What is FPS?

what is FPS

today we will take a close look at what fps or in other words, frames-per-second is and which frame rate you should choose for your next motion picture. Frames per second or frame rate can be described most easily as the frequency of images – so-called frames – in the motion picture. The lower those frames per second are the choppier those motions are received and contrary adapts also to high frequency resulting in a more fluid video.

But FPS doesn’t only appear in motion picture also how fast you go through a flipbook can be described by this unit and even how well your computer can perform a game is shown exactly by those numbers. As you might have noticed FPS played a very huge role over time and it changed over and over and over but finally, we found out goal number 24. Before we get specific why to use exactly 24 fps we should talk about what limits our fps and the first aspect would be the human eye. As we all know – the motion picture is just an illusion.

But those separate frames only reside in a moving picture if they appear in 50fps this phenomenon is called phenomena so biology sets our lower boundary. The second aspect would be technology. Most smartphones are only capable of 30 fps the most DSRLs which are common under most consumers only achieve 60 fps. So our maximum would be 60 fps. To understand why to use explicit 24 fps out of between 15 and 60 fps, we have to go through the past to the beginning of silent films. The film gauge was pretty expensive and the film industry needed a load of it. That’s why they used 16 fps – the lowest frame rate at which the human eye believes the earlier mentioned illusion was perceived by the eye.

But with the introduction of sound, everything changed again. First, they had to set a norm for fps or else the audio track which was recorded next to the film gauge would be distorted, if cracked up or down. Second to achieve a certain good which was needed to synchronize audio and video successfully they had to increase the frame rate. 1929 20 FPS was set internationally as the default frame rate. It was cheap, divisional and it performs just good. Since then almost a century passed by but nothing really changed even though technology evolved tremendously.

But the reality is that 24 fps offers really helpful advantages in contrary to 60 fps. Its a fact that 60 FPS footage takes two and a half times more space than 24 fps footage. This doesn’t only affect file size but also render, upload, download, and export time. And you even need better computer hardware to handle it the same as 24 fps footage. The second argument would be that if you use the same bitrate for both frame rates you would end up with more compressed videos if you use 60fps footage. The third argument to point out would be if you want to slow down your video with a higher frame rate down to the frame rate you’re working with you would end up with a slower downed version if you are using 24 fps. 

Because 24 fps was the norm for such a long time 24 fps footage can be played practically everywhere. If you are following the 180-degree shutter rule recording in 24 FPS instead of 60 FPS would result also in a 300% better light input and less noisy footage. There are also some subjective arguments where you have to decide whether they matter to you or not. The first one would be very obvious if you are recording a video in 24 fps you would reside in a video with more motion blur then a video in 60 fps. It seems more realistic and it just replicates better what we humans actually perceive.

Last but not least what practically everyone tells you about 24 fps is the certain cinematic vibe – that film look. Practically almost every Hollywood and Bollywood movie was shot in 24 fps and if you want to replicate the style and achieve this film world this would be one of the first starting points. and somehow 60 FPS just looks kind of ugly in comparison to 24 fps. Less real stuff just looks more real in 24 fps than in 60 fps and the imperfections of props and of the post-production department aren’t that noticeable. Of course, there are a few exceptions when you shouldn’t use 24fps: For example in vintage-looking films were 16 fps like in the old days should be used. If you’re shooting actionsequences try to shoot them at a slightly lower frame rate and you will end up with a more fast-paced. And obviously when you shoot something slow-motion related like B-rolls or commercials or sports or anything else like science you should use the highest frame rate possible to eliminate all the motion blur and to slow it down as much as you like. To put it finally in a nutshell just use 24 FPS as your default frame rate for editing or recording, and most likely everything will go right and will work for you!

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