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What is FPS in video? How it affects viewing experience?

FPS stands for Frames Per Second. Frames can be related to still pictures of any sort. Regardless of numbers, dimension of all frames has to be identical throughout the session. On general usage, confused by complexity we often tend to ignore their importance. The most important data related to a video we are concerned of is the resolution. Few extra scholastics with limited internet connection might first consider the video format. While those coming from DSLR expeditions feel comfortable to stick with an overall balance.

Usage of NTSC and PAL

Standards around the Globe


PAL (Phase Alternating Line) & NTSC (National Television System Committee) are the two leading standards in video fps. Don’t go by their misleading names and prefer to use their abbreviation instead. While majority of the countries use PAL (including India), some of them like NTSC (e.g. USA). PAL has 25 fps staying behind smoother NTSC with 30fps. That seems better right! Actually no. Both of their usage has reasons to calibrate. All PAL supporting countries have 50 Hz electricity supply. Thus, shutter speed of 1/50th is not friendly to 30 fps videos and you will often find flickers. In NTSC standardised nation like US has 60 Hz electricity supply to support 30 fps video at shutter speed of 1/60th. Another reason that eliminates any little controversy among them is the difference in frames. A normal human will find 25 fps more realistic and cinematic over 30 fps. Cause of this majority of the film makers worldwide prefer to stick to 25 fps. Apart from fps, a small bit of ignorable difference in resolution exists.

Data NTSC and PAL

SECAM (French: Squentiel couleurmmoire) was developed in France in 1967. It uses the same bandwidth and resolution as PAL but transmits the colour information sequentially instead.

What’s the impact of FPS?

After the introduction of black & white projected cinemas, people got used to early methods of 24 fps video. The camera reel used to move 24 images in a second to provide a smooth movement experience. Later the century, colour cameras came into existence. They were quite advanced shooting at 25 fps, capture vibrant colours.

60 fps vs 24 fps

24 fps is the minimum possible video form. Lesser than that will present itself as nothing but slideshow. However, film makers noticed that PAL though cinematic, isn’t as smooth as eye captures in reality. This gave birth to a stunning hunt of higher frames. Manufacturers started manufacturing 60 fps cameras. Some even reached as high as 960 fps in almost the same period. When a video of 25 fps and 60 fps were compared side by side, all of the viewers were just stunted with the smoothness the later offers (Try one at YouTube you will understand). They refused to settle back to 25 fps. Not only did the cinema industry got advanced, the infant gaming world got its weapon of entertainment. Advanced video manipulating software (from Sony, Adobe) came into market, welcomed very passionately by editors.

Birth of Slow Motion

Video Cameras capable of shooting at 960 fps couldn’t find much owners before the introduction of video editing softwares into market. Experimentally, when a 960 fps footage was dropped to 30/25 fps played *32 times slower video. A rush of researchers got involved in no time to search for incredible discoverable things at slow motion.

Apparently, film makers also got involved into the game. High intensive acts were slowed down to enhance viewers’ experience. Soon it became a new tool to attract their attention.

Did You Know?

Scientist have made a camera that can record a trillion frames per second. Through that you can even see the light moving slowly in a straight path. 🙂

When video processing was gaining momentum, a unique issue related to processing arose. Processors with inbuilt graphics weren’t able to handle such high intensive manipulations smoothly. During application, editors couldn’t get expected quick views. Every time they had to render the whole footage and check repeatedly. While this being a major headache, gamers’ thrust of higher frames increased rapidly. Eventually, Nvidia released a dedicated unit for graphics rendering only. This reduced the load from CPU making your PC faster. GPUs were rare but to increasing demand it is abundant now.

Why is 25fps still a film standard now?

Demand for smoother film experience is high. Higher fps can quench the thrust. However, that will lead another compromise related to colour reproduction on the camera sensor. New tech cameras and better light friendly lenses are made now. This will bridge the gap to new generation cinematic experience.

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Interested in blogging specifically in the emerging field of technology and science. I am passionate about my dreams to web development and programming.

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