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DEEP DIVE ARTICLE TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

What is the Best Frame Rate for YouTube?

In the interests of not leading you on, let’s just say straight at the top here; this is not going to be one of those posts that poses a question and gives you a straight forward answer, because when it comes to the best frame rate for YouTube, there is no direct answer.

However, my personal opinion as somebody who has been creating content on YouTube is – 24fps is a universally accepted baseline for YouTube frame rate quality for vlogging, educational videos and normal every day use. 30fps 60fps and higher is optimal for gamers and any higher is personal choice and only really needed for advanced video editing and slow motion content.

Like many things in the YouTubing world, the answer to this question varies substantially depending on what type of content you are making, and what your personal circumstances are. We’re going to do our best to lay it all out for you so that, while we can’t just say “this is the best frame rate for YouTube”, you should at least have all the information you need to determine the best frame rate for you.

What Are Frame Rates? Why does YouTube Frame Rate Matter?

When you boil it down to its most basic components, video is essentially just a sequence of regular still images shown in quick succession.

Before the days of digital media, these image were stored on film and literally rolled in front of a bright light at a set speed to get the effect of moving pictures projected onto a screen, but these days we can just store it all in a digital file.

Frame rate is, quite literally, the rate at which the images—or “frames”—rush past your vision. If the frame rate is too low, the video will start to look more like a slide show than a video. If the frame rate is too high, the video will look fine but over a certain threshold, the human eye ceases being able to tell the difference, and those extra frames don’t come for free, as we’ll get into later in the post.

Shooting Frame Rate Vs Showing Frame Rate

The frame rate you shoot video at is not necessarily the frame rate you will show the video at. Two well known examples of this are silent movies and slow motion.

Silent movies were shot at the very limit of where film stops looking like motion and starts looking like choppy slideshow footage—typically between 16 and 18 frames per second. However, to give the final result a more fluid feel, they were shown at between 20 and 24 frames per second, which is also why movies from this era have that comical sped-up look to them.

At the other end of the spectrum, slow motion footage will often be shot at much higher frame rates than the human eye can discern, such as 480, and even 960 frames per second. The footage is then shown at something more reasonable, like 30 or 60 frames per second, with the result being much slower video.

What is the Best Frame Rate for YouTube?

How to Choose the Best Frame Rate for Your YouTube Channel – What Frame Rate Should I Use?

So, now that you know what the main variables are and how they affect your footage, how do you go about settling on a frame rate for your content?

Again, we can’t give any definitive answers that will suit everyone, but we can give you some firm guidelines that should steer you to the right answer.

Remember, we’re talking about the frame rate that you show export your videos at, not necessarily the frame rate you shoot at.

What is the lowest frame rate for YouTube? [The Hard Floor]

Unless you are recreating the old silent movie effect we were talking about, you should never use a frame rate lower than 24 frames per second.

Below this speed your video will start to look choppy, giving the impression of low quality footage, or possibly Internet connectivity issues.

Even YouTube suggests that a lower frame rate(below 24 FPS), you will experience choppy quality, and the video will seem like it’s lagging in real-time. As a matter of historical fact, 24FPS for movies was initially agreed upon back in 1926 by projectionists, as motion pictures hit the talkies.

What is the highest frame rate on YouTube? [The Pointless Ceiling]

Showing video over 120 frames per second goes beyond what the human eye can distinguish, and so is wasted. And we’re being generous with 120, the truth is it’s closer to 75 frames where our eyes tap out.

The quality of the video will look fine, of course, but you will be putting a lot of unnecessary file size (not to mention processing time when editing) into your videos for little-to-no gain on the end result.

What is max frame rate for YouTube? – In 2014 YouTube added 60fps but that has been its top end frame rate every since. After years of capping video playback at 30 frames per second. Back in June 2014, YouTube announced that 60 FPS video playback was on the way in “the coming months.

Does YouTube support 120 fps videos? – No. YouTube currently supports up to 60fps HD video playback on Chrome and Safari. However, If you upload a 120fps video to YouTube, it will be converted to 60fps automatically for compatibility and compression.

What is the difference between 60fps and 120fps? – A 60Hz monitor refreshes the screen 60 times a second, so at 60 fps there is a frame drawn every time the screen refreshes, and at 120 fps there is a frame drawn every time the screen refreshes and once in between refreshes, so it’s not shown on the screen but does get drawn.

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How much does frame rate cost? [Economics]

Good video recording equipment is not cheap, and it gets more expensive when you need it to do more, such as record at higher frame rates.

If money is no object for you then you can disregard this point entirely, but if, like the vast majority of us, you have to work within budgetary constraints, you might want to prioritise your spending. If the best camera you have can only shoot in 720p, you should look to upgrade it when you can, but 720p video is not the end of the world.

On the other hand, if you are shooting your video in 4K, but you have had to drop the frame rate and other settings because your hardware isn’t up to the task of editing and exporting, you need to ask yourself if 4K is really that important to your channel.

