Pre-Production

Feb 23, 2021

The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Frame Rates

Navigating the concept of a frame rate can be confusing to anyone who is just starting their video editing journey. But we're here to guide you along, so let's get into it.

What is a video frame rate?

Did you know that a video actually consists of a ton of back-to-back photographs? But these photographs are shown to us so fast, we see them as a fluid movement. 

The rate at which these photographs are captured or projected onto a screen is known as the frame rate or frame rate per second (FPS).

To give you an idea of what we mean — you might have seen one of these flip-books or even made one in school, where every page consists of one single image, but when you flip the pages, it seems as though the image is moving; this is precisely how video works. 

When are frame rates relevant in the video production process?

Frame rates are relevant at every stage of the video production process but, in particular, when you’re shooting, editing & uploading/rendering the video. It’s essential to set frame rates at the beginning of planning your video, especially if you plan on using different frame rates. However, as a beginner, we recommend setting and keeping the same frame rate; it makes things a lot easier.

Video frame rate examples, types, and standards

Different frame rates will allow you to create other video effects and end results. These are standard frame rates used, commonly described as FPS:

  • 24 FPS: the golden standard for movies, online videos, and TV advertising because it gives a more cinematic effect. Below you can see a 24 vs 60 FPS comparison:
  • 30 FPS: commonly used for live TV shows to create a realistic effect. Here’s 30 FPS compared to 15/5/1 FPS for you:
  • 60/120 FPS: commonly used for slow-motion video recording, which will then be played back in 24 FPS, creating a smooth slow-motion effect. Shooting like this completely eliminates motion blur. This is really well explained in this video:

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to frame rates is that the more frames you shoot, the more footage you will have, requiring more storage and more time when editing. 

Best video frame rate

There’s no cutthroat answer to this one because every frame rate setting has its own use case. So let’s get into what type of frame rates are suited to certain video types. 

What frame rate should I use?

When it comes to deciding which frame rate would be best to use, it’s always recommended to first think about the type of video you are about to create, and then make a decision. Here are a few examples that can give you a better idea of what works best depending on context.

Best frame rate for the web & YouTube

The most common standards for web videos is 24 FPS or 30 FPS. While 24 FPS is the most commonly used, 30 FPS will give you a smoother finish, although you’ll have to edit more frames. 

Frame rates for slow motion

Slow-motion is shot in 60/120/240 FPS and then usually played back at 24 FPS to create a smooth slow-motion effect. If you try to slow a 24 FPS recorded video down, it will seem extremely choppy and isn’t recommended. These frame rates are known as high-speed frame rates.

Frame rates for movies

The typical standard for movies and feature films is 24 FPS because it gives a cinematic effect.

Frame rates for animation videos

Like movies, animation is usually kept to 24 FPS; this can also vary depending on style and the effect you’re going for.

How does frame rate affect quality? 

Whether the frame rate affects the quality of your video depends on several factors. It does not necessarily mean that a higher frame rate will always get you a better result. If, however, you’re shooting with a handheld camera without a gimbal, a higher frame rate can counteract your handshake to create a smoother video.

That wraps up our ultimate beginner’s guide to video frame rates; it’s best to explore different frame rates and experiment with various options to find what works best for you. Happy video shooting!

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