Controlling Playback Speed in VLC Media Player

With VLC, you can easily control the playback speed of any media file. Playback speed relates to the speed at which the video is played. You can speed up the video or slow it down according to your wish. Speeding up will allow you to watch the video faster. Speeding up will also allow you to skim through the video while viewing all the parts. This will enable you to reach the part of the video where you previously left off. You will also be able to watch documentaries quickly which saves time while allowing you to take full benefit of the video.

For Android’s VLC app, see this post: Play Video, Audio Slow or Fast with Speed Controls

On the contrary, slowing down the video speed will allow you to watch the video in real detail. You will be playing at such slow speeds that the video will be moving from one frame to another, really slow. Using this feature, you can reach your favorite frame of the  video or watch your favorite scene in slow motion.

There are several uses of slowing down or speeding up a video. It is left up to your imagination and use. VLC allows us to control the speed of the video in two ways. One is by using shortcut keys or hotkeys and another way is by using menu and buttons. Both ways are good, but the shortcut option is simpler and quicker.

To control speed of a video in VLC using shortcuts:

Speed up: ] Key in keyboard
Speed down: [ Key in keyboard
Normal speed: = Key in keyboard

When you click on the speed up or speed down button, a confirmation is displayed on the top right of the video. Speed is displayed such as 1.50x or 0.80x depending upon how much you change it. You will also be able to change the shortcut keys if you want.

speed-control

To control speed of a video in VLC using menu and buttons:

From the VLC Menu Bar go to Playback > Speed and select a speed from options: Faster, Faster (fine), Normal, Slower (fine) and Slower.

speed-menu

The same options can also be accessed from the right click menu Playback > Speed.

right-click-speed

Clicking on those buttons will increase or decrease the speed of the video by a certain amount. Speed will be added or reduced to the current playback speed. For example: click on faster will add the speed by 0.50x.

Fine Tuning Audio/Video Speed

You can adjust the audio/video playback speed in VLC to the tiniest details. That means you can speed up your audio/video 1.06x times or 1.43 times. You’ll have to use the playback speed slider present in the status bar. It is at the bottom-right corner of the player, below the volume slider. It displays the current playback speed. If the status bar is not there, click on View > Status Bar to enable it.

  • Make sure an audio or video is playing; you can pause the content if you want.
  • Click on the speed indicator and a slider will open.
  • You can drag the slider towards the left to slow down and towards the right to speed up.
    Playback Speed Slider
    This slider allows you to configure the playback speed up to 1/10th fractional units.

Setting the Default Playback Speed

To set a default playback speed for all your videos, you will have to do it from the advanced VLC configurations accessible from Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P] and then selecting All radio box for Show settings option. This will display the Advanced Preferences for the player.

  • Click on Input / Codecs found once you open Advanced Preferences.
  • Under Playback control you will find Playback speed. Input a value up to two decimal places.
    Advanced Speed Settings Preferences of VLC
    This new value will be your default playback speed. You will have to stop and play a file again or you can restart your player to ensure that this new settings is in effect. You’ll have to visit this advanced preference again to reset it back to 1.00x.
  • Click Save at the end.

 

Video Tutorial

99 thoughts to “Controlling Playback Speed in VLC Media Player”

      1. The slower (fine) and faster (fine) hotkeys don’t seem to work on Mac.. the large adjustments (1x -> 1.5x) work, but the fine adjustments do nothing for me…

  1. I am trying to cut and save home videos but having a problem. I put the home video on VLC and I press the red button on the bottom to cut it in that spot, but I can not advance frames after I do that. I can not forward fast, skip frames, or back up at all. I tried to do the cntrl +, and I tried to slide the button forward or backwards but it just keeps skipping back to the frame I first pressed the red button at. How do I foward frames so I can cut up and save them?

  2. After changing the default speed to 0,5x and closing VLC, it simply doesn’t open anymore. Tried uninstalling and reinstalling, restarting the computer, but nothing worked. Anyone has been through this?

