Ever wonder why your video stream is not as smooth as you expected? Or maybe your clips look distorted? That is why choosing the right video frame rate matters.
Frame rate can be a confusing subject when you start learning to become a video creator or live streamer. Due to that, we want to help you understand how different frame rates affect your footage and how to choose the best frame rate for live streaming and video making.
To begin, let’s get familiar with the term frame rate itself.
What Is Video Frame Rate?
Frame rate is the number of images or frames captured in one second. Hence, it is measured in frames per second (fps).
Remember, videos are a collection of still images that are played in a quick succession. If you record a clip in 30fps, for instance, every second of it has 30 frames.
It is important to note that frame rate also refers to the number of images displayed to viewers in a second.
To give the smoothest audio visual experience possible, you should shoot with the same video frame rate as how you want to play it for the audience. Thus, if you want to create a 30fps video, it is best to shoot it at 30fps as well.
But what frame rate should you set for the output? To answer that, you need to know the standard frame rates.
What Are The Standard Video Frame Rates?
For decades, 24fps and 30fps have been widely accepted as the standard frame rates.
24fps is the best frames per second for classic movies. It is smooth enough for viewing, albeit not able to capture fast movement well. However, the dreamy motion blur that this frame rate presents is what filmmakers consider “cinematic”.
Meanwhile, 30fps is the standard for televisions in most parts of the world. While not apparent to untrained eyes, the smoother presentation of this frame rate gives a more realistic look to live news, sports broadcasts, and other television programs.
In the internet era, 30fps is also the best fps for videos on the web. When you look at YouTube content or Twitch live streams, for example, you are watching at that video frame rate unless you select a higher fps value in the player settings.
By now you already know that having the same frame rate for shooting and playing is essential, right? With that in mind, 30fps should be the safe choice when you are shooting videos for the online audience.
But is 30 frames per second good for all purposes? What about other frame rate options offered by your camera, such as 60fps and 120fps? Let’s read the explanation below.
Higher Video Frame Rates: What Are They For?
Remember that frame rate constitutes the number of images recorded in every second. With higher frame rates, you get more stills per second. That means 60fps and beyond can register more movement details than that of 30fps and lower.
Nonetheless, do not confuse movement details with picture details or sharpness. The latter can only be affected by the choice of video resolution and the lens you use to shoot.
So, what is good about more movement details in higher video frame rates? Basically, it equals to having less motion blur in your video. Less motion blur means that fast-paced actions are rendered nicely.
While it looks very smooth, though, some people consider the hyper-realistic presentation unnatural for motion pictures. For instance, one review of the movie Gemini Man (2019), which uses 120fps, describes the film as having a video game-like quality.
Apart from that, shooting clips and live streams with more than 60fps video frame rate requires you to play it with the same fps value, which no video platforms support. In fact, 60fps is the highest that they can play for now.
Despite the mentioned drawback, though, higher frame rates serve a purpose. When slowed down in a standard viewing frame rate, they offer a smooth slow-motion effect common in action movies, sports replays, and wildlife footage. Meanwhile, you will get a laggy result when slowing down a 30fps clip.
Should You Use 60fps Video Frame Rate for Live Streams?
Since popular streaming platforms today support playing videos at 60 frames per second, you can safely stream with the said frame rate. However, there are at least two factors to consider if you want to do so.
First, you need to consider the audience’s display capability. Computer and mobile devices that support higher frame rates are usually costly high-end units, while regular devices can only show 30fps at the most. 60fps and beyond will not look as fluid as intended in these less expensive displays.
Secondly, 60fps streams require double the bandwidth that a 30fps footage demands. That is because higher video frame rates record more images per second. Thus, make sure that your internet connection has a good upload speed for streaming.
If you do not mind those conditions, feel free to live stream at 60 frames per second. Especially, if you often showcase fast movement like dance and music performances.
The Relation Between Video Frame Rate and Shutter Speed
You cannot ignore shutter speed when learning about frame rates. In case you are not familiar yet, shutter speed is the length of period in which your camera’s shutter mechanism opens. While the shutter is opened, the sensor is exposed to the light and able to capture an image.
So, why are shutter speed and frame rate related? Ideally, your shutter speed should be one over twice the video frame rate to give the smoothest output. For example, 1/48 seconds for 24fps, 1/60 seconds for 30fps, and so on.
Nevertheless, you can use different shutter speeds for creative purposes. Using a lower shutter speed gives a dreamy effect on movement. Faster shutter speed, on the other hand, provides a chaotic look.
It is important, however, that you use a fast shutter speed to create slow motion scenes. The higher the speed, the more details of motion you can capture. Otherwise, your footage will lose its details when slowed down.
How to Choose The Best Video Frame Rate?
At this point, you can probably answer questions like “what is a good frame rate?” or “what fps should I use?”. But we will sum up everything to make sure you know the basics of frame rate. Basically, the best frames per second depends on the following criteria:
- Viewing Media
Different mediums use different standard frame rates. For movies, your minimum output should be 24fps, whereas TV programs, online videos, and live streams need 30fps at the least.
- Amount of Motion Blur
Depending on the style you want to achieve, the level of motion blur can be detrimental. If you want a more natural look with an adequate amount of blur, choose 24fps or 30fps video frame rate. Should you desire less motion blur, however, 60fps is the best fps for videos showing fast movement.
- The Use of Slow-Motion
Slow-motion scenes require high fps. So, the lowest frame rate you should use is 60fps to avoid a choppy output.
- Internet Upload Speed
Live stream viewers expect no broadcast issues. To ensure that does not happen, 30fps is the best frame rate for live streaming. But if your upload speed allows, you can go with 60fps.
Try Experimenting with Different Video Frame Rates
In this article, you have learned the basics of frame rate. Thus, you already know the best fps for video and the best frame rate for live streaming.
In conclusion, here are the common frame rates and their best use cases:
- 24fps: movies and cinematic clips
- 30fps: online videos, live streams, and TV programs
- 60fps: videos that involve lots of fast-paced actions and slow-motion scenes
- 120fps and higher: slow motion scenes only
Despite the convention, however, you have the freedom to experiment with various frame rates for different situations. Afterall, the sky is the only limit when it comes to creative work.
We hope that this article helps you grow as an aspiring creator. If you want more insights about content creation, please stay tuned to our blog!