Style

Finally, when all other factors have been considered, we come to the stylistic reasons for choosing a frame rate. As a general rule, 30 frames per second is fine for the majority of content on YouTube. If you are filming something cinematic—perhaps a short film—you will want to drop the frame rate to 24, as that is the standard rate for movies, and our brains recognise it as such.

On the other hand, if you are just vlogging or shooting regular footage, 30 frames per second avoids the weird disconnect we get from seeing footage that is shot in a cinematic frame rate but isn’t actually cinematic. If you are shooting action footage—a point of view recording of you surfing, for example—you will want to bump that frame rate up to at least 60, if not 90 or 120 frames per second. The lower number of frames is most evident when things are moving fast, and that tends to be the case for action footage.

Shooting Frame Rate

For most of the content on YouTube, your shooting frame rate will be the same as your final frame rate. It makes life a little easier when editing and exporting, and most YouTubers don’t need to do anything fancy with their video settings.

If you are doing something like slow motion, however, you will probably have a bit of frame rate adjustment to take care of, but if you’re making slow motion videos, you probably don’t need us to tell you that.

The middle ground lies when you are shooting footage that contains both. An example of this might be a “follow-cam” shot of a skateboarder, where you would have normal speed footage as they skate along, but switch to slow motion when they do a trick. In this case it would make more sense to shoot the whole thing in the higher frame rate and deal sort it all out in editing.

Adjusting Frame Rates in Editing

Frame rates can be adjusted after the fact, but it’s important to remember that, at the moment, you should avoid reducing the frame rate to something lower than what it was shot in. At least with the regular software tools we have today.

Because there will still be the same amount of frames available, slowing down the footage will result in that slide show effect we talked about. There are clever AI-based tools being developed that can interpolate between two frames and insert more frames to make the transition smoother, but at the time of writing, these tools are far from perfect and not widely available.

Increasing the frame rate—which will have the effect of speeding up the footage—should be fine, since the process is just cutting out frames and squashing the remaining ones together. It is always easier to remove information than it is to add it.

Do YouTubers Charge for Collabs? 1

Recording Equipment

These days, if you are buying a dedicated recording device that is not a webcam, you won’t need to think about frame rate unless you are doing something like slow motion. Generally speaking, all cameras will offer at least 24 and 30 frames per second recording, with most cameras also offering 60 frames per second. If you are happy with the quality of the video itself, the frame rate will be fine.

If you are shooting something like slow motion, you will need a special camera for that, but you probably already knew that. It’s also worth noting that, with the ever-impressive quality of phone cameras, many YouTubers are forgoing expensive cameras and just using their iPhone or Android, and who can blame them? The quality is great on those little devices these days.

Final Thoughts

Frame rates are typically the kind of thing that you don’t think about unless what you’re doing is intrinsically linked to it—such as is the case with slow motion video. For the most part, YouTubers are more concerned with things like the resolution, especially with more and more 4K displays hitting the market every day. And the truth is there is no need to think about it for many YouTubers. For most of us, we can buy a camera, set it to a recording pre-set, and the frame rate it spits out will be perfectly fine for the content we are making.

Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube

Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.

1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search

I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.

Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!

2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos

I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.

When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.

Big mistake!

I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.

That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.

Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.

3. Rev.com helps people read my videos

You can’t always listen to a video.

Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.

This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.

Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.

A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.

4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube

I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.

I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.

That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.

Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).

5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways

I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.

And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.

I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.

I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.

They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.

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TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

What is the Best Frame Rate for Vlogging?

For many YouTubers, “frame rate” is something that gamers—and occasionally cinephiles—talk about a lot, but not necessarily something that your average YouTuber needs to concern themselves with. Of course, you soon notice when the frame rate is too low, but for most of us, we simply choose a preset in our video editing software, judge whether it looks good, and then move on.

The dirty little secret is that this works, and there is no pressing need to know what frame rates look like off of the top of your head. If the video looks good in the end, what does it matter? But, like all crafts, it certainly doesn’t hurt to know more about what you do, and that is why we put this post together.

So, if you want the short answer to what is the best frame rate for vlogging, the answer is “whatever looks best”, though you probably want to start around the 30 frames per second mark and experiment from there. But, if you’d like to learn more about this subject, keep reading.

What is Frame Rate?

Quite literally, the frame rate is the rate at which frames flick past your eyes when a video is playing. Each frame is essentially a still image, and like an animated flip book, they give the impression of movement when they are shown in quick succession.

Sticking with the flip book analogy, the frame rate is essentially the speed with which you flip the pages.

Thinking of a video as a long series of images helps to understand a lot about the impact different frame rates can have on your videos.

The Impact of Frame Rate on File Size

When you consider that a video is just a sequence of regular images, it makes sense that a higher frame rate will mean a higher file size.

A single second of footage at 60 frames per second will be twice as large as a single second of footage at 30 frames per second because there are twice as many images to show in that one second.

The Extremes of Frame Rate

Every frame rate has its purpose, but there are extremes where vloggers never need to venture in the course of regular vlogging. Firstly, anything below 24 frames per second will typically looks choppy, like a video that is struggling to load.