      1. With version 3.0.9.2, if you set the playback rate to 0.5, vlc hangs on startup (eg: –rate=0.5). Other values work fine, but 0.5 hangs.

  3. Little question, is it possible to remove the displayed speed data from the screen? Also on mac the toolbar editor doesnt seem to be available, actually the whole ‘tools’ menu doesnt seem to be there, any other way to get there?

    1. Try right-clicking on the mac. The speed data only displays for a short period of time when you change the playback screen. Isn’t it so?

  4. The bracket hotkeys don’t appear to always work on startup of playing a sound file in VLC, until you’ve already changed the speed using the menu or slider — then the keyboard shortcuts start working.

  5. How do i go above max playback speed of 31.25x? In earlier vlc-versions i could do approx. 64x

    1. Can you try the “Setting the default playback speed” section shown in the article above?

  6. The movie am watching has delayed voices,, the picture is in front but the voices are delayed. .Is there anything that can be done?

    1. Sounds like your movie has bad metadata. Many players derive “how fast it plays” from this, irrespective of actual framerate. You may be missing some frames or just have an AV sync error. Try reencoding as most apps automatically correct stuff ups like these on default settings.

      Using ffmpeg (usually installed by default on Linux-based systems, but available on most), a 90min movie takes ~10min on a cheap 8th gen intel chip. Install ffmpeg if not already present, then run “ffmpeg source.file new.file” from the CLI (“command line”) where “sourc.file” is video name and “new.file” is the output (new name) for the re-encode. The “file” (extension)is the container you want. Try using .mp4. Ffmpeg autodetects the correct settings, including framerate (should be 23.9x IIRC) and will write the metadata correctly normally. It _should_ also add blanks if missing or drop if too many. If it doesn’t, you _may_ have to manually tweak it with some parameters. For all options, read the manual “man ffmpeg” or check the Linux Die website which is a manpage archive.

      If ffmpeg isn’t available, try searching “H264” in your package manager. There are bound to be some video encoders for your system, even gui-based ones (though it may take longer to encode and more effort as these need to be run in graphical mode (X session), taking up more RAM on top of the RAM they themselves use).

      Hope that helps.

  7. I’m having a playback problem with hanging when I scrub in slow motion. My scenario is: I’m using VLC to watch guitar players in videos, to learn the songs by watching their hands. I typically slow it down to .67 or .50, then I will play through a section, stop it and move back a few seconds, going over and over a section until I learn it. The problem is when I jump back, VLC hangs, and won’t resume playback for several seconds, sometimes as much as 20 or 30. This is extremely annoying and makes learning difficult. The video is in 1280×720, H264 MP4 format. Plays perfectly at normal speed, plays fine in slow motion as long as I don’t stop and start. Computer is an older HP running Windows 7 Pro, however it has Core Duo processor at 3.07 Mhz, 8 gig ram, and a newer nvidia video card.

    1. Not sure if it is any help. Download newest version of VLC. Did you ever clean the W7? It can become slow, even on 8 gig Ram. Advance System Care Free (google) can clean up your system and give it a performance boost. Add Defrag, to defragment your files.

  8. Hoping there is someone here who can help me figure out a solution to a unique scenario I have here with VLC player.

    I have a 2nd display hooked up to my laptop and have set the “Fullscreen Display Device” to “\\.\DISPLAY2”. That works great but as soon as I switch to fullscreen mode, the VLC player interface disappears. I need a way to keep the VLC player visible on my laptop’s main screen while the video plays fullscreen on the external monitor so that I can see the timecode playback position and current playback rate status. The reason I need this is because I need to be able to speed up and slow down the video playback speed live, Using the “[” “]” and “=” keys and know what the current playback speed is without displaying it on the fullscreen output.

    Any ideas and help would be very much appreciated

  9. You can increase speed to infinity in latest version of VLC maybe that’s a glitch in there . That is freakin awesome if it would have been worked.

