Not only can they be set to give your shots the look audiences have been accustomed to for decades, but they can also be adjusted to give your images a look that will help elicit desired emotions. Emmy Award winning filmmaker Ray Tsang gives us a lesson on these two settings, explaining what they are, what they do, and how they can be used to serve your story.

The Basics

  • Frame rate: The number of frames captured per second
  • Shutter speed: Duration of time each frame is exposed to light
  • Basic rule: The standard setting for your shutter speed is double your frame rate: (e.g. 24p at 1/50)

Tsang does an excellent job demonstrating the differences between high/low shutter speeds and frame rates, which, among other things, result in more/less motion blur and crisp, clear images. If you're asking why filmmakers deviate from the norm (24p at 1/50), or better yet, how different frame rates and shutter speeds can affect the audience on an emotional level, here are some examples.

Slow Motion

We're all pretty familiar with this, since it's more often than not the first thing you try when messing around with your frame rate settings. Higher frame rate settings will result in slow motion; since more frames are being captured per second, the shot can be slowed down without breaking the beta movement illusion.

Action Shots

Faster shutter speeds result in crisper, clearer images, like the ones we see all the time in action films, sports, and other media that contains a lot of movement (video games, too). In fact, this has been dubbed the "Saving Private Ryan look" -- and you've probably noticed it in certain scenes from 28 Days Later as well.

 Notice how the blood doesn't blur?

In the end, shutter speeds and frame rates can change the way your image looks, as well as how it reads to your audience. They're not just settings that you set and forget -- they're can actually become dynamic storytelling devices.

Source: Vimeo Blog