the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X, you can record 1080p video at either 120 or 240 fps. On the iPhone 7, you get 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps. To select which setting you want to use, go to Settings > Camera > Record Slo-mo.

Recording Slo-Mo Videos

Open your iPhone’s camera app and select Slo-Mo from the selector. You can also just swipe right twice. Slo-mo only works with the rear camera, so sadly you can’t start planning dramatic slow motion selfie videos.

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Recording slo-mo works like recording any regular video. Just tap the record button and point your phone at the subject to start; when you’re done, tap the record button again.

One thing to note is that slow motion videos take up a lot of space (in the region of 300MB to 500MB per minute of video). If you’re low on storage space, you should make sure not to record in slo-mo for too long. Similarly, you should only really use slo-mo to record things that need it.

Editing Slo-Mo Videos

By default, when you record a slo-mo video, the start of the video is regular speed, the middle of the video is in slow motion, and the end returns back to regular speed. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and the default video will perfectly capture what you want, but most of the time you’ll need to edit it.

Find the slo-mo video you want to edit in the Photos app and then tap the “Edit” option at the top right.

Let’s break down the editor interface. At the top you’ve got the Video Preview (1). Beneath it, you’ve got the Slow Motion Timeline (2), and the Video Timeline (3). You’ve also got the Cancel, Play, and Done buttons along the bottom.

The Slow Motion Timeline controls which bits of the video are in regular speed and which are in slow motion. The area of the timeline where the tick marks are close together (at the outer edges in the image above) are where it’s in regular speed; the widely spaced tick marks indicate slow motion.

To adjust which sections of the video are in slow motion, tap and drag on the small handles between the regular and slo-mo areas. Use the video preview to dial things in until you’re happy.

Quite often, when you record a slo-mo video, you’ll end up with areas at the start or end that you don’t want. This is where the Video Timeline comes in. Tap and drag at either edge to shorten the clip from the start or end. Again, use the preview to make sure things are as you want them.

When you’ve got the slow motion effect the way you want it, tap the “Done” button, and then the “Save as New Clip” button to save your edited version back to your Camera Roll.

The edited version becomes a new video, and does not replace the original.

Going Further

The iOS Photos app is great for making simple edits, but if you want more control over how slow the slow motion is (or want to have more than one section of the video appear in slow motion), you need to use a third-party app.

We love Slow Fast Slow, which is a totally free app, unsupported by ads. The apps developers, Studio Neat also sell physical products and use the app as a promotional tool.

With Slow Fast Slow, you use a waveform to adjust the speed of the video. Anywhere the wave is above the center line, the video moves faster than normal. Anywhere it’s below that line, the video moves slower. Tap and drag each point to adjust them or long tap on the line to add a new point.

If you want a bit more control over your slo-mo videos, Slow Fast Slow is the way to go.

Harry Guinness writes occasionally when he’s not busy skiing, sailing, partying, lifting weights, or otherwise dodging responsibility. His main areas of interest are himself, gin, and crazy people with interesting stories to tell. When people won’t pay him to write ill-thought-out opinion pieces, he covers photography, technology, and culture. You can follow him on Twitter.