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Frame Rate

In the PAL and SECAM world (Europe), TV works at 25 frames per second. In the NTSC world (USA) TV works at 29.97 frames per second. Movies work at 24 frames per second in the PAL/SECAM world, and at 23.976 frames per second in the NTSC world.

In order to get a more fluid motion, you can also use 50 fps (in the PAL world) or 60 fps (in the NTSC world).

But often this higher number of frames per second (those 120Hz, 240Hz, 600Hz televisions) make everything look like a soap opera. The image "bigger than real life" of movies requires a small number of frames per second: 24. It strobes, it seems like it's jumpy, but that lack of fluid motion is what gives movies part of their magic. More information in this great interview.

So my advice is:
* use 24 frames per second if you can choose and want a "filmic" image
* use 25 frames per second if you're going to broadcast in a PAL country
* use 30 frames per second if you're going to broadcast in an NTSC country and don't want to add pulldown*
* use 50 frames per second if you shoot sports for a PAL country
* use 60 frames per second if you shoot sports for an NTSC country

*: pulldown is a method to convert 24 fps footage into 30 fps footage, by repeating parts of each frame in a specific order. This is what is done to broadcast movies, ads and music videos (generally shot at 24p) in NTSC countries (usually at 60i).

Note: apart from all that, there's progressive (all the frame at the same time) or interlaced (first the odd lines, then the even lines, for example 50i and 60i). Interlacing is horrible, a thing of the past that should already have died, and I don't want to hear about it. Thanks for not mentioning it.

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