When it comes to consuming media – whether you’re gaming with friends or watching your favorite TV show – you want to have the smoothest experience possible. And in order to provide that buttery-smooth experience, game developers, directors, and display manufacturers all rely on frame rates. Without it, your media is no different than a PowerPoint presentation.
What Is Frame Rate?
Frame rate measures how many times an image is displayed per second. It’s measured in frames per second (fps), and it’s usually written as “fps.” Generally, it’s measured in Hertz (Hz), which you’ll see displayed on TVs and computer monitors.
A higher frame rate generally produces smoother movement, while a lower frame rate can make movements appear choppy. For example, when watching an animated movie on television, try pausing the video and observing how still each frame appears. The more frames per second within a given scene, the smoother it will look when played back at normal speed.
Why Is Frame Rate Important?
The higher the frame rate, the smoother your video will look and feel to watch – think live-action movies versus old school cartoons.
The lower your frame rate, the more jerky everything looks — think of those early ’90s CGI films where everything was so blocky and pixelated; they were low-resolution videos with low frame rates. Film, animation, and TV are generally recorded with a specific frame rate in mind, while digital media (like video games) generally aims to have the highest frame rate possible.
Frame rates aren’t just important for video quality: they also affect how much storage space your files take up on your computer or phone.