Filmmaking can be a confusing and overwhelming process, especially for beginners. With so many numbers and technical terms to keep track of, it’s easy to get lost in the jargon. One area of confusion that often comes up is the difference between frame rates and shutter speed. While they may sound similar, they are two distinct concepts that play important roles in creating the perfect shot.
Frame rate refers to how many frames per second your camera is recording. This is an important factor in achieving a “film look” in your footage. Traditional movie film is shot at 24 frames per second (fps), but there are many other frame rates to consider as well. For example, PAL is used in many European and Asian countries and shoots at 25 fps, while NTSC is used in the US and some European and Asian countries and shoots at 29.97 fps.
It’s worth noting that the frame rates you see on iOS devices and apps (usually 30, 60, or 120 fps) are shot with a variable frame rate. This means that the target rate is not necessarily precise.
One common mistake beginners make is confusing frame rate with shutter speed. Shutter speed relates to how slow or fast the shutter on the camera is opening and closing. The faster the shutter speed, the less light that gets into the camera, and the slower the shutter speed, the more light. For the most part, you will want to choose a shutter speed that is twice the frame rate. This is called shooting at a 180-degree shutter angle and is done in order to achieve a “normal” motion blur.
It’s important to note that many DSLRs and video camcorders do not have a 48 shutter speed setting. In this case, you would set it to 50 (1/50th) to get as close as possible to a 180-degree shutter. If you shoot at 60 fps, make sure to change your shutter speed to 120 (or the closest thing to it) if you want to maintain the 180-degree shutter at that higher rate.
It’s easy to get lost in the technical details of filmmaking, but it’s important to remember that these concepts are just the basics. Once you understand the rules, you can break them for creative reasons. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, it never hurts to go back to basics and refresh your knowledge. With a solid understanding of frame rates and shutter speed, you can create stunning footage that captures the essence of your vision.
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