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Why I NEVER Shoot Video at 24FPS

herein2021

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I thought I would continue my food for thought series and this time its not even something that costs money. In case you missed it, I posted why I never use CPL filters and why I never use ND filters with drone cameras. There are so many things that YouTubers and social media content producers do to try to mimic Hollywood without understanding why and simply doing it because they were told to do so in someone else's YouTube video. Framerates are a hotly discussed topic in cinema camera forums and I have seen a few posts here where people have stated they only shoot at 24FPS.

BACKGROUND

Way back in the day, when Hollywood still used film stock they did a lot of testing to see what was the slowest framerate they could use while still making the motion believable. At the time, filmstock was expensive and the higher the framerate the more filmstock it took to create the movie which translated into higher production costs. Somewhere along the way they settled on 24FPS as the perfect balance between smooth motion and film stock costs. Fast forward to 2021 and most people still film at 24FPS because they think it will make their video more "cinematic" since that's the framerate that Hollywood uses.

29.97 / 30 FPS

At 30FPS motion becomes smooth enough that it looks more like what you would see if you were there in person. Soap operas, live action sports, and most cell phone video apps record in 29.97FPS. Video games tend to go even higher to 60FPS or 120FPS to add hyperrealism to the game play.

MY TEST RESULTS

Years ago I did a lot of testing with 24FPS and 29.97FPS and decided I would never use 24FPS unless a client specified it. I typically shoot events, music videos, corporate promo videos, etc; not exactly the next Hollywood blockbuster. What my own personal testing revealed was that 24FPS is just a pain to work with so it adds to the setup and editing time, and to my particular client; they can't tell the difference. For everything I do, I always consider if the client is willing to pay extra for the amount of extra time it would take to complete their project and if the answer is no, then I don't do it.

24FPS PROBLEMS

As I alluded to, 24FPS can introduce a lot of problems into your footage if you are not careful or do not take the extra time necessary to properly process the footage or shoot it properly. The biggest problem with 24FPS is noticeable when you pan too fast; the motion looks very jittery if you are not careful. Hollywood of course knows this and accounts for it, but many people don't. The other problem with 24FPS is that it needs to be conformed properly within the NLE when editing a project with mixed framerates. Most cameras can shoot at 24FPS, 29.97FPS, and 59.94FPS. The problems arise when you shoot 59.94FPS then try to slow down the footage in post to match the 24FPS footage. Or you shot parts of the video at 29.97FPS and then try to get it to match up with 24FPS. This is more common when you purchase stock footage for a project or someone else shot some of the footage in the project with different framerate settings.

Most of the jittery/stuttering footage that you see on YouTube and even in some Hollywood movies is due to mixed framerate conformance issues. I've seen many great videos completely ruined by jitter. It always surprises me though when I see it even in a Hollywood movie. I still remember a helicopter scene where the buildings were stuttering so bad that it was hard to watch.

29.97FPS BENEFITS

So with all of that being said, shooting at 29.97FPS eliminates all of these problems. You can pan so fast your head spins and it will still look perfectly smooth to the human eyes. You can also shoot at 59.94FPS and drop it onto a 29.97FPS timeline and since 29.97FPS is exactly 1/2 the framerate of 59.94FPS there are no framerate conformance issues.

Of course 29.97FPS isn't perfect; if you really are shooting the most cinematic video ever, and you really want to mimic the "look" that people say they see when shooting at 24FPS, then the only way you will achieve that look is with 24FPS.

WHAT I DO

Personally I simply always shoot at 29.97FPS and I've never had a single customer complain. The exception is when I am shooting for International clients who need 25FPS (PAL) but I've never had a US client mandate 24FPS. I do always ask at the start of the project especially if I am just shooting B roll for a larger project and so far every one of them has been fine with 29.97FPS.

What I have found over the years is that as long as you have interesting subject matter, good camera movement, good audio, and good lighting the client really won't care what framerate you use. For me, when I want the "cinematic" look and feel, I plan my shoot with lenses, lighting, and camera angles that will support the look and feel I am going for; in post I apply a color grade that also matches the look I want. Frame rate isn't a part of the consideration except when I need slow motion.

