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In Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR, photographer and videographer Rob Sheppard provides the essential foundation that photographers need to make the leap from still pictures to moving ones. From technical considerations, such as audio and frame rates, to aesthetic issues, such as composition and story development, this course presents concepts and techniques photographers need to get the best results from their gear and learn the art of video-based storytelling. Exercise files are included with the course.
Frame rate is another technical area that is important to know about but you do not have to go out and constantly change the setting on your camera. This is worth understanding the differences, so you can make the choice when you want or need to. I mentioned that video is typically shot at 30 frames per second. That's the traditional way that video is shot. A lot of video is actually shot at 29.97 frames per second, which is nearly 30 frames per second, but it's based on an old standard that continues today for the way that video is timed for broadcast.
Your camera may also give you different options for the frame rate such as 60 frames per second or 24 frames per second. In some parts of the world, you may also see 50 frames per second or 25 frames per second. If you want to keep things simple, shoot at 30 frames a second and your video will be fine. And if your camera will only give you a certain frame rate, you'll also be fine shooting that. If you have options on your camera, you can experiment to see what those choices might do for you, but you could never change from 30 frames per second and have excellent video.
The main choice you will see on camera's shooting 1080 HD video is between either 30 frames per second or 24 frames per second. Video has long used a 30 frames a second as a standard. That gives a certain video look because of the way that images change on the screen. When we're watching video or film, we're watching a lot of little still pictures going by in a hurry. Our mind puts them together and makes it look like movement. At 30 frames a second, our mind puts them together in a way that looks like traditional video.
Film on the other hand has always been shot at 24 frames a second. While it may not seem like a big difference between 24 frames and 30 frames per second, it is enough to change the way our brain sees the movement. If something is moving, video tends to make that movement looks smoother. If the camera moves across the scene, that move tends to look smoother with 30 frames per second. You won't see the differences here in the way the video is rendered for the course. However, I've included two movies of the same action at the 24 and 30 frame rates as free exercise files that you can download from the course page.
Check these files out and compare the way movement is captured. Now, you might think it would be a good idea to keep everything looking smoother. However, we are so used to seeing films from Hollywood shot at 24 frames a second that our brain starts associating that frame rate with a film look. While, there are other things that give a true film look, 24 frames a second definitely has that feeling. 60 frames per second is another option, but is a more specialized speed often used for sports to really smooth out movement.
So what should you shoot? The best thing to do is try and discover for yourself what a given frame rate looks like with the type of video you are shooting. Then choose the one you like best, keeping in mind some of the ideas presented here. But if you just want to keep it simple, you could always shoot at 30 frames per second.
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