  10. The “fine-tuning” slider does not work as advertised in the current version (3.0), it moves in steps of a whopping 4.5% (1 > 1.04 > 1.09 etc.)! To actually “tune” audio (e.g. to correct dubs from analogue sources like vinyls, 78s, or older movies running subtly off-pitch), 1% steps (1 > 1.01 > 1.02 etc) would be barely adequate, in fact, one would need one digit of precision more (0.1% steps). But why not simply make the playback sampling rate flexible instead of the clumsy percentage conversion? Being able to change in 1-sample steps up and down from 44100 or 48000 would satisfy musical exactness and would for example allow users of musical instruments to fine-tune any audio so that they can play along in tune!

    1. I agree, and I can’t believe they did it this way. You can’t even access “whole” values like 1.25 — it’s either 1.23 or 1.28. What makes it particularly unbelievable is that when it comes to, for example, aspect ratios, VLC allows one to create a list of the *exact* aspect ratios desired, however many the user wants, and whatever precise ratios he wants, even if they’re not “standard” ratios one is likely to encounter. And there are a couple other settings like that as well, where the user can create his own custom list of values . . . but for some weird reason, VLC’s developers decided that, when it comes to playback speed, (a) no one needs to set their own values, and (b) no one needs more than the handful of awkward ones they intend to provide — in a word, RIDICULOUS. You really dropped the ball on that one, VLC.

  11. How many frames/picture per second am I watching when I watch at x1 speed? And then can I just multiply by 0,9 when I watch at x0,9 speed?

    1. the frames per second your video will have depends on the video itself, but commonly it’s around 30fps, and yes you can multiply that value by 0.9x if you watch at 0.9x speed

  12. 1.2 times 100% playback speed is indeed 120% as fast as normal, and will take 80% of the normal time to watch.

    1. I have to disagree. It’s indeed 120% of the normal playback speed but it will take ~83.3% of the usual time of the vid to watch. If we go with your logic. It means that if we’re watching a video with time speed 2x (200%), then it will take an amazing 0% of your normal time to watch, which is, let’s be realistic, quite convenient. I’ll just have to launch hundreds.. no, billions of videos at the same time with 2x speed and instantly suck out dat sweaatt knowledge outta them.

  13. I need to reduce playback speed of video from a Reflecta 8mm scanner that plays back at 30fps but should be 16 or 18fps

  14. Does anyone know what the percentage is? I mean is the speed 1,2 equal to 120% and speed 2,0 equal to 200% (double speed)? It’s just so I can calculate how long a video would need to play if I set on for example 1,33. Since time speeds up, I have no idea how long it will take for the video to play.
    Thanks!

    1. “Playing a video at 1.30 for instance speeds it up by 30% and reduces the time you spend watching it from beginning to end by 30% as well.”

      1. Actually the speed and time has a reversed connection to each other. A speed of 1.20x takes 0,833.. of the time. 1.25x takes 0.8, Proof: Double speed gives half the time – not zero time! (2.0x takes 0.5 of the time- event though it’s 100% faster it doesn’t reduce the time 100%)
        But to make it simple, you can divide the time with the speed factor to get the new play time.
        The connection between the two is 1/x. Where x is the factor. This is actually something that confuse a lot of people.

  15. Is it possible to low down speed of Audio file? currently using VLC player for audio purpose. during listening audio file if i select low speed option that audio is stopped?
    kindly reply

      1. using version 3.0.10 on windows 10. playback speed does not display as shown in the figure above.. no slider bar, nothing.. ..can control speed via menu but cannot tell what speed it’s on..

        1. Are you on a Mac? Because I think the interface on a Mac is different. On my Windows PC VLC 3.0.10 installation, I can still view the speed in the View > Status Bar area.

  16. I would like to be able to configure the amount that “fine” adjusts playback speed. For example, I have a lot of PAL sources that I’d like to play back at 96% speed. Unless there is a way for VLC to automatically detect 25Hz material and play it back at 96% speed, the next easiest thing would be for me to be able to configure the “[” and “]” buttons to work in increments of 4%. Possible?

    1. Yes, it is possible. The information is available under the “Fine Tuning Audio/Video Speed” heading in this post itself.

