Frame rates 101

You may have heard about frame rates and how they affect your videos. Frame rate denotes the number of frames that your video has. The number of frames plays back even a second when you play your video. You may be aware that video is just like still photos. Several still photos in sequential order are shot and then stacked together to create motion. Add audio to that, and voila, you have a video clip.

But how does the video frame rate affect the quality of that video? The frame rate does not determine the quality of the videos. But it affects how smooth the video will appear when it’s played back. You can shoot at 24 fps (frames per second) and then play back at 24 fps. This is the frame rate that’s commonly used in movie production.

At 24 fps, the image appears very smooth, and the clips start to look uber-smooth as the frame rate increases.

International broadcasting happens mostly at 25 fps. In North America, especially in the United States, TV broadcasts at 30 fps. Many OTT platforms these days broadcast their content at 24 fps. Netflix originals, for example, are mainly broadcasted at 24 fps.

Shooting at a higher frame rate, such as 60 or 120 fps, isn’t always desirable unless you have a specific reason. Such as when you want to play back the footage at a slower frame rate and create a slo-mo effect. So you can shoot at 60 fps and then playback at 24 fps for a fascinating effect.

A higher frame rate also has a toll on your storage requirement and your processing speed. The more frames you capture higher the number of images per second you need to store in your hard drive. You need a larger hard drive with extra capacity, and then the data management part comes with it.

But also integrated with the need for computing speed and resources. More frames and higher resolution of those frames means you need additional capacity to process all those data. It’s not uncommon for camera processors to get overheated when shooting at 4K for an extended period. That happens because the processor cannot keep up with the amount of data it’s being pushed to process.

This is why it’s best to look at different aspects when buying a camera. It would help if you also looked at the camera’s codecs and compression technology because it also has a bearing. We’ll discuss those at a later time.