Photography - Knowledge

29.97 vs 30 - Which FPS would Make Your Videos Look Lively?

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Hey, shutterbugs! Do you have a love for technical details? Welcome to our post! If you are a keen photographer and love to have the complete technical knowledge of videos you record, you must be well aware that the frame rates improve the video quality. Most films are shot at 24 fps, but when the final project is delivered, the film is converted to the standard rates depending on the color encoding system used such as 25fps PAL/SECAM and 30fps.Nowadays, there is one more frame rate that’s widely popular in US - 29.97fps. The love for photography must have made you observe 29.97fps in the settings of your camera. But, do you ever wonder, why this decimal number 29.97fps? Is it the unrounded version of 30fps or there is possibly any comparison of frame rates 29.97 vs. 30? Do you have tons of questions about 29.97 vs 30? 

Let’s take a look!

What is Frame Rate?

Let's unveil the secret behind the videos, and let us tell you, you would be amazed by the science behind it!

We all know that motion picture is not real but an illusion to the human eye. It is just the effect of still images set to motion at a certain speed which is known as the frame rate and is expressed in frames per second (fps). So basically when you are doing a recording, you are taking a lot of pictures in a second.

Frame rate

For instance, if you set your camera for 24p or 24fps, the recording will blur the particular object as compared to when that object is still. So if you set your camera to an increased frame rate says 30p, it will give you the clarity of the object more while you record.

History Behind Frame Rates and Their Comparison

Now that you know about frame rate, let's find out why it is pivotal for your videos!

Frame rates act as the core of the film world. The frame rate of 46 fps allows the human brain to look at the moving picture without flicker. However, film making requires to run a lot of films and using 46fps could be very expensive. So the engineers came up with a solution to show the same frame more than once. But then, it could not work when sound came into films. Challenging right? But wait, the engineers did the brainstorm and came up with new ideas. 

This was when the frame rate was standardized to 24fps, a lowest and easily divisible number that could work with sound. But there was an improvement! Back then, the technology advanced and the engineers discovered a better solution of interlacing the frames.

 Interlacing the Frames

Wondering what is interlacing? Well, interlacing means to break down the field into two parts—upper and lower field—and then each frame will be projected on screen one after the other in a comb pattern using oscillation of AC electricity.

In the US, the oscillation is 60 cycles per second (60hz.) which in turn sends out the broadcast single at 60 fields per second. So, the NTSC (National Television System Committee) frame rate of 30 fps was achieved using half of this AC electricity. While other countries—which use PAL (Phase Altering Line) standard—use a frame rate of 25fps, using half of 50 cycles per second oscillation of AC electricity.    


However, when color television was introduced, the NTSC frame rate had to be decreased slightly due to manual correction technique while PAL and other video standards, which used automated color correction techniques, still use the same fixed frame rate such as PAL uses 25fps.

Knowledge Buzz: NTSC and PAL are the color encoding systems. NTSC, named as National Television System Committee is a standard broadcast format in the US. It is used in North America, some parts of South America, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. On the other hand, PAL is used in countries such as Australia, China, India and many other parts of the world.

29.97 vs 30- Which to Choose?

The real problem occurred when colors made way to television screens, and so did the significance of 29.97 FMS.

When color television came into the picture, NTSC frame rate could no longer be maintained to 30 fps. To keep the process smooth and to make it backward compatible (without making existing TVs unusable) with black and white TV, the process of breaking the image into luminance and chrominance began. 

Now a color signal was introduced as a subcarrier in the television signal, which did not affect the old black and white TV and new TV’s could interpret this color signal. But there was a glitch! The color subcarrier signal was potentially interfering with the sound signal due to the proximity in their bandwidth leading to intermodal-beating. But the good news was, that the engineers came up with a solution to reduce the frame rate by 0.1% so that the color and sound signal do not match.

In other words, they lowered the NTSC frame rate to 0.03 fps. It helped in integrating the color data without disturbing the audio signal. Hence, to be exact, it is 29.97 instead of 30 frames per second. Well, this pretty much sums up the comparison of frame rates 29.97 vs. 30 fps.

With technological advancements, cameras now support higher frame rates as well such as 60p, 120p, etc. There are cameras that can even record at a frame rate of 240p. However, it does not mean that using the higher frame rate is always better. Using a higher frame rate reduces the quality of motion to make it appear as real. It all depends on your purpose of recording and your techniques of photography.

29.97 vs 30

  • 30p is the standard frame rate for home movies and digital videos. It captures movements with normal pace quite well.
  • 48p is offered with GoPro cameras and is mainly suited to faster motions such as water rafting, kayaking, etc. It also allows you to slow your motion later to reach at the 30p frame rate if required.
  • 60p is well suited for fast sports. Modern digital cameras can record at 60p smoothly.

Hope we could help you to understand about the frame rates and the difference between frame rates 29.97 and 30 fps. Choose the best fps and make your videos look impeccable and eye catchy!

Are you still confused about 29.97 vs 30 fps? Or is there something that we missed, please let us know in the comments below.

Happy photography!

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