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March 3, 2016

Frame Rate and Why it Matters

When creating digital content for a client, one thing you’ll need to know is how they want their content to “feel.” What do we mean by that? Well, what emotions do they want their spot to portray? Do they want a fast-paced spot filled with action? Or maybe a slow, dramactic, emotional spot? Knowing how the client envisions the final product will tell you what frame rate is needed to fulfill your client’s needs.

But first, a basic understanding of frame rate and how standard video works.

Frame Rate: the frequency at which frames in a television picture, film, or video sequence are displayed.

Movies are captured images in a sequence that show motion, not actual video. The example below shows a sequence of photographs taken by Eadweard Muybridge of a horse galloping. Upon further investigation, the slowing down of the motion actually revealed that the horse, at one point, had all of its feet off the ground. Whoa! This was really riveting stuff back in 1887. In the year 2016, not so much. We now have cameras that can process footage at 4.4 trillion frames per second.

 

Race Horse First Film Ever 1878 Eadweard Muybridge

 

So, why does frame rate matter?

Well, again it’s about understanding the client’s wants and needs. Frame rate is what will give you that fast-pace that evokes urgency. Or, it will add emotion and drama if you slow it down. Understanding the effect and how it will portray your client’s needs will ensure you deliver the content they want.  Do they want slower and more emotional, or a fast-paced look? Maybe a mix of both?

It’s important to note that not all camera equipment is created equally. Some cameras are faster and some are slower at processing these images meaning more time during the edit and filming process. If you are crunched for time I would suggest shooting in 60 frames per second. Why? Well, there are enough frames to work with and achieve the goals of normal, fast, and slow motion. Granted there are still limitations but it will save headaches in the long haul.

Now, we have only just scratched the surface of frame rate and it’s capabilities. I could ramble on for hours… but I won’t. However, if you’d like to learn more just say hello@fwdigital.net and we can help.

Kasey Sullivan, Editor