Written by Sanne

What video resolution and how many fps do I need when recording?

Before you buy a video camera or camera with recording options, it's important to know more about the image quality and the number of frames per second that the camera captures. This is called video resolution and frames per second or frame rate (fps). These factors determine how clear and smooth your images will look. In this article, I explain which video resolutions there are and what you can do with which frame rate.

Which video resolutions are there?

Ultra HD (4K or 4K Cinema)

Because Ultra HD contains 4 times more pixels than Full HD picture quality, this resolution is also called 4K. Ultra HD consists of a total of 8,840 by 2,160 pixels. In cinemas this is the standard picture quality. That is why 4K is sometimes also called 4K Cinema. Because you see Ultra HD or 4K more and more often with televisions, there are more and more cameras on the market that film in this quality. These are both video cameras and compact, mirrorless and SLR cameras.

Full HD (1080)

Full HD is the most common resolution at the moment. Most televisions and screens have this image quality. In Full HD, the image is 1,920 pixels wide and 1,080 pixels high. Even with cameras, Full HD is still the most common image resolution. All action cameras filming in Full HD anyway. The same applies to mirrorless cameras. This ensures that your monitor supports the quality of your videos.

HD Ready (720p)

The maximum image resolution with HD Ready is lower than with Full HD. HD Ready consists of 1,280 by 720 pixels. This resolution meets the minimum requirements of HD quality, hence the term HD Ready. The images are in principle suitable for playing on an HD screen. But because the image contains quite a few pixels less than Full HD, the quality is visibly less good. Especially the older cameras only film in HD Ready.

What does frame rate or frames per second (fps) mean?

Frame rate

A video consists of a long sequence of separate images, also called frames. The number of frames that a camera records per second, you call the frame rate. The frame rate determines how smoothly you play the images. You use a high frame rate to film fast movements smoothly. Please note that the images are quickly underexposed because there is only a short light on the sensor during filming.

Which frame rates are there?

15 frames per second: for filming quiet images without too much movement, like a landscape. The images can be delayed very badly.

30 frames per second: for filming normal and quiet movements, such as walking. The images can be somewhat delayed. Your movie contains images with a large dynamic range.

60 frames per second: for filming action images and fast movements. Good to use for slowing down your images (slow motion). Apply in a well-lit environment to avoid underexposure.

120 frames per second: for extremely slowing down your images and making slow motion videos. Only to be used in a very well-lit environment to prevent underexposure.

What does frame rate have to do with video resolution?

Not every camera is able to record images with the highest possible frame rate in the highest possible image quality. With a new GoPro HERO action camera, for example, you record 60 fps in 4K quality and 240 fps in HD ready quality. With a middle class camcorder you film with 50 fps in Full HD quality. Most action cameras record images in 4K quality with a maximum of 30 frames per second.

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