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Film Frame Rate Confusion

I sometimes make comps at 24 frames per second instead of 23.976 inside of my tutorials but some people have asked, “What is the correct frame rate for film?” Well, there are a lot of various situations to consider but here are a few good rules.

  • The frame rate for digital film work is 23.976 so you should use this if you are making a cinematic commerical or movie about robots.
  • Some video editing applications abbreviate 23.976 as 23.98 but AE requires the more specific frame rate.
  • Film or not, you should work at the frame rate of your source material.
  • Non-standard frame rates such as 12 and 15 are great for creating animations for the web or even flash.
  • If you have multiple fps sources try to conform things to your output format.

The reason I sometimes use 24 fps instead of 23.976 is probably because I’m lazy and web video can be non-standard without many problems. Of course, it is probably good practice to use standard frame rates so that you can easily author to DVD or Blu-ray. Hope this helps but be sure to investigate your specific workflow, so that you don’t run into problems in the middle of a project. Remember PAL & NTSC standards may vary.

More info on Frame Rates here

March 31st, 2009 @ 6:12 pm
Hey, thanks, Andrew, I was actually wondering about this at the beach today, haha
March 31st, 2009 @ 6:12 pm
So the real question is what do you use as a standard when you have multiple sources and multiple different frame rates? I run into this all the time. :-)
March 31st, 2009 @ 6:14 pm
thankss so much andreww! :)

looking forward Action Movie Essentials HD
March 31st, 2009 @ 6:15 pm
Thanks Mr.Krmaer
March 31st, 2009 @ 6:16 pm
Ed, I updated the post. Thanks for the question.
David W.
March 31st, 2009 @ 6:33 pm
I'm posting after Andrew Kramer! Cool. Thanks for thew quick tip and we can't wait for some tutorials. :)
March 31st, 2009 @ 6:38 pm
Thanks for the info. It's great how Video Copilot gives helpful tips for the average AE user.
March 31st, 2009 @ 6:47 pm
Thanks Andrew. I really like these little tips and stuff. I know you can't post a video every week, but these tips go a long way to tide me over til the next great tutorial.
Scotty W.
March 31st, 2009 @ 7:00 pm
Oh mad, I'd never actually heard about 25p and 50p/60p before looking at some of the tutorials here, i'm glad HDTV seems to be standardising the framerates, it gets confusing sometimes with the PAL/NTSC thing. (From New Zealand).

Keep up the fantastic tutorials man, i'm in Film School at the moment and this site has helped me out so much.
March 31st, 2009 @ 7:07 pm
I don't want this to be posted.

I was just wondering if any of you here at VC can tell me where to ask a question about how the site works?
March 31st, 2009 @ 7:32 pm
I have to admit, for a very long time thei stuff confused me too. Most of the work I did involved creating graphics from scratch, so we didn;t have issues like this often.

I have a tutorial on conforming frame rates that I put up recently. It talks about the difference between how AE handles the numbers vs. Final Cut. Specifically, it talks about going between 25 and 24 FPS, but it may give a better understanding of the issues...

You can find that here:
March 31st, 2009 @ 8:05 pm
Always with the answering of the questions before I can ask them. Thanks.
March 31st, 2009 @ 8:12 pm
My question is what is so special about 24 fps? I understand the technical aspect of it, but aesthetically what does it really do to the image? "FIlm like" look is getting a little old. Any takers?
March 31st, 2009 @ 8:25 pm
There isn't anything "special" about 24p, it just happens to be the frame rate of the medium. It doesn't change the image but it does make rotoscoping and rendering faster when compared to 30 fps. If you are doing graphics or compositing for film, this is the frame rate.
March 31st, 2009 @ 9:03 pm
Hey andrew!

What about PAL/NTSC when shooting in 60i? wouldn't that be 50i with PAL?

And BTW, can you actually notice the differance between a 24p movie and a 25p?
March 31st, 2009 @ 9:11 pm
30 fps is the correct for motion graphics right?
March 31st, 2009 @ 10:05 pm
Now I KNOW... Thnx for the TIP
March 31st, 2009 @ 10:57 pm
SAY IT.....DATE to the lauch PRODUCT ACTION ESSENTIAL 2 HD!!?? I CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
March 31st, 2009 @ 11:03 pm
What I can't completely grasp is the concept of "SHOOTING" 50i\60i, which means shooting fields supposed to frames.

