If you’re new to filmmaking, you’re most likely trying to find your own style. Oddly enough, frames per second is part of your definition.
Frames per second or fps (frames per second) is the number of frames your camera captures in any given second. Your device captures frames and combines them into one whole, which the brain perceives as movement.
For most purposes, video is recorded at two standard frame rates: 24 fps and 30 fps. However, there are many alternative frequencies in modern cameras, such as 30, 60, 120 and 240 frames per second. We’ll break it all down below.
How Standard Frame Rate Came to Be
The minimum frame rate at which the human mind perceives an image as motion is 16 frames per second. Various scholars have debated the optimal frame rate over the years. For example, the American inventor Thomas Edison recommended a frame rate of 46 frames per second.
But film was too expensive to run at that rate, so the number kept dropping until it finally reached the industry standard of 24 fps.
For a long time, the standard frame rate was 24 frames per second, or rather, 23.98. This number was chosen as the lowest possible frame rate so that the movement of objects in the frame mimics “fluid movement”. Such a picture looks alive and moving, as if everything is happening for real.
The choice of 24 frames per second was also due to the problem of budget and technological limitations: the film companies thus saved money on film.
The more 24fps was used in big-budget films, the more people began to associate that framerate with cinema, and that’s how the “cinematic” picture was born.
It is at this frame rate that most feature films are shot, as well as commercials and short films.
Very similar to 24 fps, however 25 fps is the standard frame rate in the United Kingdom and any country that runs on 50 Hz power. Using 24 or 25 frames per second will primarily depend on where in the world you live.
30 fps is six frames more than 24 fps, which means the device needs to process 25% more images in the same amount of time.
Increasing the frame rate results in smoother video, so this frame rate is typically used for fast-moving events such as sports and concerts, live broadcasts, and soap operas.
Video shot at 60fps slows down to 24fps or 30fps in post-processing. This creates the effect of smooth slow motion.
If you try to convert a 30 fps video to a 60 fps video and slow it down, you won’t get enough extra frames and the image will look smooth but choppy.
Due to its fluidity, 60 frames per second is often used in cinema to highlight dramatic moments in a film.
Most modern cameras today have a maximum speed of 120 frames per second. This frequency is used for slow-motion footage, including showing details of an object/product, highlighting key movements, and adding depth to your video.
120 frames per second gives the picture even more drama, so sometimes this frequency should be used in small doses. It can also make it difficult to use your footage in your edit if you overuse that frame rate and shoot almost all of your content at 120fps.
240 fps is also used for slow motion.
Video shot at 240 fps is twice as slow as video at 120 fps. It follows from this that such a video will look the most dramatic — so, it will help you realize some of your ideas.
The ability to record slow motion video at 240 frames per second is currently even on a phone, for example, on an iPhone.
What frame rate to choose?
It all depends on exactly what you need.
Each frame rate applies to specific situations, so first decide what and how you want to shoot. If you want something lively and cinematic, then go for 24 fps.
If you want to add drama and depth to your movie, record video at 60 or 120 frames per second and then play it back at 24 frames per second (2.5 or 5 times slower than it was filmed).
If you’re shooting live and want smooth images, then 30fps is the way to go. In addition, many applications (like Instagram) use 30 frames per second as the standard for video recording.
What is the difference between frames per second and refresh rate?
The refresh rate is usually related to the display and not to the camera/video capture system. It is measured in hertz (Hz) and analyzes how quickly the screen refreshes or processes an image, and is usually related to the maximum frequency.
What is ALL‑I and IPB?
These settings concern data compression. Each specific camera will affect the amount of compression, but in short: All‑I provides less compression and produces a higher quality image and a larger file size. IPB, on the other hand, means more compression, a lower quality image, and a smaller file size.