Understanding Video Recording Framerates

Understanding Video Recording Framerates

Here is an excellent explanation of framerates and when you might want to use them.  A summary table follows:







12 fps:
usable for extreme fast motion, twice as fast as normal motion.
In the indie hit film “El Mariachi”, director Robert Rodriguez made use of 12fps for fast-motion scenes such as the hotel front desk clerk scrambling to the telephone to make a call.
18 fps:
this is the frame rate that most 8mm home movies were .
If you’re looking for the Keystone Kops or Charlie Chaplin look, 18 fps is where you should start.
20 fps:
20 fps is a fast-motion effect that’s not nearly as exaggerated as 12fps is, but it’s fast.
If you wanted to show someone running extremely quickly, exaggeratedly quickly in fact, 20fps might be a good choice for that.  It starts to push the bounds of what the audience can believe is “real”, but it’s very fast motion without being exaggeratedly fast.
22 fps:
this is a subtle fast-motion effect.
22 fps is a very popular frame rate for karate action movies – shooting at 22 fps and playing back at 24 fps makes motion look very fast but completely believable.  Shooting a car chase or a fight scene at 22 fps will lend an added edge of excitement and action to your scenes.  The 50Hz camera’s equivalent would be 23fps.
24 fps:
this is the standard movie film speed.
Shooting at 24 fps and playing back at 24 fps gives your footage the temporal feel of motion picture film.  This is the speed you’d normally shoot all dialogue scenes and “normal action” scenes.  The 50Hz camera’s equivalent would be 25fps.
26 fps:
like 22 fps, but in reverse.  This frame rate can add a subtle, subliminal slow motion effect to your footage.
The effect is very mild. Things moving slower than normal can be perceived as being “larger than life” – if you want to add a bit of elegance and grandeur to your scene, but don’t want it to be obvious as to what you’ve done, 26 fps can add that additional element of drama.  The 50Hz camera’s equivalent would be 27fps.
30 fps:
this is a slow motion speed.
It’s mild slow motion, but it’s noticeable.  It’s not very subtle, it’s the first of the real slow motion speeds.
32 fps:
just a little slower than 30 fps.
If you’re shooting your main program in 720/30p mode, filming at 32fps and incorporating in your 30 fps project can give you a similar slightly-larger-than-life feel as 26 fps does in a 24fps project.
36 fps:
at 36 fps, the scene is most obviously slow motion.
Action takes 1.5 times as long to play out as it took to shoot it.  36 fps is as slow or slower than many movie cameras could shoot at.
48 fps:
full-fledged slow motion.
This is a “walk-away-from-the-explosion” caliber slow motion speed.  48 fps makes everything take twice as long to play back as it did to shoot it.
60 fps:
super-slow motion.
60 fps is suitable for shooting explosions or extreme slow motion scenes.  It’s the slowest slow motion possible on a conventional video camera.  The 50Hz camera doesn’t really have a direct equivalent.

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