This doesn't make sense to me since 50i and PAL\25 fps mean THE SAME thing. 1 PAL frame is made up of 25 fields of odd lines and 25 fields of even lines (upper\lower), which is, according to math, 50i - 50 interlaced fields in a second!

So what does it mean to "SHOOT" 50i? Cameras that shoot 25 fps are technically also shooting 50 interlaced fields per second!

Just wondering. I like learning one new thing a day and I thought this could be my thing.
March 31st, 2009 @ 11:09 pm
The way I see it, if you deliver for web and you're doing an animation or something, you can go up to 30fps if you like it doesn't matter.

I'm going to make a little side step here: If you create animations in flash, 12fps just don't give you the smoothiest movement. It's almost the lowest fps there is to create a 'smooth' animation, because of our eyes, and brain and stuff... but when you crank it up a little to 18fps you've got more smoothness. Why 18? Well I found some (really!) computers just don't seem to handle large flashanimations @25fps that well. Especially when using timers and actionscript. This has very little to do with the origin of this board, but hey, i know this! I share this haha
April 1st, 2009 @ 1:08 am
Is 23.976 fps meant for US and Europe (ntsc vs pal problems)?
April 1st, 2009 @ 3:25 am
As I understand it, what's "special" about 24fps is that when the motion picture camera was being developed, they tried to figure out the minimum number of frames needed to still communicate natural motion. That way the effect of moving pictures could still be sold to an audience, and they could also save money on film.
April 1st, 2009 @ 3:46 am
Good tip man thanks.
alex coffy
April 1st, 2009 @ 3:46 am
and what if I am using different source files and different comp setting that I want to get into a final cut for a last editing? Cause the audio synchro is always a pain where u don't want it. My friend use 27 and sometimes 30 for the editing. I use 23.976 on AE. How can this be more compatible?
April 1st, 2009 @ 5:32 am
Thanks Andrew for the input! One question though! When you work on a film project do you add grain or any other touches to get that film look!? Also what are some of your favorite books on the film industry or how-to's?
April 1st, 2009 @ 5:34 am
Holy creative cow! Aharon Rabinowitz! You and Andrew are awesome, I love your methods of teaching. Thanks for the link, it's very helpful info.
April 1st, 2009 @ 5:40 am
I knew it was that song before I clicked on it!!
April 1st, 2009 @ 5:59 am
Hey Andrew, When will you start explaining how to make that bacon flavored text with 3Ds max? Because I want to create one and use it as my website banner ;)

April 1st, 2009 @ 6:24 am
What happened to the picture where we are booing you...?
April 1st, 2009 @ 6:31 am
yes but.... why not 24 frames ! ?? ...... :D
cheers from france andrew ;)
April 1st, 2009 @ 10:02 am
I had a problem with this with a video I put on YouTube! I rendered my work, and I noticed that the props and the effects did not match up! Turns out that the effects comp had a different frame rate than the footage comp! Talk about a technical issue; hard to figure out, too!
Prodat TV
April 1st, 2009 @ 10:06 am
Hi Andrew, can you tell us the configuration of hardware in your computer? or we can recommend one? I'm close to putting a new one with a prosesador i7 and I would like to know which graphics card and RAM will be better AE, as well as hard drives and motherboard.

Thank You
April 1st, 2009 @ 10:26 am
So the frame rate is if you for example want to make slow motion effects, then the higher frame rate the main footage got, the slower can it be? and another question. How big is the difference between frame rate 23.976 and 24? (meant in how you can see it in the footage)
Prodat TV
April 1st, 2009 @ 10:28 am
Hey Andrew Why your site is
R u n n i n g
s o o o o

S s l o o o o w w w w ? ? ? ! ! !
April 1st, 2009 @ 10:39 am
Andrew, thank you very much for the post.
I have a question: can I convert a 25fps film to a 24fps film without making strange things with the audio? thank you!

Cheers from Argentina.
Buenos Aires Dreamin'!
April 1st, 2009 @ 12:02 pm
Hey Andrew, this is off topic, but I've been following this film maker in Denver, Jamin Winans, and his style reminds me of you for some reason. I thought you would want to see this trailer for his new movie because it has some cool effects in it.

Thanks for all you do. I've learned everything from this site.
Nikan Ansari
April 1st, 2009 @ 12:41 pm
Hi Guys

Yeah thanks for that kinda confused me.
Dimitar Macedonia
April 1st, 2009 @ 12:59 pm
There is a website where you can find all the technical info as acurate as it can be.

