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How to Freeze Frame in Premiere Pro – 4 Pro Methods

freeze frame

Welcome to our comprehensive guide, “How to Freeze Frame in Premiere Pro”. In this article, we will delve into the world of video editing using Adobe’s Premiere Pro, a leading tool among professionals and enthusiasts alike for creating stunning visual content.

The focus of our discussion today is the freeze-frame effect, a technique often employed to bring attention to a specific moment in your footage, create suspense, or add a dramatic flair to your narrative.

Whether you’re an experienced editor or a beginner stepping into the vast realm of video editing, understanding how to incorporate a freeze frame can significantly enhance your storytelling abilities.

We’ll guide you step by step through the process, ensuring you grasp not only the ‘how’ but also the ‘why’ behind this technique. So, let’s pause for a moment, quite literally, and learn how to freeze frame in Premiere Pro.

What exactly is a freeze frame in Premiere Pro?

A freeze frame is a technique used in video editing where a single frame or image is paused or “frozen” for an extended period, giving the illusion that time has stopped in the video. This method has been popular in cinema and television for decades, often used to emphasize a specific moment or detail in the narrative.

Freeze frames can serve various purposes. They can highlight a crucial moment in the story, create a sense of suspense, allow for narration or commentary, or offer comic relief. While it is a relatively simple concept, the creative use of a freeze frame can have a profound impact on the viewer’s experience, adding depth and creativity to the video content.

In a broader sense, the freeze frame can also be understood as an element of “stillness” within the motion, offering a chance for both the characters within the story and the audience themselves to pause and reflect. This narrative tool, when used effectively, can significantly enhance the overall storytelling.

Examples of a freeze frame being used in cinema

The freeze frame technique has been used in many popular movies throughout the history of cinema. Here are a few notable examples:

Rocky (1976)

The freeze frame is effectively used in this iconic sports drama when Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) reaches the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, symbolizing his readiness for the big fight.

Rocky freeze frame

The Breakfast Club (1985)

The John Hughes classic uses a freeze frame at the end, with Judd Nelson’s character triumphantly raising his fist in the air, creating an image that has since become an iconic representation of teen rebellion.

Breakfast club freeze frame

Goodfellas (1990)

Martin Scorsese’s mob drama frequently employs freeze frames, most memorably to introduce the audience to the main character’s life in the mafia.

Goodfellas freeze frame

4 Methods to freeze frame in Premiere Pro

1. Export a frame

Think of the export frame feature as a magic camera that can capture a single moment from your video and turn it into a picture. This is really handy if you want to share a cool shot from your video on social media or make a thumbnail for your video.

Here’s how you do it: Look for a camera icon at the bottom of the screen where your video is playing (this is called the source or program monitor). Click on that camera icon, which is your magic “export frame” button.

Export frame option

When you click it, a new window will pop up. This window lets you choose how and where to save your picture. You can even choose different picture formats, such as “JPEG“, “PNG” or “TIFF“. It’s as simple as that!

Export frame

2. Frame hold options

One of the easiest ways to add a freeze frame is within the timeline itself. Right-click on your clip in the timeline and select ‘Add Frame Hold‘. A still frame will then be added to the timeline that you can edit and move around like any other clip. You can also access frame hold options by right-clicking on the clip, where you’ll have options to set the in point, the out point, and an option for the still frame to be set to where the playhead is.

3. Time remapping

Time remapping is a slightly more advanced technique. First, right-click on the FX icon on your footage inside the timeline. Then, go over to ‘Time Remapping > Speed‘. A white strip known as a rubber band will appear in the middle of your clip.

The line underneath the rubber band can be dragged up or down to change the overall speed of the clip. Command or CTRL clicking on this line will create keyframes. You can click on any of the keyframes and use the keyboard shortcut ‘Command (control) + Option (alt)‘ to create a still frame.

4. Insert a frame hold segment

If you select ‘Insert Frame Hold Segment‘, a still frame will get sandwiched between your video. This is a great technique to use if you want to focus on a particular point in your video. The frame hold segment is only a couple of seconds by default, but you can change and edit the clip like any other media in Premiere Pro.

