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How to Add Speed Ramps to Drone Videos in Adobe After Effects

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A stylish technique often seen on drone footage is the speed ramp effect. A lot of popular Youtube vloggers, such as Casey Neistat, use this technique.

Essentially, you start with a long drone shot flying at normal speed. Then, to spice things up, the footage ramps up to a much faster speed and then quickly slows down again. This also helps to cover great distance in a quick amount of time, while also conveying that to the viewer and letting them see the surroundings.

1. Turn on Time Remapping

First you will need to enable Time Remapping on your footage. (Don't forget to download the example clip included in the Project file for this tutorial!) Right click on your footage in the After Effects timeline and click Time>Enable Time Remapping.

enable time remappingenable time remappingenable time remapping

Now you can add keyframes throughout your clip for where you would like your clip to speed up and speed down. Add one at each instance, speeding up and then again at the time you would like it to slow back down. Now move the keyframes for the faster "speed ramp" sections closer together, but leave the normal speed sections the same distance apart.

add keyframesadd keyframesadd keyframes

2. Smooth Out Your Keyframes

Easily smooth our your keyframes by selecting all of them and then Control-click on one of the keyframes. This will create roaming keyframes (the icons should now look round, like dots) and they will help smooth out the speed ramp animation. 

roaming keyframesroaming keyframesroaming keyframes

3. Add in Motion Blur

Enable Frame Blending on your footage by clicking under the film-strip icon for your footage in the timeline. This will add natural motion blur onto your shot. You can preview this by also enabling Enabling Frame Blending on the timeline preview. (You will see this as the larger film-strip icon above your timeline, located next to Motion Blur.)

4. Remove Color Banding

In some cases you may get a bit of color banding on your footage. You can easily remove this by adding an adjustment layer above your footage and then adding a Noise effect to it. Set the noise value to around 4% with color noise enabled.

Faux motion blurFaux motion blurFaux motion blur

Bonus Tip

What is a Speed Ramp effect without an awesome sound effect to go along with it? Be sure to accent your speed ramps with proper "whoosh" type sound design. I prefer sounds with more deeper bass tones that helps sell the wind passing by the viewer at high speeds. This Deep Whoosh sound effect from AudioJungle is a great example. I also really dig the cinematic tone of this Whoosh Impact. Search all of the various whoosh sound effects on AudioJungle to find the one that works best with your drone footage!

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