Sat. Apr 13th, 2024



Key Takeaways

  • 60 FPS looks significantly smoother than 30 FPS, making it ideal for fast-paced content with lots of motion.
  • Shooting videos at 30 FPS takes up less storage space than 60 FPS, making it a better default option.
  • Use a video compression app to save space on your phone by reducing the file size of your videos, regardless of the FPS.


All industry trends point to higher frame rates and resolutions being superior. Modern flagship phones are capable of getting in on this trend by recording videos at 60 FPS or higher, which makes for a smoother image, but what are you sacrificing in return compared to 30 FPS?


60 FPS Looks Significantly Smoother

To better understand why 60 FPS is smoother than 30 FPS, let’s first understand what FPS actually means. FPS stands for “Frames Per Second.” In this context, a frame indicates an image, and the more images we see in a second, the smoother the image appears to us. In this case, 60 FPS displays twice as many frames per second as 30 FPS, which makes our eyes perceive smoother movements.


Note that your eyes do not understand FPS and can’t “only” see a specific number of FPS. Whether you can tell the difference between various FPS depends on several factors, and the difference gets smaller as we go up in numbers. Still, everyone should be able to notice an immediate difference between 30 and 60 FPS, as both are relatively low numbers that can’t come close to the real world. When you place a 30 FPS animation next to an identical 60 FPS one, you’ll realize that 30 FPS looks noticeably choppier.

60 FPS is great for fast-paced content with lots of action and movements, such as sports, fitness, travel, and instrument playing. Conversely, content that doesn’t have lots of action, such as operas, interviews, and art, can stick with 30 FPS without making any sacrifices. In some cases, it could even be favored over 60 FPS, as mainstream audiences still haven’t gotten used to higher frame rates.


Some would even call higher FPS jarring. For instance, 24 FPS is considered the “standard” for movies, partially because it doesn’t look as realistic, allowing you to suspend your disbelief and enjoy the content. When Peter Jackson filmed ‘The Hobbit’ in 48 FPS, the movie received complaints from both fans and critics that it looked “too realistic.” That’s because a higher FPS makes the characters on-screen appear alive, which makes it feel as if you were watching a reality show or fast-paced game rather than a cinematographic masterpiece.

30 FPS Takes up Significantly Less Space

While some phones have the option of adding a terabyte of storage, videos still take up a lot of space. If you shoot videos in 4K or 8K resolution, you’ll quickly figure out that the videos take up a large portion of your storage. For instance, Apple ProRes at 4K takes up over 5GB of storage per minute of video, and that’s at only 30 FPS.


60 FPS has twice as many frames, so we could say that the video holds twice as much information. While this reflects on your storage, the videos won’t necessarily take up twice as much space. Your phone has algorithms that automatically reduce file size while maintaining the same quality. Still, the difference in file size is massive, especially at higher resolutions. I shot a few 16-second clips on my fiancée’s S23+ at varying resolutions and FPS, and here are the results:

Length

Resolution

FPS

Size

16s

1080p

30

29.85MB

16s

1080p

60

49.55MB

16s

4K

30

86.18MB

16s

4K

60

129.07MB

The jump from 30 to 60 FPS results in a file size difference of about 50–60%. The massive difference adds up quickly if you’re recording a longer video, such as a sports match or concert.


It’s worth noting that not all phones are equal here. I have an older Realme X2 Pro, and the phone zooms in when I switch from 30 to 60 FPS, resulting in an identical file size. This is likely to improve the image stabilization and also ensure that the video doesn’t stutter, as the processor can’t handle the additional data. The point is, shoot an identical video at 30 and 60 FPS on your phone and compare the file size difference to see if 60 FPS is worth it.

Compress Your Videos to Save Space, Regardless of the FPS

While your phone already uses compression algorithms to minimize file size, it won’t be enough if you record a lot of videos. A good video compressor can significantly reduce the file size with little to no quality sacrifices.

You can use video compression apps on videos of any length, resolution, and FPS. Simply download and install a video compressor app from the Play Store or App Store, add your video, choose the quality, and export it. We have guides on how to compress videos on Android, and the same general idea applies to the iPhone. While you don’t have to compress every video in your library, it’s worth the effort to compress your longest videos, as it’ll reduce their file size by 30–90%, depending on your settings.


30 FPS Is the “Default” for a Good Reason

Unless you’re a gamer, most of the content you consume every day is in 24–30 FPS. We’ve become so used to watching 30 FPS content that 60 FPS feels a bit too lifelike and even uncanny. At the same time, given our reliance on cloud storage, the increased file size isn’t something tech companies are willing to deal with.

In the context of shooting home videos, the question you have to ask is whether 60 FPS makes a massive difference that makes it worth the increased space requirement. I find that 60 FPS doesn’t make much of a difference for the types of videos I shoot, and I extend that logic to 4K content, too. Smartphone manufacturers are aware of our preferences, so most new phones default to recording videos at 1080p 30 FPS out of the box.

Match the Video Settings With the Subject Matter

If the scene you’re shooting has a lot of motion, you’re more than welcome to switch to 60 FPS or even 120 FPS to record a silky-smooth video. While the article might make it sound as if I favor 30 FPS, I actually prefer to shoot at 60 FPS.


Videos at higher FPS have smooth, realistic motions that appear almost as if I’m watching a moment unfold in real time. I compress all videos before storing them in the cloud. I recommend you do the same so that you never experience the potential drawbacks of 60 FPS.



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By John P.

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