Fast-forwarding or slowing down a video on YouTube used to be a complicated manoeuver. Now, the company has made a vital upgrade to the YouTube mobile app to make variable speed on video playback a bit simpler for users to understand. Changing the speed of a video involves changing how quickly the frames play. Also, it involves altering the audio. Most mobile devices do not have the necessary CPU and memory to reserve for this task.
In order to slow down or speed up these video frames, the decoder has to work faster than watching the video at full speed. This means that the program has to decode the video faster than the video can be rendered. This varies with the internet connection. Now, in order to make speeding up a video faster than watching it in the original time frame, YouTube developers have programmed the app to adjust the video’s quality to the maximum that can be downloaded while still keeping up with the decoder.
The biggest problem encountered with the process is usually audio. Whenever you speed up a video without changing the audio, there’s always this high-pitched voice. Now, to slow down audio, the developers made use of a technique called audio stretching. This allows the duration of the sound t change without distorting the pitch.
Here’s a quote from YouTube Software Engineer Pallavi Powale on YouTube’s variable speed settings:
“The most commonly used setting on the web is 1.25x, closely followed by 1.5x. Speed watching is the new speed listening, which was the new speed reading, especially when consuming long lectures or interviews. But variable speed isn’t just useful for skimming through content to save time. It can also be an important tool for investigating finer details.”
Now, viewers can adjust a video’s speed from a quarter of the original speed to twice the speed. The options can be found in the overflow menu. Just tap on the three dots in the corner to locate the variable speed menu. Next, choose your desired speed. The variable speed comes in a long string of updates, which include HDR compatibility and faster live streaming.