What Is Frame Rate in Video Editing?

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Before the motion picture, we had only static images. We first captured these images on an early camera prototype and managed to give these images the illusion of movement, years before Thomas Edison and the Lumiere brothers had the system patented.

In the late 1880s, inventor Louis Le Prince directed the first moving sequence known as the Roundhay Garden Scene. The entire shot lasts for a little over two seconds. 

Watch the Roundhay Garden Scene (1888) here.

Of course, being the first-ever moving sequence, Roundhay is expectedly rough, having been captured at 12 frames per second, according to Australia’s museum of screen culture ACMI. But what’s giving this silent film its rough, disjointed look?

The answer lies in the number of frames the video is displaying every second, which for Roundhay was not a lot.

But a higher frame rate doesn’t always mean better quality. Sometimes, a low frame rate is more suitable for certain video types. 

So when do you know what frame rate to use? In this article, we explore this question and tackle the importance of this element in video editing. 

Definition of Frame Rate

Videos are essentially a series of images arranged in a sequence to produce the illusion of movement. This illusion of movement is mainly a result of the number of images displayed in a short time. Or more specifically, in a second. In video editing, this is called the frame rate.

A frame in a video is equivalent to a static image. The more frames a video displays per second, the smoother the transition of movement will appear. This is because the transition from one image to the next becomes undetectable to the human eye.

Generally, a video’s frame rate is measured in seconds, hence the unit frames per second (FPS). Comparing today’s movies to Le Prince’s Roundhay, you can see how far filmmakers have come at determining the best frame rate for movies. 

When US-based movie makers began producing silent films in the early 1900s, they filmed the sequences at 16-18 fps, according to the organization Film Independent’s official website.

This is a staggering difference from Roundhay’s 12 fps. However, projecting motion pictures at below 20 fps still fails to produce the smooth transition we’re so used to seeing in videos today. 

So while early filmmakers shot these silent films at 16-18 fps, cinemas in the US projected them at between 20 and 24 fps, giving way to the standard 24 fps in cinematic movies.

A change in a video’s frame rate significantly impacts a person’s viewing experience. Animation, movies, and video games all have different frame rates, depending on the creative lead’s vision. But there are industry standards editors follow to avoid making videos appear jarring to viewers.

Image credits to Canva

The Different Types of Frame Rate in Video Editing

Different types of video projects call for different frame rates. What might work for a piece animation may not work for a video game and vice-versa. However, creatives in the film and video game industries use three basic frame rates: 

  • 24 or more accurately 23.976 fps
  • 30 fps or more accurately 29.97 fps
  • 60 fps or 59.94 fps

There are also standard frame rates for television and broadcasting in the US, in European countries, and in Eastern countries. These are:

  • 29.97 fps for the US
  • 25 fps for European and Eastern countries

The parameters for television seem clear enough. Broadcasting networks set these standards as a way to optimally transmit data from their side to their viewers’ TVs. But what about the rest?

How Do You Know What Frame Rate Works for Your Video Editing Project?

We have certain expectations for watching movies. We expect to be entertained and expect an excellent delivery of the experience we seek. But above all, we expect a movie to feel like a movie. That means the camera must express the right panning, the right transitions, and the right frame rate.

For a video to have that cinematic feel, editors render their project in 24 fps. For film and for many videos on streaming platforms, 24 fps is the standard frame rate. It may sound arbitrary, but this number is a result of years upon years of experimenting by the pioneers in the film industry.

However, while 24 fps is the industry standard for projection, raw footage can be filmed at a significantly higher frame rate, like say around 60 fps. This is helpful for video editors who aim to integrate slow-motion scenes post-production. By filming at a higher frame rate, video editors can turn a regularly paced scene into a slow-moving one without making the video look laggy.

On the other hand, certain video games — whether abstract, stylistic, or realistic — adhere to the standard frame rate of 30 fps or 60 fps. Video games require higher frame rates owing to the fact that responsiveness is crucial to gameplay.

If it’s any slower, players may not enjoy the experience a game offers simply because their view of in-game events screen doesn’t correspond well with the game’s elements. Imagine their frustration in multiplayer mode.

Image credits to Canva

How to Get Professionally Edited Videos for Your Business

Knowledge about frame rates makes up only a fraction of the knowledge required to skillfully edit a video. You also need to know how to navigate around different video editing software, easily correct the quality of footage, and then arrange them accordingly. 

Learning a little more about frame rate is easy, but applying the techniques that go into it can be tough. The same goes for the other elements.

To bring the best out of your video, you will need the technical know-how and artistic flair necessary for video editing. There are endless tutorials available on the web tackling how to use Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and other editing software. Tutorials on the basics of video editing also abound.

Sounds like too much work for your business’s demands? Then what you need is a professional video editor. With a professional video editor, you can efficiently delegate video editing work to someone who already has the eye for this creative process, as well as the knowledge and experience you’re looking for.

You can either find these people in the job market or opt for a more cost-effective and proactive approach like outsourcing. At NarraSoft, our video editors have at least four years of experience before working with us, so you don’t need to go scouting for talent yourself.

Because they’re professionals who have gone through a variety of work in the past, they were able to hone their video editing skills and develop work systems that ensure maximum productivity. 

So if you’re looking for video editors, why not go for a highly experienced team you can rely on and reach with a quick message.

In Summary

What is frame rate in video editing? A video’s frame rate essentially pertains to the number of images it displays every second. The higher the frame rate, the more fluid the movement.

However, a high frame rate is not always the most suitable for certain types of media. For example, movies generally adhere to the standard 24 fps. On the other hand, video games can span from 30 fps to 60 fps, depending on the game’s goals.

Decided you want to hire an adaptable and highly skilled video editing team? NarraSoft’s experience in rendering video editing services spans nearly a decade. Not only are we capable of editing videos with raw footage from your company, but we can also create your videos from scratch! 

We have amazing digital artists, animators, and video editors who can provide you with anything your company needs to get that high-converting, engaging content you’ve been looking for.

Message us on our chat box or social media channels, or you can fill out the contact form on this page! You can also reach us through email at sales@narrasoft.com

Sources: Screen | acmi.net.au | filmindependent.org | hp.com | adobe.com | sony.com

Justine Jordan

Justine Jordan is a content and copy writer. She has written for a popular business daily in the Philippines and for various startups across the globe before transitioning to work for NarraSoft. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines-Diliman with a bachelor's degree in journalism.