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The Ultimate Frame Rate Guide for Beginners - Riverside.fm

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The Ultimate Frame Rate Guide for Beginners - Riverside.fm

Understanding frame rates and choosing the best frame rate for your video is essential when making any sort of audiovisual recording, including video podcasts and interviews. Frame rates impact everything from the file size of your video to your audience’s watching experience, so it’s important to get them right.

Giving users a constant frame rate file to ensure synchronized audio and video is one of the reasons Riverside is the best software for recording remote interviews, podcasts, and webinars that look and sound great.

This article will help you understand the basics of frame rates, from what they are to which is the best to use for your content.

What Is Frame Rate To Begin With?

Frame rate is quite a simple concept when you break it down. Here’s the core of it: no matter how high-tech our hardware and software are when we watch a video, we’re watching a sequence of still photographs. These photos, known as frames, are shown at a rate that makes them look like they’re moving.

In the simplest possible terms, it works like a flick book. This is the case whether you’re watching a feature-length film or looking at the cursor moving on your computer screen. So, the frame rate is a measure of speed that indicates how many still image frames are shown per unit of time. It’s usually measured in seconds which is where the term FPS or “frames per second” comes from.

Labeling Frame Rates Through Timecode

When working with video, it’s useful to be able to reference an exact moment within your file, right down to the still frame. This allows you to find the best shots and can prevent synchronization problems in post-production.

The most common way to label timings in your video is using SMPTE timecode. When you look at the timecode, the frame is the smallest increment you’ll see: 

HOURS:MINUTES:SECONDS:FRAMES

The last section of the timecode can only go as high as the frame rate. So if your frame rate is 24 FPS, the timecode after hh:mm:00:23 would be hh:mm:01:00. This shows 24 frames are being shown per second.

Frame Rate VS. Refresh Rate

Let’s take a moment to look at other terms which are often confused with frame rate. Refresh rate, measured in hertz, refers to how quickly a monitor or display refreshes. As a rule, the higher the refresh rate, the better quality the moving image. 

Having said that, most displays these days refresh at 60 Hz, which is adequate for the majority of users. A refresh rate of 60 displays each frame in a 60 FPS video, which is the highest frame rate usually used for streaming. Typically, the only users who would require a higher refresh rate would be serious gamers watching action- and detail-loaded moving images.

Frame Rate VS. Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is not the same as frame rate. Shutter speed is how long your camera exposes light onto a camera sensor when taking a photo or filming a video. This is controlled by your camera’s shutter. The longer this is open, the more light comes in and vice-versa. On the other hand, the meaning of frame rates or fps refers to how quickly the sequence of image frames is shown in a given unit of time.

The average camera is set to a shutter speed of 60, which means each shot is exposed to light for 1/60th of a second. This is helpful because a general rule is that your shutter speed should be twice your frame rate. If you’re filming at 30 FPS, a shutter speed of 1/60 is perfect.

Why do Frame Rates matter in filming video?

Frame rates have a huge impact on the style of a video and our viewing experience of it. Different speeds have different effects. Choosing the right frame depends on what you want your video to look like.

Lower frame rates, that is to say, under 24 FPS, will have a juddery appearance and will flicker, giving the impression of a low-quality visual. Higher frame rates will appear smoother and more realistic. Frame rates also impact file size and internet usage. The higher the frame rate, the larger your file will be and the more bandwidth it will use.

How Many FPS do we as Humans See?

Several studies have been carried out over the years to find how many frames our eyes (or rather, our brains) can perceive per second and what frame rate we prefer to watch. The generally accepted average is that humans can see between 30 and 60 FPS, although some evidence has shown the upper limit is a lot higher for some people: around 75 FPS.

One of the main reasons that 24 FPS is the standard for movies is because it is considered to be the lowest frame rate required to make motion appear natural to the human eye.

When to use different frame rates?