This is my contribution:

Respect for all hardworking people who want to know.
Cameron S.
April 1st, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

I know you hear this all the time, but this website has been the next best thing for me and I'm sure many others who want to venture into the world of motion graphics but have little to no experience. So thanks for all of your invaluable information!
April 1st, 2009 @ 1:46 pm
PAL system is much easier - 25 fps instead 3.976 or 23.98 etc. Higher resolution. You can make film at 25fps play it on tv at 25fps, make a dvd on 25fps no problem at all.
April 2nd, 2009 @ 12:34 am
Thanks for help
but what's the difference between 24 & 23.976......?
April 2nd, 2009 @ 12:23 pm
24fps is the film rate, for digital media 23.976fps is used if you want to use it in NTSC and 25fps for PAL.

23.976fps makes the conversion to 60i rate much easier (because NTSC in not really 60fps, but a hair thin slower 59.94 fps). for PAL 25fps is rather accurate.

all comes down to delivery format. If you know your work will go to cinema (as film), use 24fps, if delivered to user trough DVD -> 23.976 for NTSC or 25fps for PAL. If BlueRay just go for 24fps.

I sometimes make 24fps project, but upconvert it to 25p (repeats one frame in one second) for nicer filmish look, tough color and manner off actual shoot makes more difference.

I prefer PAL for superior resolution, frame rate, color stability and color gamut. NTSC is more superior if you have to slow down the footage. gives more ratio before sluggish look.
April 2nd, 2009 @ 12:58 pm
your frame converter still working for cs3 right??
i never get to go inside the projector in theaters before...what kind of medium they are using for it a real film or tape??

also,while my 1st question is a serious one..what if someone making a movie about orcs?does it need to change the framerate?
April 2nd, 2009 @ 10:22 pm
haha you should check out that youtube video now Andrew.....
There is a bunch of "Copy/Paste if Andrew Kramer Got You Here" comments
April 6th, 2009 @ 12:05 am
Hey everyone,

I need help, i have done small text scroll animation in AE, when i take a output (.mov) its smooth but if its .avi its little bit jerky (client wants .avi only) can someone help please. Andrew can you help me plz.
Roosevelt Henry
April 10th, 2009 @ 7:48 pm
Hi Andrew

my audio is off sync with my video every time i converted 30fps to 24fps can you please give me a reason why. thank andrew
September 27th, 2009 @ 2:02 pm
Wow, I told my film teacher this at school, and she told me I was wrong. She said standard is 30 FPS and she would know because she went to NYU. God I hate her, for more reasons than this too :P.
August 25th, 2010 @ 5:39 pm
Sorry to resurrect a post published a year ago. But I just want to be clear on this topic. My final output will be to DVD, so do I use 23.976 or 24 fps?

Thank you
December 2nd, 2010 @ 8:14 pm
Hi Andrew,

I have a frame rate issue, but its with 3D Studio Max. I shot my scene in 23.98/720P, tracked it in boujou 5 at the same frame rate and exported a script file for Max. In the viewport for Max, it plays correctly and in the animation preview setup, it plays correctly. When I rendered out, it rendered at 30fps. So it didn't match up in my AE composition. I even converted the sequence into 23.98fps and still no luck but was closer to match the scene. Obviously, the right frames didn't drop to match the sequence.

How do I render out my sequence to match that of the camera track in the correct frame rate???
August 8th, 2013 @ 9:56 am
Hi there!

I don't know if someone is still looking at this blog, as it's 4 years old. Anyway, there goes my question, related to this formats' malarkey:

If I shoot at 30p (30 frames per second progressive or not interlaced) and I want my shots to look cinematic (like a movie film) is it true that changing the frame rate to 23.976 (or 24) is just the solution??
I've tried and tried to do this with different methods (Twixtor, DVFilm Maker, Light Form, FieldsKit, even Andrew Kramer Frame Rate Converter!...) and none of them seem to work out!! They'll just keep looking video-like...

Or maybe is it really impossible to achieve in video that film look so many of us crave for?? And I'm not talking about colorizing, thanks. With Magic Bullet etc, you just change the colors, not the nasty video-like movement.

Anyway, I've seen that kind of image in several works here and there in the web and they assure they're shot on video. So where did I get lost??

Can someone help with this one?...

(...I can invite to a beer to the guy that gives me a correct answer!)
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