Sue Bryce’s Video Basics: Frame Rate

Moira West


Last week we launched a new blog series with photographer Sue Bryce to give you some basic tips for shooting video with your DSLR camera. Today, Sue will be introducing you to one of basic video settings on your camera: frame rate.

Style: Documentary
Song: “A Cool Affair” by Black and Brown

So what’s frame rate?

Frame rate is the number of images (frames) you see in a second of video. The higher your frame rate, the clearer the video will be (and also the more memory your video will require).

What do the other frame rates on my camera do?

Sue showed you how to select a frame rate of 24 frames per second (fps). Here’s a quick description of some other frame rates you might see on your camera and why you might choose them:

  • 24 fps: This is the frame rate typically used in motion pictures. If you’d like a cinematic look with a softer edge, 24 fps is a good choice. This is the frame rate Sue selected in the video above, and it will look good on most televisions and monitors.
  • 25 fps: Used in the PAL (phase alternating line) video system, this is the frame rate used in television in the UK and in many other countries. If you plan to show videos on televisions or monitors outside of the US and Canada, 25 fps will work well with that equipment.
  • 30 fps: This frame rate is common in US television and many other countries in the Americas. It’s a good choice if you plan to show your videos on American monitors or televisions.
  • 48 fps and above: These high frame rates will give you ultra-crisp images. Currently, there are a few movies experimenting with high frame rates, but it’s not the norm.

Ultimately, the frame rate you select is a stylistic choice as well as a practical one, given how much memory high frame rates can eat up. Try experimenting on your own and see which frame rate works best for you.

And be sure to come back next week for more video tips from Sue when she’ll be covering focus.