The frame rate indicates how many frames per second (fps) are shown in cinema films, videos and television. Cameras capture a series of still images (frames). They are perceived by the human eye as a continuously moving image through accelerated reproduction. Recall how a flip book works, in which a sequence of individual images can be viewed as a continuous sequence of images.

Frame rate explained by Wylder Motion Design

When film was still in its infancy, capturing fluid movements was not possible due to the much too short exposure time. Only with rolls of film, which were wound by hand through a camera, did the late 1880s allow a larger number of images in direct succession. During the silent film era, 16 fps was widely used for filming. With the synchronization of sound and moving images came talkies, and with them a frame rate of 24. This remains the industry standard to this day. Today the frame rates are standardized by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Editors (SMPTE) to 24, 25 and 30 fps or Hz (Hertz).

What are different frame rates used for?

Different frame rates are used to achieve special effects. Each speed has its advantages and disadvantages:

24 frames per second is used for cinema films, streaming videos and smartphones. This roughly corresponds to normal human vision.

25 fps (PAL) and 30 fps (NTSC) are common when filming TV shows and live broadcasts. Especially at sporting events, movements can be displayed clearly and in real time.

60 frames per second is preferred for 4K videos. When recording video games, they increase the image quality and ensure smooth motion sequences.

A rate of 120 frames per second enables the creation of slow-motion videos and the recording of video games with complex action. However, this requires a high-speed camera.

The frame rate therefore influences how a video is experienced by the viewer. It decides how realistic a video looks and whether certain effects such as motion blur, time lapse or slow motion should be implemented.

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