THE EVO II 6K PRO

The EVO II 6K PRO is the first camera I've ever owned that shoots 30FPS vs every other camera that I own that shoots 29.97FPS. I still find it pretty odd and have been closely monitoring the footage for conformance issues on a 29.97FPS timeline; so far it doesn't seem visible. I do still conform it in my NLE to 29.97FPS but I need to do more testing to see if it matters.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Why I NEVER Use Circular Polarizer Lenses

Why I NEVER User ND Filters with Drone Cameras

Autel EVO II 6K Pro - User Experience From a DJI User

EXPLORE YOUR WORLD: An Autel EVO II Pro 6K Cinematic Story
 
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quinn karter

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Good Advice. And, yeah I read your other post re: ND and CPL filters. Thanks. I have since removed my CPL filter. I just change my angle of attack to the water relative to the sunlight in order to remove or create reflections.
 

herein2021

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Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and knowledge. Even though I'm just a hobbyist I benefit from learning how the pro's do it.

Sure no problem, I like conversations like these; they also make me revisit decisions I made years ago and I think about if they are still valid today. As technology and capabilities change, its important to always re-evaluate how you do something to decide if its outdated or if there's a better way.

Good Advice. And, yeah I read your other post re: ND and CPL filters. Thanks. I have since removed my CPL filter. I just change my angle of attack to the water relative to the sunlight in order to remove or create reflections.

That's great to hear; I do put a lot of time and thought into these posts so its always good to hear it helped someone. Time of day is a great one too. Something that looks terrible at 10AM could look completely different at 4PM.

I once had a client that wanted a promo video for a new multi-family living community but wanted both sides of the community perfectly lit by the sun. The problem was, the front was facing West and the backs of the homes were facing East. So I had to film only the back of the homes between 9AM and 11AM and only the fronts of the homes between 2PM and 4PM, then edit the video together to make it all look like the same time of day. People really never know what goes on behind the scenes of even simple videos.
 
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herein2021

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? I'm just a nub hack, when I tell ppl "it took me 5-6hrs to make that 2min video" they are quite surprised

There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. 30s Super Bowl commercials have been known to cost $10M+ and take a year to shoot.

My Explore Your World video took about 1,000 miles of driving and a month to shoot due to limited free time, having to coordinate with venues, getting permits, casting the talent, working with the weather, etc.

I am all about quality vs quantity but also keeping it simple; so when decisions like picking framerates comes up....I see no reason to overcomplicate the selection.
 
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AirStreamPictures

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An interesting historical note—when early 20th century filmmakers did their tests, they actually settled on 16fps as the sweet spot between film stock use and smooth motion. But optical sound didn’t work well with the film moving that slowly. So it is actually sync sound we have to thank for the 24fps standard.
 
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herein2021

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An interesting historical note—when early 20th century filmmakers did their tests, they actually settled on 16fps as the sweet spot between film stock use and smooth motion. But optical sound didn’t work well with the film moving that slowly. So it is actually sync sound we have to thank for the 24fps standard.

I also find it interesting why the standard 30FPS is actually 29.97FPS instead due to having to add the color data to what started out as a Black and White signal without breaking all of the existing transmitters and receivers used to display the signal on older TVs. Technically 30FPS would be perfectly fine today, but actual 30FPS isn't even an option in most cameras.
 

Mike Mas

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Most Pilots are under the false impression that if they shoot 24 frames their "Video" will look like "Film" which is the furthest from the truth. There is no way your video is going to have a film look regardless of how much processing they do in post. Video has far different and worse look when compared to film.

Aside from a number of problems with editing systems, bottom line the 24 frames goes in the trash can since 99% of the viewers are doing so at 30 frames.

Regards - Mike
 
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herein2021

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Most Pilots are under the false impression that if they shoot 24 frames their "Video" will look like "Film" which is the furthest from the truth. There is no way your video is going to have a film look regardless of how much processing they do in post. Video has far different and worse look when compared to film.

Aside from a number of problems with editing systems, bottom line the 24 frames goes in the trash can since 99% of the viewers are doing so at 30 frames.

Regards - Mike

It is always interesting to me that people spend so much money and time trying to replicate the "look" of the media production tools that people used to use from a time when that's all they had. I am pretty sure a producer in the film days would have given anything to be able to replicate the "look" that we have now and to use the tools that we have now.

24fps, 180 degree shutter angle, light leaks, film grain, glitch effects...these were all considered film problems back in the day but in modern times people go out of their way to keep their footage from looking like a camcorder and in the process start going down an expensive and complex rabbit hole of trying to replicate either much more expensive productions or the "film" look. Typically what ends up happening is they fail at both and instead negatively impact what could have been good footage.
 

Mike Mas

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It's amazing, with all this fake technology for video and millions of filters but no one can replicate the beauty of 35 mm film.

Regretfully today directors do everything they can to kill the original look when they do shoot film to be different like white-washing, all gray, all red, kill the contract, etc. The original look of film from the early days such as "Fried Green Tomatoes" still brings the viewer into the film with its unique but common beauty.

Regards - Mike
 

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