Tip #012: Easy vs. Hard Frame Rate Conversions

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #012: Easy vs. Hard Frame Rate Conversions

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Changing frame size is easy. Changing frame rate is not.

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The basic rule of frame rates is: “Shoot the frame rate you need to deliver.”

Why? Because changing frame rates is non-trivial. Some frame rate conversions are easy, others will add jitter or stutter to the playback. The faster the frame rate, the more “real” the image will seem. Slower frame rates tend to have a lot of motion blur.

The good news is that if your project is bound for the web or computer playback, you can use any frame rate. The web is very flexible. Braodcast, cable and digital cinema are much less forgiving.

In general, it is easy to convert frame rates that are multiples of each other:

  • 24 to/from 48
  • 25 to/from 50
  • 29.97 to/from 59.94
  • 30 to/from 60

What’s hard is when frame rates don’t divide evenly. Now, the computer needs to play games creating false frames to get things to work out, or change the speed of playback, which is what we do to get from 24 to 25 or 25 to 24.

Tricky conversions are between 24 and 30 or 25 and 30 in either direction. These tend to cause jittery playback.


If you are shooting high-frame rate video for slomo, keep your project frame rate slower to provide the best results when slowing your media. So, a project at 30 fps provides better slomo than a project at 60 fps.

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3 replies
  1. Mike
    Mike says:

    This Inside Tip only scratches the surface of frame and field rate conversion. I think it would make a great article length presentation with more background, common challenges, and some known good practices to achieve good conversions.

    • Larry Jordan
      Larry Jordan says:


      You are correct – frame rates are, at best, REALLY confusing. However, my personal rule for these tips is to keep them to 250 words or less.

      I’ve already written several articles on frame rates. I’ll add writing more to my list.



  2. David vogt
    David vogt says:

    It should be mentioned that fcpx has a good tool for handling frame rate speed changes and provides the ability to deal with non-integeral rate changes.


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