Choosing a Frame Rate
Movies on film are almost exclusively projected at 24 fps. Television, however, does not
have an internationally accepted frame rate. In Europe and many other countries,
PAL and SECAM use 25 fps, while NTSC video in North America and Japan uses
29.97 fps. Other common frame rates are usually multiples of these.
Note: Converting video formats from one frame rate to another is technically
challenging, and there are often unwanted visual side effects. This is especially true
when the frame rates do not evenly divide. For example, converting 30 fps to 60 fps is
fairly easy to do, but converting 29.97 fps to 25 fps is much more difficult. Making sure
audio stays in sync throughout the conversion is yet another challenge.
Frame Rate and Timecode
Some digital video formats actually support several frame rates within a single format,
allowing variable frame rate video recording and film (24 fps) compatibility.
Many people round 29.97 fps to 30 fps, but this can lead to confusion
during post-production. Today, it is still very rare to use a frame rate of 30 fps, but very
common to use 29.97 fps. When in doubt, ask people to clarify whether they really
mean 30 fps, or if they are simply rounding 29.97 fps for convenience.
This is the universally accepted film frame rate. Movie
theaters worldwide almost always use this frame rate. Many
high definition formats can record and play back video at this
rate, though 23.98 is usually chosen instead (see below).
This is 24 fps slowed down by 99.9% (1000/1001) to easily
transfer film to NTSC video. Many high definition video formats
(and some SD formats) can record at this speed, and it is usually
preferred over true 24 fps because of NTSC compatibility.
The European video standard. Film is sometimes shot at
25 fps when destined for editing or distribution on PAL video.
This has been the color NTSC video standard since 1953. This
number is sometimes inaccurately referred to as 30 fps.
white NTSC video
Some high definition cameras can record at 30 fps, as
opposed to 29.97 fps. Before color was added to NTSC video
signals, the frame rate was truly 30 fps. However, this format
is almost never used today.
This refers to the interlaced field rate (double the frame rate)
of PAL. Some 1080i high definition cameras can record at this
video with NTSC
High definition cameras can record at this frame rate, which is
compatible with NTSC video. It is also the interlaced field rate
of NTSC video. This number is sometimes referred to as 60 fps,
but it is best to use 59.94 fps unless you really mean 60.
High definition equipment can often play and record at this
frame rate, but 59.94 fps is much more common because of