While the SMPTE has set standardized frame rates for TV and movies, there is no set standard for online video. In general, recommended frame rate depends on the content and desired impact of the video, as well as geographical region:

24 FPS — the standard for most movies and streaming video content.

25 FPS (UK & Europe) and 30 FPS (the US & elsewhere) — standard frame rate for TV video. The higher frame rate is good for fast-moving video like sports coverage.

50 FPS (UK & Europe) and 60 FPS (the US & elsewhere) — 50 FPS (UK & Europe) and 60 FPS (the US & elsewhere) — high frame rate with much more detail making it the best frame rate for 4K video. This and anything higher such as 120fps is generally used to shoot slow-motion footage.

Most cameras, including the one on your smartphone, will film as standard in 30 FPS but offer the option to increase to 60 FPS and higher to create slow-motion videos.

If you’re the visual type, watch this below to get a better understanding how the different FPS look against each other:

What’s The Best Frame Rate For Video?

While we’ve mentioned standard frame rates for movies and TV above, this section will delve into the right frame rate to make your interviews, podcasts, and videos look great:

How to Choose the Right Frame Rate

When choosing between 24 or 30 vs 60 fps or higher, there are various factors you’ll want to consider.

  • Content. How much action is there in your video? Are you shooting slow motion?
  • Desired look and feel of your video. Do you want a cinematic feel? Are you imitating a vintage film? Would you prefer a highly realistic effect?
  • Device. What frame rate is standard or optimal on your camera? What type of display will your audience be watching on?
  • File size. The lower your frame rate, the smaller the file size. You don’t want to run out of storage while making your video!
  • Time to export. The higher the FPS, the longer your video will take to export.
  • Bandwidth. Lower frame rates use less bandwidth. This is an important factor in producing your video and making it easy for your audience to access!

The Right Frame Rate for YouTube And Other Video Sharing Platforms

Some video streaming platforms, including YouTube, allow frame rates of up to 60 FPS. However, others like Facebook Live are limited to 30 FPS. To be able to share your video across multiple platforms, the best option is to record 24 FPS or 30 FPS.

One of the main stipulations for platforms like YouTube is recording, encoding, and uploading your video at the same frame rate. So once you’ve picked your FPS, remember to stick with it for all your video’s recordings!

Frame Rates For Remote Recordings (E.G. Video Podcasting, Remote Interviews, Etc.)

Podcasts and interviews are recorded remotely now more than ever. Of course, this brings with it a whole host of potential issues, from failing internet connection to poor synchronization. This is a common problem when multiple participants are recording at different frame rates.

At Riverside, we don’t think your videos’ quality or consistency needs to suffer as a result. To ensure the quality of your video even at low bandwidths, Riverside records ISO video tracks locally. That is to say, separate videos are recorded on your and/or your guests’ devices with up to 4k resolution quality. You get a constant frame rate file locked at 24 FPS for each participant, allowing for easy syncing in post-production for a polished finished recording.

We may be biased, but our software is undoubtedly the easiest way to record remote podcasts and video interviews in studio quality.

Is a Higher Frame Rate Better for Video Recording?

A high frame rate is not necessarily the right choice for your video. As we’ve learned in this article, choosing the right frame rates for you depends on your content and the experience you want your audience to have. Additionally, file size and bandwidth restrictions can also dictate what frame rates you should use.

To summarize
: For podcasts, webinars, and interviews, 24 or 30 FPS provide a smooth, high-quality video on most displays. If you’re worried about storage or bandwidth issues, going for the lower frame rate is your best bet.

Optimize Video Quality With The Right Frame Rate 

We hope this article has helped you get a good understanding of frame rates and what frame rate is best for your video use case. As with other aspects of video production, there is a lot to consider when choosing the right frame rates. Thankfully, using Riverside makes all of this a lot simpler.

Whichever frame rate you choose for your video, our unique, locally-recording software ensures high-quality video that’s optimized to your required bandwidth and file sizes, making it great for live streaming or saving to edit and post later.

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