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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Robbie: So Rich, earlier we talked about what the Frame Rate options that we had available to us were, but how do I know which one to use in what situation? Richard: Well, sometimes it's super easy. It's dictated by if you're shooting for a TV network or a client, they're going to tell you. And so, never hurts to say what frame rate do you want? Robbie: Right Okay Richard: And that's fine, any others, there are logical rules like, I want delivering to a PAL Broadcast Standard, 25, or I'm delivering to an NTSC standard, 29.97. Robbie: 30, right, exactly. Richard: Sometimes it's set for you.
Other times it's up to you or up to your client, and it becomes a real world conversation. Robbie: Yeah, I know, that's a-- that's a good point. I mean one of the things I think a lot of people are going after these days is sort of that filmic look, right? They want that nice smooth motion, and to get that typically, we're going to probably shoot at 24 frames per second. And really in NTSC countries it's a fractional frame rate, so 23.98, and that frame rate has just become sort of the factor standard of what we think about when we think, hey, film type look, has a nice smooth motion, there's a little bit of motion blur, and it's a sort easy on the eyes.
Richard: Yeah, and I've been shooting 24p for years. I'm a big proponent of it, I think it looks great. And this is where there is a lot of confusion around here. Just shooting 24p isn't going to give you the film look, but combined with the Shallow Depth or Field options in the DSLR and sort of the curve response, it's much easier to get a filmic image off of a DSLR, which is why they're so popular. But one of the things I think people get confuse at is well, if I shoot 24p, am I stuck? And I think people forget that. We've been taking 24p content for years, and converting it for broadcast, you know, you do that all the time.
Robbie: Absolutely! Yeah, it's easy to--especially when you're shooting fractional frame rates, say 23.98 to go to 29.97, right? That's very easy to do. But I think another good reason to shoot 23.98 or 24 is when you're going to things like the web, right? Because you are shooting at a lesser frame rate, not as many frames per second, what happens? Your file size is going to be smaller than say a file that was shot at 29.97 or 30 frames or 50 or 60 either. Richard: Well, and that carries out through the whole process. Less frames to store on your hard drive, so increased storage capacity for editing.
Less frames stored on your camera, so longer record times there, less frames for the end user to download, less frames to render. We've been running 720p, 24 in my shop for years, as we were transitioning clients to HD, because it was just a more affordable option. But if you're delivering to iPad, Televisions, Blu-ray, DVD, portable players, 720 is often the best folks are going to get, while YouTube and others will have 1080 and up, but practically nobody uses it. Robbie: Yeah, I hear you. So we have 23.98 and 24, then for film purposes or saving file space, we have 25 and 30, or 29.97 for say broadcast purposes.
What about the other frame rates that we see on these typically on these cameras, 50 frames per second and 60 frames per second, why would I want to use those and in what situations? Richard: I like to use those in music videos, or sometimes if we are trying to show slow motion. If you record something at 60 frames per second, and then you deliver it at 24 frames per second, you're able to slow that down almost 2 & 1/2 times. Robbie: So we can get a nice slow motion effect, because it shot at a faster frame rate. Richard: Yeah, and I'll use that all of the time for things like if we're doing product shots, turn tables, and we want nice smooth slow pans as the object rotates around, or we're showing sports, and we want to do a slow motion, or we just want that nice fluid feeling.
Now that is a post technique. When you look at it on the camera it's not going to look that way. Robbie: It's actually going to look sort of Hyper-real, right? And that's one thing that a lot of people do like is especially for fast moving things, like sports, you know Action Sports in Motocross, snowboarders, whatever. Because we're shooting faster than we typically see things on TV, you know 30 frames per second, we're going to get that Hyper-real type look, which you know is a subjective thing. I personally don't really like that sort of hyper look, but depending on what you are shooting, things that are moving really fast, we don't want a lot of motion blur, those faster frame rates might be a good choice.
Richard: And it also will affect, and we'll talk more about exposure down the road. But it will change your option and your exposure because you're recording more frames, you're going to have to get more light on to the sensor. Robbie: Yeah, absolutely! So there you go! A couple of different situation where you want to use different frame rate, you know, 23.98 or 24 frames per second if you want that filmic look, or we're trying to save on file space for things like web delivery, 25 frames per second or 30 frames per second, which is really 29.97 in NTSC countries for broadcast delivery, or if you want that traditional sort of TV type frame rate, and then go into faster frame rates, 50 for PAL and 60 for NTSC countries, if you want sort of a Hyper-real type look or later on in postproduction you want to slow down that shot to get a nice slow motion effect.
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