Film Production Filmmaking

Frame Rate – Everything you need to know!

If you love your action movies or slow-motion sports replays, understanding what a frame rate is – is key! This all starts with understanding the frame rate.

In our guide, we delve into the basics of frame rates and break it down for all to understand and learn. We will look at why it’s important and some excellent examples. 

Let’s dive straight into it!

What is a frame rate?

A frame rate is a rate at which individual still photos are captured by your camera. Frame rates are also known as “frames per second” or “fps”. 

A great example of frame rate for normal motion is 24/24 – whereas slow motion will be captured at around 48/24. An example of a fast motion frame rate is 12/24. You set your frame rate in accordance with what you look to achieve with your video capture.

Why is frame rate important?

Understanding frame rate is important because it has a major impact on how someone consumes the video. Altering the frame rate changes the dynamic of the video. 

By choosing the frame rate for your film, you have to think hard about how you wish to display the footage. Is this going to be a slow-motion, sports video, or are you aiming for the cinematic feel of a Hollywood blockbuster? 

A cinematic film will use an fps of 24 as it looks to normalise the footage, and this is how we as humans view the world. It keeps it real. However, if you’re watching a football game, there’s a lot of action happening – this will need a much higher frame rate. This is due to a lot of action happening at once, and the audience wants to view it smoothly. A lower frame rate will cause it to be patchy and glitchy. 

Creating high quality, crisp images are an imperative factor for keeping the audience engaged. Therefore the correct frame rate is imperative.

Common frame rates used in filmmaking

Here’s an overview of commonly used frame rates and the examples of types of video this will yield:

  • 16FPS:  Silent movies use this frame rate.
  • 24 FPS: This frame rate is perfect for capturing cinematic footage.
  • 30 FPS: Used for sports.
  • 60 FPS: Standard filming of action:  running, walking etc.
  • 120 FPS: Great for documentary footage for wildlife. 
  • 240 FPS: Water splashing, dropping an item into water.
  • 480 FPS: Slow motion footage for sport, skateboarding, rugby, football, skiing and more.
  • 960+ FPS: This is super cool. It’s hyper-slow motion. It’s brilliant for filming explosions and other cool actions. I.e Will it blend?

How to create: slow motion in Premiere Pro

Frame rate examples

Here are a couple of examples of frame rates that will help you understand frame rates better, but they’re also great examples – amazing pieces of art. 

The first one to approach, is a fan favourite, slow motion, and then we move on to faster examples; let’s check them out:

Fast motion (Fast forward effect)

If you like a timelapse or a hyperlapse then the fast motion, the fast forward effect is one for you. It increases the speed 

However, you need to film at a frame rate that will be able to capture the frames correctly and display the video in a smooth manner. To capture this smoothly you will want to capture footage at a regular motion speed at a higher frame rate. 

Once you’ve captured your footage, use this in-depth Premiere Pro tutorial to help you create the fast forward effect:

This is perfect for shooting commercials and is used often for product-based commercials. Have a play around with the types of footage you shoot and follow the tutorial to create this cool fast forward effect.

Slow-motion

To get this effect, you need to be shooting at 480fps or 960fps to get the best results. You’ll need to be shooting with a camera that can cope with such a high frame rate as you will need it to be 

Here’s something Panasonic did at 240fps; it’s mind-blowing!

Here’s a great article one of our filmmakers wrote on how to achieve slow motion in Premiere Pro. Follow this guide to make sure you absolutely nail the post-production element of slow-motion video. 

Read more: What is aperture?

Frame rate vs shutter speed

Frame rate and shutter speed occasionally get confused, so we thought we’d explain the core differences here. 

Frame rate is the rate at which individual still photos are captured by your camera. Whereas shutter speed is how long the shutter is open on your camera, this is measured generally in milliseconds. 

These are often confused, but you need to get the right balance to ensure you shoot at a high-quality.

Frame Rate FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions on frame rates. Here we answer these to help you on your quest for filmmaking perfection!

How can I make a slow-motion video? 

To make a slow-motion video, firstly you need to be filming using a high frame rate. You will want to be using at the very minimum 240fps. This will allow you to collect enough individual frames to create a smooth transition, frame to frame, without causing it to lag or jitter.

You will then want to process the video in Premiere Pro (Or, another piece of video editing software) and follow the steps outlines in our guide below to ensure you get the best outcome for the finished product.

Follow our tutorial on how to create slow motion in Premiere Pro.

What’s the best frame rate for slow motion?

We touched upon this earlier in the article, but the best frame rate for slow motion is 480fps or 960fps. If you have a camera with the capability of recording in 960fps and looking to film an extremely slow motion shot, then this is for you. If you’re looking to film a standard slow-motion look, use either 240fps or 480fps. 

Either of these will allow you to capture a crisp shot, and allow you to present the video in a slow-motion shot that is slow and smooth.

Which frame rate is best for YouTube?

YouTube recommends between 24 to 60fps. It supports up to 8K video as well now. Depending on the content you’re putting out, it depends on the frame rate you need. But in general, YouTube recommends sticking between the 24 to 60fps range.

What frame rate is used in the movies?

The standard frame rate for movies is 24fps. It’s classed as the best frame rate to ensure you capture realistic motion. Some films are shot at a slightly higher frame rate but will be produced and released at 24fps. 

TV shows are also captured at 24fps, keeping them realistic. 

We hope this article on frame rates was helpful to you. Let us know your thoughts down below in the comments; we love to hear from you. 

Happy filmmaking!

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