How to Reverse Video in After Effects

By Cassandra Tribe

Updated September 28, 2017

The magic occurs after the shooting when you add effects during editing.
i video camcoder 3 image by Kostyantyn Ivanyshen from

Adobe After Effects is a professional video editing program available for the PC and the Mac. After you are done shooting your raw footage, it is time to edit your video into its final form. Adding effects can greatly enhance the success of your video by making it interesting to watch and serving to highlight the importance of different sections of your film. It is easy to add a feature like Reverse Video in After Effects.

Open up the project containing the clip that you want to reverse direction of play on. You may want to save just that section as a separate file the first time you use this effect, until you are sure you know what you are doing. If you choose to do this, click on the clip to select it. Under "File," select "Export" and click to select the option "Export Selected." Click "OK" and when the export is done, close the project and reopen just the clip file you exported.

Click on the clip in the layer you want to apply the effect to. Adobe After Affects allows you to use multiple time lines, which are referred to as "layers," to build your sequences. These layers allow you to overlay or superimpose multiple clips on top of each other that will play simultaneously.

Click "Layer" on the tool bar.

Select "Time" from the drop-down menu.

Click on "Time Reverse Layer." This will open a new display window that will allow you to adjust the speed at which the clip is played by using the slider bar at the bottom of the window.

Click on "Apply Effect" and wait for the effect to be rendered. Play that section of your time line when it is done to make sure the video effect appears as you want it. If you are satisfied, save the file. If you copied the clip and made it into a separate file, save it and then export the file. Load your original project and import the clip you created. Replace the original clip in the project with the new clip with the reverse effect.


Less is more. Use special effects sparingly in your videos; this will make them stand out even more.


Always try your effects on a copy of the original footage. Many effects use destructive techniques, which means that they cannot be undone and the original footage is destroyed in the process of applying the effect.