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Choosing a video frame rate

From: Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR

Video: Choosing a video frame rate

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.

Choosing a video frame rate

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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This video is part of

Image for Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR
Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR

33 video lessons · 26581 viewers

Rob Sheppard
Author

 
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  1. 2m 43s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. What video can do for you
      1m 27s
  2. 23m 13s
    1. Stopping time in photography vs. recording over time with video
      4m 14s
    2. Shooting for movement over time
      3m 58s
    3. Composing for constantly changing visuals
      4m 42s
    4. Adjusting to shooting for a non-RAW medium
      3m 26s
    5. Understanding resolution for video
      3m 36s
    6. Choosing a video frame rate
      3m 17s
  3. 37m 21s
    1. Comparing DSLRs with traditional camcorders
      6m 18s
    2. Comparing sensor sizes among DSLR cameras
      5m 26s
    3. Considering noise when comparing sensor sizes
      3m 8s
    4. Choosing memory cards and batteries
      3m 33s
    5. Understanding video tripods
      6m 10s
    6. Working with other camera supports
      3m 19s
    7. Using focusing aids for shooting video
      5m 29s
    8. Choosing lighting gear
      3m 58s
  4. 26m 23s
    1. Adjusting how you shoot
      6m 11s
    2. Limited "fixing" of images
      3m 42s
    3. Understanding the challenge of shutter speed
      3m 56s
    4. Getting the right exposure
      6m 59s
    5. Setting the right white balance
      5m 35s
  5. 19m 39s
    1. Understanding the importance of audio
      4m 5s
    2. Learning to work with sound
      4m 54s
    3. Gearing up for audio
      7m 19s
    4. Recording with external audio gear
      3m 21s
  6. 33m 56s
    1. Basic shooting
      6m 12s
    2. Shooting video to tell a story
      7m 27s
    3. Shooting for coverage
      4m 52s
    4. Understanding how to shoot movement
      4m 10s
    5. Shooting the moving subject
      4m 17s
    6. Creating movement
      6m 58s
  7. 6m 57s
    1. Preparing for the edit
      6m 57s
  8. 1m 47s
    1. Stay focused
      1m 47s

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