How to Change the Speed of a YouTube Video Without Negatively Impacting the Audio

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There are lots of reasons you may want to speed up or slow down the playback speed of a video on YouTube. You know, it wasn’t that long ago that if you wanted to watch somebody do something you had to physically be present. Now, anything, both good and bad, is just a click or two away. In my opinion that’s both a good and a bad thing (haha). Self-education is very easy to practice nowadays, compared to just 10 years ago.

Perhaps you think better if you can paraphrase what you’re hearing in your head. Or maybe you’re like me, and you lose focus on podcasts unless they’re talking a little bit faster than the average person. Here’s a lifesaving tip, and a few interesting things, regarding audio’s pitch in relation to its originally recorded speed.

Generally, if you speed up or slow down a video, the pitch of the audio changes too. The faster you speed it up, the more the pitch increases (chipmunks, anyone?). On the other hand, slowing will make all the audio lower, until you slowly lose any distinguishing elements of the sound. You don’t want that in your videos, do you?

Worry not. YouTube’s speed feature has you covered as it does not alter the quality of the audio in the video, regardless of if you slow it down, or speed it up. Rather, the feature works by expanding or compressing the video and audio to maintain the original pitch during playback. Vocals will certainly sound a little different, but the pitch is relatively unaltered. Similarly, with music, any alterations do slightly alter the tone, dynamics, and texture of the music. However, it will retain pretty much the exact same feeling and pitch, just faster or slower.

To change the playback speed of any given YouTube video, in a web browser you start by clicking the gear button in the lower-right part of the video’s playback bar. A menu will pop up, offering several options. Select the Playback speed option and choose the desired speed (0.25 to 2 times). When you are finished, click outside the menu to close it. Resume playing back the video. It will play at the selected speed.

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If you are on a mobile phone open the YouTube app and start playing the video you intend to speed up or slow down. As the video plays, tap the screen once to bring up the toolbar, then tap the three vertical dots in the upper-right-hand part of the video. A menu will open up offering several options. Select Playback speed, which opens up a list of the available playback speed options. Choose the desired speed by tapping on it and close the menu to resume playing back the video. The video will resume playing at the speed you just chose.

That’s all they wrote, so sit back and enjoy watching!

Will Young
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