A Filmmakers Guide to Frame Rate

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We’re well aware that if you’re new to the audiovisual world, there are a few terms that can sound intimidating. In this article, we will explain what is frame rate and why it’s so important as a content creator.

What is a Frame Rate?

Have you ever wondered how any video works? Well, it’s easy. A video is a compilation of still images, which are called frames, and when you watch these series of frames at a certain speed, it will appear as they are moving. 

So, the frame rate is the speed at which these images are shown. It is the number of frames that will be displayed in a second. Usually, it is also known as FPS (Frames Per Second). For example, if you play a video at 24fps, this means that for each second of the video, you’ll see 24 different still images.

Why is Frame Rate Important?

The way we experience video depends on the FPS, that’s why it is essential to keep it in mind. It influences how real your video looks; also, if you want to implement different techniques like slow-motion, you’ll have to understand how frame rate works. 

Big blockbusters from Hollywood often use a 24fps since it’s similar to how we see the world. When it comes to live videos or sport videos, they typically have a higher frame rate since there’s a lot going on at once. 

Type of Frame Rate

There are 4 different types. Here, we will briefly explain each one of them:

  • 24fps: This is perfect to achieve the classic cinema look. Movies and streaming video content use this type of frame rate. 
  • 30fps: Live television broadcasts use this, like sports and news. It is perfect to show movement more clearly, that is why sport events use it. 
  • 60fps: This is a more detailed and lifelike view. Perfect for video games, it increases the smoothness of action. 
  • 120fps: This frame rate is for slow-motion video and for video games with action.

Frame Rate Examples

Here are a few video examples of 24fps and 60fps:

This is Iron Man at 24fps vs 60fps. The detail we see at 60fps is spectacular, although at some point it seems to be too fast for our eyes.

This is another comparison between 24fps and 60fps in the movie Transformers, where there’s a lot of movement going on.

Look how smooth Mulan (1998) looks at 60fps. Even too smooth. Here it really depends on the motions, some parts are better at 24fps and others at 60fps.

How to Check Frame Rate

If you have a camera, and you want to check or change the frame rate, you’ll have to go to the main Menu, then look for the shooting options menu and there you can find it. If you can’t find it, maybe look for something like ‘movie settings’ and you might find something related. 

For your mobile, you can go to the camera settings menu of your phone, and you’ll probably be able to adjust the frame rate from there. 

How to Choose a Frame Rate

To select the perfect frame rate for your project, you need to first think about what kind of video you’re doing. There are a few things to consider before making a choice:

  • Realism: as we’ve mentioned, the frame rate will impact on how real your video appears. In this case, choosing one that fits the realism of our world, should consider the motion blur we naturally see. If a video shows too much detail, it will look unnatural.
    • 24fps: Most feature films and TV shows will use this. It’s the standard for movies and television, and it’s the minimum speed to capture video whilst maintaining a realistic motion. 
    • 30fps: This frame rate is also common, although producers prefer a frame rate of 24fps. Some videos, like sport videos, are the ones that will benefit from some extra frames per second.
    • +60fps: Anything over 30fps is perfect to create slow motion video or to record video game footage.
  • Motion: The amount of motion is key when selecting the perfect frame rate for your video. This is easy, if you have a lot of movement on your video, then you’ll want to pick a higher number. Also, it’ll be easier to edit.
    • 24fps: If you record a lot of movement in 24fps, all you will see is a lot of motion blur. 
    • 30fps: With just a few more frames per second, you’ll see more detail, but the motion will look unnatural and suffer from the soap opera effect.
    • +60fps: This could be ideal, since anything above 30fps is exclusively for busy scenes.
  • Delivery: This is something you have to consider for your project. Ask yourself where you will display your video. If it’s on a streaming service on the Internet, on television or film projectors. 

We hope this guide to frame rate was helpful to understand the different types that exist and the importance of choosing the right one for you. Remember that adding music to your videos is also another important part of creating your project. Here at HookSounds, we’ve got your back! Check our licenses and get the best royalty free music and sound effects for your project.