To top
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Frames per second (fps), also referred to as frame rate, is the rate at which images are displayed in a video. It’s important you understand this concept as a videographer, so here’s some info on it and how it pertains to filming with your drone.

Understanding Frame Rate

As we briefly mentioned, the frame rate is the frequency that consecutive images are displayed in a video. A video is just many still images moving rapidly, which tricks our brain into thinking they are moving.

The frame rate is described by frames per second (fps). For example, 30 fps means that there are 30 still images being displayed every second in the video. There are several different frame rates, all with their own pros and cons.

You will give up some video quality many times if you greatly increase the frame rate on a drone. For example, the DJI Mavic Pro, a drone we offer here at Lumoid, will film in 4k at 24 fps, but only 720 p at 120 fps. Likewise, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro can shoot in 4k at 60 fps, but it drops to 1080 p if you try 120 fps. Also, increasing your frame rate will increase your file size, so keep that in mind if that will be an issue.

On any camera or drone, you will be able to adjust this frame rate before you film. Each product is a little different in how you do this, so look at the manual and make sure you understand how to do so on your own device.

Now that you should have a better idea of the concept of frames per second, let’s look at the specific rates and see what each are best for.

Photo by Alex Holyoake

Different Types of Shots and Fps for Each

24 or 25 fps

This is the standard rate for movies and TV shows. It has been used since the early days of film and it is the most comfortable to view. The difference between 24 and 25 is so minimal, so they are used for the same applications. It is used in drones if you want your footage to have a ‘cinematic’ feel to it, but there is another frame rate that is more commonly used with drones.

30 fps

This is actually the norm for a lot of drones and when compared to 24 or 25 fps, 30 just seems to flow a little smoother. Online video platforms like Vimeo and YouTube both use this as a standard so it is also a great one to start with. 30 fps is the standard for aerial photography and that’s the rate you should use if you want to just film normal footage for the best quality.

60 fps

This is typically the fastest frame rate used for drones, and it is best for capturing action shots or really anything that is moving fast. If you plan on doing quick maneuvers with your drone or filming action sports, 60 fps would be ideal. It will give you a smoother video and it is also great if you plan on slowing down the footage.

There are other frame rates out there, but these are the most commonly used in drone and aerial photography. Now, let’s discuss how you can start using them in your own videography.

Photo by Nick Scheerbart

Using Frame Rates in Filming

A technique that many pro aerial photographers use is filming in a faster frame rate than you plan to upload it at. For example, if you film at 60 fps and then slow it down and convert it to 24 fps, the footage will have an almost dream like feel to it.

Also, filming in 60 fps is ideal if you plan on slowing down the video. This is common practice in a lot of aerial photography, with photographers slowing down certain moments in a video to allow the viewers to capture in all of the details of the footage.

However, there is a fine line. As we talked about early, increasing your frame rate will decrease the quality in most drones. Therefore, you don’t want to increase it so much that the quality will decrease. Every drone and camera are different, so be familiar with what quality it can shoot at, and at what frame rate.

Above are just some basic guidelines for using the different frames per second. While you should use them generally, you should also have some fun in experimenting with the different frame rates. Try out 48 or 120 fps, less common ones, but still used sometimes, to see how they look.

Frame rates are something that you can read about, but you really won’t notice the differences until you start experimenting with them yourself. Don’t expect the drone footage to be everything…because it won’t be. BUT, it sure can enhance the film, and that’s really the goal.

Feature image by Aaron Burden.

Shop the Story

Leave a Reply

We are on Instagram