What Is Elapsed Time in Video Editing?

What Is Elapsed Time in Video Editing?

When it comes to video editing, one term that often comes up is “elapsed time”. But what exactly does it mean?

In simple terms, elapsed time refers to the duration of a video clip or sequence. It is the amount of time that has passed from the beginning of a video clip to its end.

Understanding elapsed time is crucial for any video editor, as it allows them to create seamless transitions between different clips and ensure that their final product flows smoothly. In this article, we will dive deeper into what elapsed time is and how it affects your video editing process.

Why Is Elapsed Time Important?

Elapsed time plays an important role in determining the pacing and rhythm of your video. If you have a fast-paced action sequence, for example, you may want to use shorter clips with quicker cuts to maintain the energy and momentum. On the other hand, if you have a more contemplative scene, longer shots with slower cuts may be more appropriate.

Another reason why elapsed time is important is because it affects how much footage you need to shoot. If you know that you need a 30-second clip for a certain part of your video, you can plan accordingly when filming so that you capture enough footage to create that clip without running out of material.

How Is Elapsed Time Measured?

In video editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro X, elapsed time is measured in frames or seconds. Most videos are shot at 24 frames per second (fps) or 30 fps. This means that if your clip is 60 frames long, it will be two seconds long at 30 fps (60 divided by 30).

To adjust the elapsed time of a clip in your editing software, you can use various tools such as trimming or extending the length of the clip. You can also use effects such as slow motion or time-lapse to alter the speed of the clip and thus its elapsed time.

How Does Elapsed Time Affect Transitions?

Transitions are an essential part of video editing, and understanding elapsed time is crucial for creating smooth transitions between clips. When transitioning from one clip to another, you want to make sure that the elapsed time of both clips matches up so that there is no awkward jump in time or pacing.

For example, if you have a clip that is four seconds long and you want to transition to a second clip, you may want to make sure that the second clip is also four seconds long or a multiple of four seconds (such as eight seconds) so that the transition feels natural and seamless.


Elapsed time is an important concept in video editing that affects everything from pacing and rhythm to transitions between clips. By understanding how it works and how it can be adjusted, you can create more polished and professional-looking videos. So the next time you sit down to edit a video, keep elapsed time in mind as you work on your project.