Adding freeze frames to your project is one of those editing techniques that ends up being useful in a huge variety of scenarios. These can be frames that you hold on in the timeline, screenshots that you export from your editing interface, or even time-remapped still images that you can then use throughout your edit.
Among the things you can use freeze frames for are imitating a still image to add emphasis to the visuals, pausing on someone’s face to introduce a character, or simply creating a thumbnail to use for your video online. It’s all up to your style, and it’s all super quick and easy using Adobe Premiere Pro.
1. Setting Frame Hold Options
Frame holds are exactly what they sound like. They use whatever frame you choose and “hold” it. You can then drag that held frame to your desired duration or location on the timeline. Frame holds don’t create any new media in the project, just a new segment in the timeline that can then be edited.
To get started, you can set how you want your frame holds to work. Select any clip in your timeline, then go to the toolbar and click Clip > Video options > Frame Hold Options. Check the box to “Hold On” (leaving it unchecked will remove the holds on selected frames), then select the option you want. Now, you can choose how you want to get the frame.
Source Timecode: This option allows you to hold on any frame from throughout the source media’s duration, regardless of the size of the section you have in the timeline. Drag the numbers left or right to select the frame you want, based on the timecode.
Sequence Timecode: This option allows you to make a still frame of any point from the clip in the sequence, and is limited to the length of the edited clip. Again, drag the numbers left or right to select the frame you want, based on the timecode.
In Point: This uses the first frame of the clip in the sequence, not an actual “in point.” Trimming the clip at the in point will automatically adjust the still frame to match.
Out Point: This uses the last frame of the clip in the sequence, just like the in point option. Trimming the clip at the out point will automatically adjust the still frame to match.
Once you choose your preferred option and hit OK, a frame hold will turn the entire selection into the frozen frame. If you’re not happy with it, you can easily change to a different frame with the slip tool (Y) — just click and drag left or right to your preferred frame. To remove a hold, right-click on the freeze frame, go to Frame Hold Options, then uncheck the “Hold On” box and hit OK.
Checking the Hold Filters box means that any keyframes that are present will not animate for the duration of the frame hold segment, and the values at the held frame will be used.
2. Inserting a Frame Hold Segment
Instead of bringing up the options every time you want to make a freeze frame, you can find the frame you want to freeze, position the playhead on it, then right-click and select “Insert Frame Hold Segment.” A two-second freeze frame will appear between the moving layers, which you can trim and move around just like before.
This inserted segment will actually cut every layer in the timeline and push it to the right, so be sure to lock any layers that you don’t want to move, especially if audio and video layers are synced together.
3. Adding a Frame Hold
The way to create a frame hold without moving anything is by simply adding one. Position the playhead where you want the freeze frame to start, then right click and select “Add Frame Hold.” A freeze frame will be made at that point through the rest of the clip’s duration.
4. Exporting a Frame
There’s another way to create a freeze frame that actually creates a new piece of media that lives in your project. To do this, select the frame in either your source or program monitor and find the Export Frame button (a camera) and click it. When the box pops up, you’ll see the image’s name with the timecode attached to the end. You can change this to whatever you want, then set your preferred file type, and change the save location. Always check to make sure that the “Import Into Project” button is checked before clicking OK, which will send the file right into your project for use. The exported frame will be a different color when it’s on the timeline.
*Note: As of Premiere Pro CC 2019, these functions are not set to shortcut keys by default. Create shortcuts for them in the keyboard shortcuts menu by typing “frame hold” in the search bar, then dragging each of these functions over to the shortcut of your choice.
5. Time Remapping
The last way to create a freeze frame is by using the time-remapping function. Right-click on the clip’s fx badge and select Time Remapping. A rubber band will appear in the middle of the clip that represents the clip’s speed. Create a new keyframe by control/command-clicking at the frame you want, then control + alt + click (PC) or option + command + click (Mac) and drag the keyframe to where you want the frame to end. The section between these keyframes will be a still frame, denoted by vertical lines near the top of the clip.
In order to move either keyframe, you need to create a ramp. Select the left half of the left speed keyframe and drag it to the left, and the right half of the right keyframe to the right. Next, click the keyframe until the gray section appears and drag it left/right. Dragging the first keyframe changes the held frame, and dragging the second keyframe changes the held frame’s duration.
Freeze frames are extremely versatile in editing, so don’t underestimate how much you can use them as a storytelling element, or for creating shareable stills of your project. Either way, all of these methods for making them are easy to pick up, so you can start employing quickly, easily, and often!