Common use cases of a freeze frame in Premiere Pro

A freeze frame can be a versatile and effective tool in video editing when used thoughtfully and in the right context. Here are some situations where incorporating a freeze frame can enhance your storytelling or convey a specific emotion:

  • Emphasize a moment: Freeze frames can be used to highlight a crucial or emotionally charged moment in your video, drawing the viewer’s attention to a specific action or expression. This could be a significant plot point, a character’s reaction, or a visually striking event.
  • Build suspense: By freezing a frame at a critical point in the narrative, you can create a sense of anticipation, leaving the audience eager to know what happens next. This technique works well in action, thriller, and mystery genres, where suspense is a key element.
  • Narration or commentary: A freeze frame can be an excellent opportunity to introduce voice-over narration or commentary that provides context, insight, or humor to the scene. By pausing the action, you create space for the viewer to absorb the information without missing any ongoing visuals.
  • Transitions: Freeze frames can be employed as transitions between two scenes or different parts of your video. By freezing the last frame of a scene, you can smoothly transition to the next while establishing a connection between the two.
  • Comic effect: In comedic videos, freeze frames can be used to punctuate a joke or create a visual gag. Pausing at the right moment can heighten the humor, making the viewer more engaged and entertained.
  • Introducing characters: In some cases, a freeze frame can be used to introduce a new character, accompanied by text or graphics that provide the character’s name, role, or other relevant information. This technique is often seen in documentaries, biopics, and crime dramas.
  • Flashbacks: Freeze frames can serve as a trigger for a flashback sequence, allowing the viewer to delve into a character’s memory or past events that provide context for the current narrative.
  • Montages: In a montage, freeze frames can be used to showcase a series of images, highlighting key moments or achievements in a condensed format. This technique is often seen in sports videos or retrospectives.

While these are some common scenarios where freeze frames can be used effectively, the possibilities are endless, and the technique can be adapted to suit your unique video editing needs. The key is to use freeze frames purposefully and sparingly, ensuring they enhance your storytelling rather than distract from it.

Best practices

Freeze frames can be a powerful tool in your video editing toolkit when used correctly. Here are some best practices to consider when utilizing a freeze frame in Premiere Pro:

  1. Plan Ahead: Before you start editing, have a clear idea of where and why you want to use a freeze frame. This will help you identify the right moments in your footage and ensure the freeze frame adds value to your narrative.
  2. Select the Right Frame: Choose a visually interesting or significant frame for the freeze. It should be a frame that captures the essence of the moment, whether it’s a character’s reaction, a crucial plot point, or a visually striking image.
  3. Keep It Smooth: Ensure the transition into and out of the freeze frame is smooth. A sudden freeze can be jarring for the viewer, so consider using a short fade in and out to make the transition more seamless.
  4. Consider the Duration: The length of the freeze frame can greatly impact its effect. Too short, and the viewer might miss it; too long, and it can disrupt the flow of your video. Tailor the duration to the context and purpose of the freeze frame.
  5. Use Sound Effectively: The audio accompanying your freeze frame can enhance or diminish its impact. Consider whether to maintain the background sound, use a sound effect, or introduce voice-over narration during the freeze frame.
  6. Quality Matters: When exporting the frame to create your freeze, ensure it’s at the highest possible quality. A poor-quality freeze frame can stick out and distract from your video.
  7. Text and Graphics: If you’re using the freeze frame to introduce a character or provide information, ensure any text or graphics added are clear, concise, and complement the visuals without overwhelming them.
  8. Avoid Overuse: While freeze frames can be effective, they can also become a distraction if overused. Use them sparingly and purposefully to maintain their impact.
  9. Experiment and Innovate: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques. You might blur the background of your freeze frame, add a color overlay, or animate it to create a unique effect.

Remember, the key to successful video editing is to keep your audience engaged and to tell your story effectively. If a freeze frame helps achieve that, it’s a technique worth using.

Video tutorial to freeze frame


Mastering the freeze frame in Premiere Pro can add depth and dynamism to your video editing repertoire. From emphasizing key moments to creating suspense or a comic effect, freeze frames offer a plethora of creative storytelling opportunities.

With practice and patience, you’ll soon be using this versatile technique to elevate your video projects. Keep experimenting, keep learning, and most importantly, keep creating!

Robert Sutton

Robert Sutton

An unwavering enthusiasm for games, films, literature, and comics has always been a profound element of my life. I possess skills in SEO, mastery in using Adobe Software, proficiency in Microsoft Office, and a keen understanding of SQL Database operations.

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