Similarly, anything over 120 frames per second is too fast for the typical human eye to notice, so those extra frames per second will be wasted.

And, in truth, the figure at which the human eye stops being able to distinguish frames is closer to 75, but it’s always good to have a bit of a buffer.

What is the Best Frame Rate for Vlogging? 2

Frame Rates for Other Uses

While the human may only be able to see frame rates under 120 frames per second, there are still uses for higher frame rates. For example, slow motion video needs to be filmed at a higher frame rate.

If we go back to thinking of video as a series of pictures being shown rapidly, slow motion is essentially just increasing the interval between each image, and the more you can increase that interval, the slower the motion.

If you had some 60 frames per second footage and wanted to run it back at half speed, that wouldn’t be a problem because you would essentially be converting it to 30 frames per second video, which will still play relatively smoothly.

However, if you had 60 frames per second footage that you wanted to play back at 1/10th speed, your footage is going to look like a slideshow.

Different Frame Rates and What They’re Used For

In this section we’re going to take a look at the most common frame rates and what you might use them for. We’ll elaborate below, but first, here’s the list;

  • Under 16 FPS — Choppy, stuttery video. There’s not much use for this
  • 16-18 FPS — Recreating that silent movie, black and white cinema look
  • 24 FPS — The typical frame rate for cinematic sequences
  • 30 FPS — A common frame rate for TV, live sports, and YouTube vlogs
  • 60 FPS — Think of it as a premium version of 30 FPS
  • 120 FPS — Action footage; think head cams on downhill bikers or base jumpers
  • 240 FPS — Regular slow motion, popping balloons and water splashes, that kind of thing
  • 480 FPS — Slower motion, good for replays of extreme sports
  • Above 960 FPS — The slowest motion, rarely seen outside of cinema and the Super SlowMo Guys videos

Of course, the listed frame rates there are not necessarily the frame rates you would be showing your video at. The footage of a skateboarded doing an amazing trick might be recorded at 480 frames per second, but it would be played back at more like 30 or 60 frames per second, making it 8x to 16x slower than the original footage.

Incidentally, though it’s not particularly relevant here, it’s interesting to note that while those old silent movies were filmed at around 16 frames per second, they were actually shown at closer to 24 frames per second. This why they all have that comical sped up effect to them.

What is the Best Frame Rate for Vlogging? 1

What is the Best Frame Rate for Vlogging?

We took a bit of a scenic road to get this but, now that we know more about frame rates, let’s take another look at that title question. What is the best frame rate for vlogging?

Assuming you are just doing run-of-the-mill vlogging—no action sequences or slow motion explosions—you will want to shoot your footage at between 30 and 60 frames per second.

Dropping to 24 frames per second will look fine, but our media-obsessed minds are conditioned to associate that frame rate as cinematic, and it comes across a little disjointed at times. On the other hand, going up to 120 frames per second will also look fine, but is entirely wasted, since the human eye won’t notice.

Within that range, the higher, the better because a higher frame rate means more detail and a higher quality video, but video quality might not be your only consideration.

Quality video recording equipment is not cheap. This is the driving force behind an increasing number of YouTubers using their high-end phones as their camera, since phone manufacturers are increasingly squeezing amazing performance out of their tiny cameras. And, the more you ask of your camera, the more expensive it will be if it’s going to deliver. In other words, a camera that can pull off 60 frames per second will be more expensive than a practically identical one that can only do 30 frames per second. In some cases, a camera might be able to do both, but the quality drops with the increased frame rate, so a 30 frames per second video can be shot in 4K, but a 60 frames per second video can only go up to 1440p, or even 1080p.

Regardless of the details, if you are buying recording equipment, and you are on a budget, you may find that budget limits the frame rates that are available to you.

How Important is Frame Rate for Vlogging?

This is a tricky question to answer. In a sense it is very important, but at the same time, not as important as some other aspects. For example, if your frame rate is below 24 frames per second, you will want to get that higher if you can, because that video will be noticeably lower quality than videos that fall between 30 and 60 frames per second.

Now, if your video falls in that golden range, your frame rate is probably the last thing you should be thinking about for vlogging. You will get far more substantial improvements to the quality of your video by doing things like improving the lighting and audio of your videos.

Of course, it will often be the case that improving one thing automatically improves another. For example, if you wanted to make the step-up to 4K, you might get yourself a camera that also has a higher frame rate. But you shouldn’t focus on that frame rate when there are other areas to improve.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, vlogging is not the most frame rate sensitive genre on YouTube. As long as you get your frame rate above that threshold where it stops looking like a slideshow (or a silent movie) it will look fine.

There is no reason to stay below the typical 60 frames per second from a video quality standpoint, but just know that you’re not getting any benefit in terms of the visual experience.

Once you are in that frame rate zone, however, there are more important things to focus on. Getting your audio up to scratch should always be one of the first things a YouTuber focuses on—especially a vlogging YouTuber. And, after that, lighting is a pretty big one. Set dressing is also a big factor for vloggers. Make your videos look and sound great, then worry if there are enough frames!