  17. good answer to how to speed up in VLC . it is possible to save these mp3/ vedios in that speed. if yes. then how to do that ?

  18. the most recent version does not have a speed indicator in the menu. How do I get it back? Which old version should I install?

  19. Which version of VLC is the playback speed default setting on ? I cannot find advanced preferences on new version? HELP!

      1. Please provide detail as to how one would do this. I have been trying to play my online lectures at 1.5x and 2x and they sound like chipmunks.

        These people get paid by the hour, so they speak very slowly and I have caught them decreasing the playback rate prior to recording so that they can meet quota for very brief lectures.

        In many places online there are mentions of plugins but the posts are 10+ years old and finding them has become difficult, if they exist anymore.

        Thank you

        1. The setting that I have seen to control it is by “Enabling Time-Stretching Audio” found under Tools > Preferences > Audio.

  20. I changed the speed to 5x and the video is very jumpy now. It freezes for 5 seconds then plays fast for a few seconds and freezes again. Repeats throughout video. Is there some known issue when trying to speed up a video too much?

    1. Of course, your PC can handle only so much information per period of time, thus impossible speeds of data managing are, indeed, impossible

  21. One of my students asked if there was a way to watch the course videos at faster than normal speed. A little searching turned up this page. My students will have to download the course videos rather than streaming them, but that shouldn’t be a problem for most of them. This should do the trick!

  22. Useful for some stuff, like videos, but too course to use for pitching audio up/down subtly. The Speed Selector slider if far too course. It needs to allow increments like .01%, preferably with arrow key support or some-such, too.

  23. Hi!
    Thank you for your good work!
    We can change the speed with the “slower” or “slower (fine)” hotkeys.
    But a “slower (EXTREMELY fine)”-hotkey (i.e. every 0.02) would be perfect for me while practising the guitar. Please give me any solution!

    1. Try “Fine Tuning Audio/Video Speed” and “Setting the Default Playback Speed” to control that level of playback speed.

  24. Request to edit this entry: The “Speed bar” shown in the above tutorial is not enabled by default. Advise adding ” if the speed control is not showing, you can enable it by navigating (in the upper pane controls) to View > Status bar.” Without this little addition the manual slider portion is confusing and not useful to many.

  25. Is it possible to start playing a file from command line in a certain speed? How?
    Or is it possible to make a playlist with asocciated playback speed?

    1. Yes it is possible to start playing a file from the command line at a certain speed. Here’s the line that you need to run:

      vlc --rate 3 myfile.mp4
  26. It took me a minute to figure out why I didn’t have that control. Make sure View->Status Bar is enabled.

  27. ok I had the same issue as Nate, I was able to control the speed with command and + or – but i can’t see the playback speed anywhere unless i open it from the top menu, I don’t have the Toolbar Element that you mention or anyway to customize it, is there any way i can actually see the playback speed on the toolbar?

      1. Thanks!! Status bar is just what I was looking for. Who says to never read the comments?! 🙂

  28. Is it possible to jump from normal speed (1.00) to a certain speed (e.g. 4x in my case) by pressing a key just once?
    Thanks for your answer!

  29. Ok I found it at the menu but it does not work like it does with microsoft. It can be done in increments. But this speed up is too fast or too slow. 🙁

    1. You should try adding the Toolbar Element called Speed selector from Customize > Toolbar. It will allow you to fine tune your playback speed as shown above.

  30. How to set it to 1.03 or 1.06 as it was long time before? I don’t want to set it on 1.10, it’s too much and unpleasure to watch.

    1. Use the playback speed indicator/slider present below the volume slider. Read the newly added “Fine Tuning Audio/Video Speed” in the article above to view the details.

  31. What is the best video format to play speeded up? I noticed that when I upload my video to youtube and speed up there the sound is much better. I would like to get the same sound in VLC.

  32. Is it possible to change speed to, for example, 1.70x or 1.20x. I’m not seeing those on the playback speed options…

    1. Yes it is possible. You don’t see it in the playback options. Just use the short cut keys [ and ] for your desired speed.

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