What are video frame rates and how do they affect your videos?

If you’re new to video creation, a term that comes up frequently is video frame rate or frames per second (fps). This is a specific feature that can be changed on your camera and has a huge impact on how your video is shot and viewed on different devices.

Today we’re going to take a look at what a video frame rate actually means and why you should change it depending on the type of video you’re shooting.

What does video frame rate mean?

Knowing the video frame rates is a great way to improve the quality of your video production. To understand what a video frame rate is, you first need to know that a video is not just a continuous recording. Instead, they are individual images stitched together and flashed together on a screen in rapid succession to create a moving image. The technical term for a video frame rate is frames per second (fps).

So, a video frame rate basically refers to the number of times images are flashed on a screen for a given second. It gives the illusion of movement.

What is the standard video frame rate?

The standard video frame rate for the motion picture industry has been 24 fps since 1920. However, the standard frame rate for television is 30 fps in North America, Japan, and most other parts of the world.

In recent times, producers have used a combination of different frame rates to achieve the optimum result depending on the type of scene to be filmed.

What video frame rate should you use?

Modern cameras have options for multiple frame rates, ranging from 24 fps to 240 fps on some cameras. The way each frame rate is perceived on the screen is very different. Therefore, you need to choose an appropriate and optimal frame rate for your project.


24 fps — Plans and motion pictures

The standard 24 fps gives you a truly cinematic look, which we all expect from movies. This is because 24 fps looks the most natural to the human eye, which is why we have gotten used to it. So if you want to shoot a movie or a scene in general, we recommend shooting at 24 fps.

30 fps — Live TV or Sports

The second option — 30fps — is slightly faster than 24fps. This is commonly used in live television, sports, or soap operas. It only has six more frames per second, giving it a smoother (but less cinematic) feel that works well for live TV.

For general video, you can’t go wrong with 24 fps or 30 fps. But if you want more of a “cinematic” film look, go for 24 frames per second. For interviews or documentaries, 30 frames per second should look better.

60fps — Fast-paced action movies and sports

GoPro action camera

Some films are now produced at 60 frames per second. It gives the movie an incredibly smooth experience, but it takes a lot of storage size. The faster frame rate is mainly used for action movies and fast sports because there is less motion blur.

Motion blur occurs when there is movement in the image, but it moves too quickly between images, so it looks blurry. This is common at low frame rates such as 24 fps. A simple solution is to increase the frame rate, which reduces blur and gives a crisp, clean look. It’s really useful in some sports, like NASCAR or baseball.

120 fps or more — Slow motion effects

You might be a fan of slow motion videos, especially ones that slow down all the action you can watch. These types of videos are made by a simple method: they are shot at very high fps, then slowed down to give the effect of slow motion. Since more images were captured in a single second, all the action is recorded and looks great when slowed down. However, if you ever play a 120 fps or 240 fps video as it is recorded, you will definitely notice a strange effect.

If you are looking to record slow motion effects like a soccer kick, it would be a good idea to record it at a higher frame rate. However, keep in mind that you will need to use a video editor like Adobe Premiere Pro to slow down the clip and achieve the effect you want.

Related: What Is Motion Blur in Video Editing? Why should you use it

If you are using a smartphone with a slow motion shooting mode such as iPhone, it records the clip at 120 fps or 240 fps and automatically slows it down for you. This is why slow motion images from an iPhone are so beautiful: They were captured at super high fps and were slowed down.

Does frame rate affect the file size of a video?

The frame rate in which you shoot your video greatly affects your file size. Think of it this way: if you shoot a one-minute video at 30 fps, you actually have 1,800 individual frames stitched together to create a video. Now if you were to capture the same one-minute video at 60fps, you’ve got 3,600 instead. This is essentially double the number of images, which usually results in the final file being double the file size.

Another factor that affects the size of the video is the resolution in which you shoot it. 1080p 120fps video may be larger in size than 4K 24fps video. It depends on your camera settings. Cameras usually tell you how much footage you can shoot in a specific resolution / fps (depending on how much empty storage you have.) You can use this to schedule how long you can shoot.

Does frame rate affect the quality of your video?

The quality of your video only depends on the resolution in which you shoot it. In general, the higher the resolution of the image, the higher the quality. However, higher image resolution (such as 4K) also leads to massive file sizes. The frame rate will only affect the smoothness of the video, but will not affect the clarity of the video.

Experiment with all frame rates

All the frame rates seem a bit confusing at first. In our opinion, the best way to master them is to experiment with all frame rates. Pick a scene and shoot the same scene at 24 fps, 30 fps, 60 fps, and 120 fps. Watch all the clips and you should get an idea of ​​how higher fps affects the video.

24 fps video will look more cinematic and cinematic, and 30 fps will look like a natural scene, but 60 fps and 120 fps can look a bit weird and unnatural (due to the taller images). Once you understand how all the frame rates work, you’ll be able to fit them into your workflow properly and get the most out of each clip.

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