Infinity FPS – Working with Frame Rates
There is something incredibly relatable about film. I’m not referring to story or music but to the analog format. 35mm at 24 fps projected celluloid strips that soothe the soul. I am not the only one who feels this. Part of the reason film became so instantly successful is biology. The human eye processes images at a rate similar to 24 frames per second. As technology progressed, new frame rates became more possible yet filmmakers were wary to experiment with them. They knew that 18fps had a choppy feel as it was the original norm that predates 24fps. Scientists have used a 1 million fps camera to observe the flapping of hummingbirds. And they still couldn’t capture the individual strokes of their wings. It is easy to change the frame rate with a digital camera. Let’s look at the reasons why you would want to shoot at 30 or 60fps, etc.
According to Television
American television broadcasts operate on approximately 30 fps, actually 29.97 given the frame drop rate that has to do with the introduction of color. European television operated at 25 fps because of the output stations running on 50Hz. If you want to think it is because they are trying to mimic film quality then I won’t stop you. Online video is usually presented in 30fps, the non-drop-off rate because it can process the color more efficiently. Both are completely fine formats for watching online as well. When DVD players were a thing, they were region coded to prevent viewers from watching foreign films. There was really no good reason for this other than censorship. Thankfully online has dropped that need.
What Film Brings
There now exists the possibility to shoot your videos in 60fps. The rumor is it can output far more detail without being glitchy. The Hobbit (2011) was shot and projected in select theaters in this format. The demand for the other films in the series to be shown in 60-fps was nonexistent. It was a nice try but film audiences were not taking to it. I personally suffered nausea during the first few minutes of the film until my eyes adjusted.
Make FPS Your Own
As the frame rate increases, you can take advantage of detail. This becomes important if you want the option to work slow-motion clips or time-lapse. Sometimes you will want your video to have a less than comfortable feel. Especially in marketing videos when showing how life can be without the sponsored product. The eye of the filmmaker is in testing out the limits of the new technology and expand on what already exists.