Perfect Shutter Speed and Frame Rate Settings

by Joost | Last Updated: June 28, 2022
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The terms shutter speed and frame rate can be confusing. They both have to do with speed. In photography you have to take the shutter speed into account and frame rate plays no role.

Perfect Shutter Speed and Frame Rate Settings

With video, you have to match both settings. How to choose the best setting for your project:

Shutter Speed

Chooses the time of exposure for a single image. At 1/50, one image is exposed ten times longer than at 1/500. The lower the shutter speed, the more motion blur will occur.

Frame rate

This is the number of images displayed per second. The industry standard for film is 24 (23,976) frames per second.

For video, the speed is 25 in PAL (Phase Alternating Line) and 29.97 in NTSC (National Television Standards Committee). Nowadays, the cameras can also film 50 or 60 frames per second.

When do you adjust the Shutter Speed?

If you want a movement to run smoothly, you will choose a lower shutter speed, as viewers we are used to a bit of motion blur.

Playmobil petting zoo stop motion
Playmobil petting zoo stop motion

If you want to film sports, or record a fight scene with a lot of action, you can choose a higher shutter speed. The image no longer runs as smoothly and looks sharper.

When do you adjust the Framerate?

Although you are no longer tied to the speed of film projectors, our eyes are used to 24p. We associate speeds of 30 fps and higher with video.

That is also why many people were dissatisfied with the image of the “The Hobbit” movies, which were filmed at 48 fps. Higher frame rates are often used for slow motion effects.

Film in 120 fps, bring it down to 24 fps and one second becomes a five second clip.

The best setting

In general, you will film with the Framerate that suits your project. If you want to approach the movie character you use 24 fps, but people are getting more and more used to higher speeds.

You only use higher frame rates if you want to slow down something later or if you need the image information for post production.

With a movement that we experience as “smooth”, you set the Shutter Speed ​​to double the Framerate. So at 24 fps a shutter speed of 1/50 (rounded off from 1/48), at 60 fps a shutter speed of 1/120.

That looks “natural” to most people. If you want to evoke a special feeling, you can play with the Shutter Speed.

Adjusting the shutter speed also has a big influence on the aperture. Both determine the amount of light that falls on the sensor. But we will come back to that in an article.

View an article about Aperture, ISO and depth of field here