30fps vs. 60fps: Video Frame Rates Explained

29 November 2021

Cameras are complex pieces of equipment, with 3 times the number of functions to the number of buttons they feature. However, understanding what your camera can do and how to tweak its settings to best serve your purpose will help you capture high-quality content.

All too often when shooting videos, we focus on resolution alone. Recording in 4K will help make your videos look amazing, but so will selecting the right frame rate. Choosing a video camera with frame rate flexibility affords videographers a plethora of creative opportunities. Let’s discover what frame rate means and why it matters.

What is frame rate?

Think of a frame rate as a still image captured by your camera. Videos are just a series of still images stitched together which then appear to show motion to the human eye. Frame rate is measured in “fps”, or “frames per second”. 30fps indicates that there are 30 still images captured per second, and so on. 

In application, this means that the more stills that are captured per second, the more opportunity you have to slow something down in edit whilst playback maintains its smooth appearance. Choosing a slower frame rate provides a jumpier cut sequence on playback when stretched in the same way. Neither is right or wrong, they just give a different creative output.

30fps vs. 60fps: Video Frame Rates Explained30fps vs. 60fps: Video Frame Rates Explained

What’s the difference between 30fps and 60fps?

30fps vs. 60fps: Video Frame Rates Explained30fps vs. 60fps: Video Frame Rates Explained

What’s the difference between fast and slow frame rate? More often than not, faster frame rate is used to slow down motion. Think about the photo finish of a race. 50fps, 120fps or even 200fps are used in Hollywood films to slow time dramatically. Perhaps two of the most common frame rates are 30fps and 60fps. Here is a brief breakdown of both:

  • 30fps - An all-round general use frame rate that is favoured by TV broadcasts and is a great choice for shooting general scenes and moderate action alike. 30fps provides plenty of detail, with some people finding it a little too surreal for this reason; these users often prefer the more cinematic frame rate of 24fps - this is the frame rate used to create Hollywood movies.
  • 60fps - A fast frame rate freezes fast-paced action such as sports, owing to the fact that it captures twice as many frames in a second when compared to 30fps.

What frame rate should I use?

There’s no such thing as “the right frame rate”. Different parts of the creative sector favour different frame rates, and it all depends on your desired result. Here's a little overview of the most commonly used frame rates:

  • 1-15fps is a rate typically used for time lapses.
  • 24fps, also known as the cinematic option, is favoured by filmmakers and content creators.
  • 30fps is historically used for TV broadcasts and TV shows.
  • 60fps is used in fast-paced action capture, for example in live sports where blurry imagery is distinctly frowned upon. If you’re planning to make parts of your video slow motion and add speed ramps in post-production, you’ll also want to use 60fps.
  • 120fps is used to show extreme slow motion, commonly used in food cooking videos to add a layer of sensory experience to the vision. Think clouds of flour, or melting butter sliding down a stack on pancakes.
30fps vs. 60fps: Video Frame Rates Explained30fps vs. 60fps: Video Frame Rates Explained
30fps vs. 60fps: Video Frame Rates Explained30fps vs. 60fps: Video Frame Rates Explained

Lastly, take into consideration that faster frame rates result in larger files. This has an implication in the video editing phase, and you’ll need more computer processing power to deal with the fast frame rate footage. Therefore, frame rate should be a technical as well as a creative consideration. Before choosing a frame rate consider the following questions:

  • What is being filmed?
  • Where will it be published? (TV, Movie, YouTube)
  • What is the capability of the computer or time restraints for editing?

View a selection of some great cameras for video recording

Create your own cinematic videos now

Are you ready to get back behind the camera? Check out our full guides on how to make a video from start to finish and our 5 tips for shooting video on your phone on the blog. Browse our range of digital video cameras online and visit your local Ted’s store to get expert advice from Ted’s staff.

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