24fps VS 30fps: The Final Showdown

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Chew, Johnny. "24fps VS 30fps: The Final Showdown." ThoughtCo, Jul. 31, 2015, thoughtco.com/24fps-vs-30fps-the-final-showdown-140357. Chew, Johnny. (2015, July 31). 24fps VS 30fps: The Final Showdown. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/24fps-vs-30fps-the-final-showdown-140357 Chew, Johnny. "24fps VS 30fps: The Final Showdown." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/24fps-vs-30fps-the-final-showdown-140357 (accessed September 23, 2017).

Ah the age old question of frame rate! Frame rate used to be a non-question for a long time, it was set at 24 frames per second. Now that digital media has taken over though and we can set the frame rate to any crazy number we want to, what is the best frame rate to use? 24 frames per second or 30 frames per second?

First a tiny history lesson! 24 frames per second comes from when we were working with film and film projectors, it wasn't until digital media started to replace it that 30 frames per second became a standard.

So now that we live in the digital world, why is 24 frames per second still popping up and confusing animators?

Animation purists will argue that 30 frames per second is "too smooth" for animation and removes a lot of the charm and esthetic of the work. Not to mention that 24 is a lot more easily divided than 30. We can go from 24 to 12 to 6 to 3 a lot easier than we can 30 to 15 to 7.5 to 3.75. How do you draw 3 quarters of a frame anyway? So 24 frames has persisted even into the digital world from people sticking to their guns on what animation "should look like."

30 frames per second however has taken over in the digital world and choosing to stay with 24 frames per second can not only cause you some headache, it can mess up a project completely.

Since 30 frames has become the norm, most video hosting sites like Youtube and Vimeo have their own codecs that they'll code your movies into when you upload them.

Those codecs are more designed for 30fps than they are for 24fps, even though they'll take 24. That might not make a huge difference, but it might double up frames here and there to stretch your film out to be the right frames per second and it can mess up any really exact timing you may have for cuts or lip sync.

It's never a great idea to change frame rates once you've started in one, everything will get shifted slightly and mess up a lot of your hard work.

The other draw back? Clients. I've never had a client ask for something in 24 frames per second. They are all working digitally, both in receiving your files and when they go to broadcast or distribute them. That means they'll want the files from you in the format that they won't have to do anything beyond turning around and putting it on their site or hitting the play button to broadcast it. That means 30 frames per second. Occasionally you can get away with 29.97 frames per second, but that in most regards is looked at in the same light as 30 frames per second.

It's not just that they will get grumpy, they won't accept it. I've worked on projects where someone will try to turn in a 24 frames per second clip for whatever reason and the client just refuse to take it until they make it 30 frames per second. A lot of clients also have their own upload service which will reject anything not in their correct codecs. It can be a big pain in the neck, not to mention cost you time, which costs you money, you know because time equals money blah blah blah.

So as far as I'm concerned, unless you're shooting your animation on film and plan on projecting it on film, you're better off doing 30 frames per second. Sure the purists will grump and complain but just because they're afraid of change shouldn't mean you having to be confused or make your work suffer.