Utilize frame rates
Frame rates can affect the sharpness, smoothness, and visual dynamics of your videos. Try experimenting with frame rates to produce different effects.
Advancements in film and frame rates
In the early days of cinema, film was very expensive -- so much so that when directors cranked their cameras, they used the lowest acceptable frame rate for smooth motion in order to conserve film. That threshold varied between 16 and 24 frames per second, and was eventually standardized at 24 frames per second, or fps. That was the standard for decades, and still is for movies.
When television came along, its frame rates were set as an even divisor of the local alternating current frequency. This produced a split in global standards. 60Hz countries like the U.S. and Japan chose to run TV at an equivalent 30 fps, whereas the 50Hz countries in Europe and Asia chose 25 fps.
In the present digital era, there are big changes afoot: first, most cameras and displays are capable of handling multiple frame rates, so all the old ways are supported, and second, some new options are available. The High Definition (HD) and Ultra High Definition (UHD, or colloquially 4K) specifications support frame rates up to 60 fps, which can allow creators to display footage that’s sharper, smoother, and more dynamic than ever before, or enable a high-quality version of the 3D illusion.
- Play and upload high frame rate footage
- Watch videos on YouTube at a high frame rate
- Frame rate as creative choice (Resource in English)
- Advanced encoding settings
- Top frame rates for your eyes (Resource in English)
See it in action
See the difference between 24 fps and 60 fps(Wait for it...)
What’s the best frame rate for me?
Frame rate is a creative choice. With lower frame rates, your brain tends to subconsciously understand that what you're looking at is not real, so choosing 24 fps can help convey make-believe concepts like fairy tales or other out-of-this-world fiction. Higher frame rates make the scene look more life-like and realistic and work well for contemporary fiction, documentaries, action blockbusters, and the like. It's true that 60 fps is technically the best target for smooth motion, but achieving a stop-motion look works well at 12 fps, while you couldn't distinguish the ball in a soccer game running at 24 fps. Often, creators default to the frame rate which is grandfathered in their region -- 29.97 fps in the USA and Japan, and 25 fps in the U.K., E.U., and most of Asia. Choose wisely!
Keep in mind that because the eye is complex and doesn’t see individual frames, none of this is hard science, merely observations made by people over time. Here are some of the typical frame rates used in videos and film:
- 12 fps: Absolute minimum for motion portrayal. Anything below is recognized as individual images.
- 24 fps: Minimum tolerable to perceive motion. It’s both cost-efficient and good for the old-fashioned cinematic “film look.”
- 25 fps: The normal TV standard in the U.K., E.U., and most of Asia.
- 30 fps (usually 29.97): This the standard for the U.S. and Japan.
- 48 fps: Double the rate of traditional film.
- 60 fps: Today’s high-end for frame rate. Most people won’t perceive much smoother motion above 60 fps. This is great for high-action movement.
See it in action
Smooth aerial view of California shot at 60 fpsIn contrast to the following video example, this video, shot at 60 fps, presents a sharper and smoother visual experience. Be sure to change your YouTube viewing quality settings to 720p or 1080p (found in the settings cog wheel in the YouTube player.)
Stop-motion animation shot at 12 fpsThis video, shot at 12 fps, is one example of how shooting with a lower frame rate can be used to produce creative results.
High frame rate for all on YouTube
Until recently, the maximum frame rate on YouTube was capped at 30 fps, but now we’re playing back videos shot at up to 60 fps (we also support 48 and 50 fps too!). Creators producing animated or gaming videos love 60 fps because it allows videos to take advantage of the high frame rate output of gaming consoles, and results in a sharper, smoother visuals.
High frame rate is also available on live streams. When you start a live stream on YouTube at 60fps, we’ll transcode your stream into 720p60 and 1080p60, which means silky smooth playback for things like gaming and other fast-action videos.
60 fps can be used for more general shooting, too. When panning, 60 fps helps to keep the motion looking sharp and smooth while the camera is in motion, whereas panning too quickly with a lower frame rate adds judder or comes at the expense of detail. This happens because by shooting at a lower frame rate, like 24 fps, the camera shutter stays open for a longer amount of time to capture more motion on a single frame, resulting in motion blur. This creates a fake smooth look on screen at the expense of detail. But at 60 fps, you capture enough motion portrayed naturally to allow you to tighten the shutter for crystal-clear images. Also, HFR can be useful when fading because stuttering can occur with lower frame rates. Of course, there's no law about using a single frame rate across your entire video: you may choose to use 24 fps for that cinematic, dreamy look, but switch to 60 when it makes sense:
- Explosions: Explosions shot at 24 fps movies are either sharp and stuttery, or blurry but smooth. In HFR, we can show ultra-fast explosions (with lots of debris) that are smooth to the eye, yet crisp and clear.
- Liquids: 2X wider choice of shutter settings when shooting fast-moving liquids.
- Action scenes: Scenes like a boxing match or a fight.
- Shooting arrows and objects: Motion blur at lower frame rates prevents the eye from tracking fast-moving objects, and scenes shot in HFR do not suffer from this.
Reference and more in-depth information: http://paulbakaus.com/tutorials/performance/the-illusion-of-motion/
See it in action
With 60 fps, there's no need to compromise between motion blur and detailIn scenes that have a lot of action with small moving objects, like this clip from Nintendo, 60 fps allows you to still distinguish every individual character in pristine detail, while seeing silky smooth images.
Does higher frame rate improve audience retention?Try it now
Play around with shooting at different frame rates. Shoot part of your video at 60 fps and see if this has an effect on your audience. Upload a video with varying frame rates and check your Audience retention report in YouTube Analytics to see how different parts of your video perform. Does shooting with different frame rates help keep your audience watching?