What is Undercranking?

Undercranking is a technique used in video editing to create a fast-motion effect in a scene. It involves capturing footage at a slower frame rate than the standard frame rate used in the final video. When played back at the standard frame rate, the action appears to be sped up, resulting in a visually dynamic and energetic effect.

How Does Undercranking Work?

Undercranking works by capturing footage at a lower frame rate, usually between 12 to 18 frames per second (fps), compared to the standard 24 or 30 fps. When the undercranked footage is played back at the standard frame rate, it appears to be moving faster than normal, creating a fast-motion effect.

To achieve undercranking, you can manually adjust the camera settings to a lower frame rate or use software to alter the playback speed of the footage during the editing process. It’s important to note that undercranking can result in a loss of smoothness and detail in the footage due to the reduced number of frames captured.

Benefits of Using Undercranking

  • Dynamic Action: Undercranking can add a sense of speed and excitement to action scenes, making them visually captivating for viewers.
  • Time Compression: By speeding up the action, undercranking can compress time and condense longer events or actions into shorter, more engaging sequences.
  • Visual Impact: The fast-motion effect created by undercranking can grab the audience’s attention and convey a sense of urgency or intensity in a scene.

Limitations of Undercranking

  • Loss of Detail: Due to the reduced number of frames captured, undercranked footage may appear less smooth and may lose some level of detail.
  • Artificial Appearance: The fast-motion effect can sometimes create an unnatural or exaggerated look, which may not be suitable for all types of videos.
  • Audio Considerations: When undercranking, the audio recorded at normal speed may become out of sync with the fast-motion footage, requiring additional adjustments during the editing process.

Applications of Undercranking

Undercranking can be used creatively in various ways by video editors, filmmakers, influencers, and YouTubers to enhance their content:

  • Action Sequences: Undercranking can add intensity and excitement to action scenes, making them more visually impactful.
  • Time-Lapse Videos: By undercranking footage of slow-moving events or processes, it is possible to create visually appealing time-lapse videos.
  • Comedy and Entertainment: Undercranking can be used to create comedic effects or exaggerated movements, adding humor and entertainment value to videos.


Undercranking is a video editing technique that involves capturing footage at a slower frame rate than the standard, resulting in a fast-motion effect when played back at the normal frame rate. It can add dynamism, compress time, and create visual impact in videos. However, undercranking also has limitations, including a potential loss of detail and an artificial appearance. Understanding the applications and considerations of undercranking can help video editors, filmmakers, influencers, and YouTubers effectively utilize this technique to enhance their content.

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