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Bring iPhone Slo-Mo Videos Back Up to Speed

The Slo-Mo video capture mode on the iPhone 5s and later, and on the iPad Air 2, is a fun way to slow time. One TidBITS reader discovered, however, that it isn’t always welcome. The canonical way to switch between modes in the Camera app is to swipe the mode names, but you can also swipe anywhere on the screen. It’s a neat tip, but it also means that it’s easy to change modes accidentally.

If you inadvertently switched to Slo-Mo mode when you meant to use Video mode, or if you shot some slow motion video that you want to convert to real time, here’s a workaround.

But wait, why a workaround? Surely it’s possible to remove the Slo-Mo effect, right? Yes. When viewing a Slo-Mo video in the Photos app, tap the screen to view the filmstrip and the playhead (the progress bar that you can drag to “scrub” through the video). Beneath the filmstrip is the Slo-Mo control that determines when the effect begins and ends. Drag the leftmost Slo-Mo handle all the way to the right; when you play the video, the slow motion disappears.

The problem is that you can’t then save the real-time version of the movie. The Photos app considers it the same movie, just with different Slo-Mo points.

[Author’s note: Shortly after publishing this article, I learned about a free app that can do exactly what we’re looking for. Using Slow Fast Slow by Studio Neat, you can open a Slo-Mo video and then export it straightaway — the default is to start with the video in real time. The app enables you to set speed points along the video’s timeline, slowing down or speeding up the footage smoothly. In light of this development, please consider the following iMovie workaround an interesting diversion, or a curious introduction to some of iMovie’s advanced features.]

Instead, you need to take a trip through the iMovie for iOS app. Create a new project, import your clip, remove the slow-motion effect, and save the new version. This workaround isn’t especially pretty, but it works — don’t let the number of steps scare you off.

  1. Open the iMovie app and create a new project by tapping the + button and choosing Movie (versus Trailer) as the type.

  2. Choose the Simple template if it’s not already front and center and tap Create.

  3. Tap the Media button (an icon of a filmstrip and a music note).

  4. Locate the clip, probably by tapping Recently Added or the All.

  5. Tap the clip to select it, and then tap the down-facing arrow to add it to your project.

  6. Tap the clip in the timeline, which reveals editing tools.

  7. Tap the Speed icon (second from left).

  8. Tap the Reset button at right, which removes the slow-motion effect.

  9. Tap the < button at top-left to go to the project’s information screen.

  10. Tap the Share button (with the upward-facing arrow).

  11. Scroll down if necessary and tap the Save Video button.

The new video clip, without the speed effect, appears in your photo library.

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