… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1544: Pick the Best SloMo Frame Rate

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Not all frame rates are created equal.

(Image courtesy of Lisa Fotios, Pexels.com.)

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This article, written by Lewis McGregor, first appeared in ShutterStock.com. This is a summary.

NOTE: The key feature of this article is a video tutorial illustrating all these frame rates.

It wasn’t too long ago that shooting in slow motion was reserved only for cinema cameras. Or, at the very least, high-definition slow motion was reserved for cinema cameras. Today’s cameras now provide higher frame rates as a matter of course. However, which slow motion frame rate should you use for your online content? Too slow and a simple footstep may take five seconds to complete. Too fast and you may not slow down your footage enough.

  • 48/50 fps. Double the frame rate is, in fact, perfectly adequate to capture several elements in slow motion. Because it doubles a single second, it’s not slow enough to become fully evident that slow motion is taking place. Still, contradictory to that, it’s slow enough to emphasize a moment in time.
  • 60 fps. So, 60fps are great for the dramatic character moments. It’s slow enough to be noticeable and put emphasis on the given moment. Whether that’s the hero shot, closing in on an emotional moment, or slowing downtime in an important scene. Essentially, where there’s a human character involved and bringing you into the character’s frame of mind in a human moment.
  • 120 fps. Typically, any time something is happening faster than we can humanly see, or at least any subject that becomes obscured with motion blur—like animals running, liquid, or fast-action sports—can benefit from 120fps.
  • 180 fps. The same principles apply as 120fps, as we’ve moved out of the region of reasonable purpose to film humans at this speed. So, it’ll be useful for elements that have many fast-moving subjects that need to be slowed even further. When we push past 180, we’re moving into special use frame rates typically used for advertising, wildlife, and sports.

IN SUMMARY

  • 48/50fps for emphasizing small moments to mean something bigger.
  • 60fps for character/scene importance and bringing the audience into the bubble of the character.
  • 120fps for fast-moving subjects, elements, and sports.
  • 180fps will pull from above, but with greater emphasis on slowing things down.

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