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Is 120 Fps the Most Overused Frame Rate? How to Use Slow Motion in Your Filmmaking

Everyone loves a bit of slow-motion action in their b-roll, but when does it become too much? Filmmaker Mark Bone takes a look at 24, 30, 60, 120, and 180 frames per second and gives his thoughts on what to use and when.

“If you want people to connect to your characters on an emotional level,” says Bone, “you won’t necessarily get this in slow motion.” For me, this needs to be framed and hung above every filmmaker’s desk.

Slow-motion has its place, but with more cameras offering faster frame rates, the profusion of slowed down footage has become intense. I think I’m hypersensitized to it as a result of years of watching extreme sports short films on YouTube, where every video seems to have in its intro a sequence of someone walking somewhere moodily in slow motion. For me, this painting of individuals as supremely heroic comes across as self-congratulatory and makes me cringe. The amount of slow-motion can also be a sign of not having shot enough quality b-roll.

One huge outdoor equipment and clothing manufacturer is massively guilty of this, and I’m sure that this is one of the reasons that this huge corporation has had to switch off the comments on its YouTube videos. When a sequence of b-roll shots cuts every two seconds and there’s ten in a row where nine are in extreme slow motion, I start to sigh. But maybe it's just me.

Rant over! Was this video useful? Are people overcooking their videos with too much 120 fps? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Michael Schuler's picture

I agree 100%. It's part of why I get more and more tired of visual content. Which is really sad.