Skip to main content

Frame Rates & Slow Motion

Lesson 6 from: Filming Families: The Modern Family Video

Courtney Holmes

Frame Rates & Slow Motion

Lesson 6 from: Filming Families: The Modern Family Video

Courtney Holmes

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

6. Frame Rates & Slow Motion


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


The Spark That Inspired Me


What Are Family Films?


Gear for Family Films


Camera Settings for Video


Frame Rates & Slow Motion


Picture Profiles & Color Grading


Settings for Audio Capture


Lesson Info

Frame Rates & Slow Motion

So slow motion, what it is, and how to use it. So slow motion we talked about 50 and 60 frames per second. Slow motion, when you shoot at a frame rate that is 24 or 25 or 30 and you try to slow it down, has anyone ever done that? It's not a great look, so it's doable but it's not a great look. Now if you slow down 50 or 60 frames per second footage, it's really smooth, so I like to use the slinky analogy for this. If you take a slinky that has the same amount of rings on it and then you take another slinky that has more rings on it, so let's say you take a slinky with 24 rings on it, you take a slinky with 60 rings on it, you spread them out to the same distance, which one's gonna have more gaps? The 24, that's the reason why, because video is just a series of pictures, really, it's just a series of frames, so if you're trying to spread out 24 frames over the same amount of time that you're spreading out 60 frames, you're gonna have gaps and that's why it looks jerky, that's why it doe...

sn't look as smooth, 'cause you don't have the extra frames that are filling in those gaps, okay? So that's why you want to shoot the higher frame rate if you're wanting to slow it down. Why would you do it? Why would you shoot slow motion? Using slow motion on small details will always bring more significance to that moment. That's why I do it, Julian Palmer. That's why I do it, it always brings more significance to that moment and so for me, my films are so full of slow motion, there's lots of it in there. It's just that nostalgic feeling, that emotional, it's bringing significance, it's just making a smile last longer, it's making a touch last longer, it's making you feel more like you're there, it's just, I feel like it's just so much more emotional. I like to use a mixture of the two and I get a lot of questions about whether I do everything in 50 'cause I'm in Australia whether I shoot it all in 50 and then slow some stuff down and not others, I try to intentionally switch between the frame rates based on what I'm doing, because I don't really love the look of 50 and frames per second not slowed down, so I try to intentionally switch, and I'm gonna talk more on that a little bit later. Here's some examples of when I would shoot a quiet moment, for slow motion, and what the difference makes, so I'm gonna show you what it looks like at a normal speed and then what it looks like slowed down as a quiet moment, because there's, you can do this, you can shoot for slow motion, a lot of people are like when do you shoot for slow motion, when do you shoot for normal, and it's not as easy as just being like alright, when everything's really fast, you shoot it for slow motion and then you can slow it down and that's great. It's not always like that, because if it's a quiet moment I shoot for slow motion as well, so I really tend to switch mostly based on audio, when I think I'm gonna be able to get really good audio is when I tend to shoot at a standard frame rate. So quiet moment, there's not really a whole lot going on sound-wise, so here's what it looks like at normal speed, and she's just brushing the back of the baby, brushing the baby's back with her fingers, like sweet mom thing. Here's what it looks like in slow motion. It just lasts longer. It's that bringing significance to this moment, right? So here's an action moment, another time when I would use slow motion where mom's spinning baby around in a circle and the difference that that looks between shooting that, I didn't shoot this, this was a normal, 50 frames per second not slowed down and then slowed down, so you can see it's the exact same clip. Right, it just goes by really quickly. It makes a big difference, it just does, so that's the difference between shooting at normal speed and slow motion and the way that you can then use this to add this nostalgic feeling and it's all of these wonderful moments that you need to watch for and anticipate and look for and then slowing them down just brings more significance to them. So when should you shoot at a standard frame rate? Slow moments, times where there's a great opportunity for conversation. When there might be any kind of parent-child teaching going on, like cooking meals, boardgames, if there's any opportunity for good audio and that's a tricky thing because a lot of times when the fast moments are happening there's really great audio and then laughter and things like that. But it's one of those things you just kind of have to decide in the moment, and when this, like for example, they're down here on the bed and they were playing together and she was laughing and they were talking and so I shot that at standard frame rate and then here they're cooking, and I did a mixture of slow motion and standard frame rate here in this film, and then here they're cooking again the same thing, and then here I shot a standard frame rate while they were laughing and talking to each other. So if there's good opportunity for audio, I'm most likely gonna try and lean towards a standard frame rate. If I feel like I've already gotten a lot of really great audio in a session and I'm ending towards something, I might lean more towards slow motion of a quiet moment, it just really depends on what's going on. When should you shoot at a higher frame rate for slow motion? Specifically action moments I would say, things like bike rides, swing sets, riding scooters, jumping rope, hide and seek, chasing, baseball or cricket if you're in Australia, important fleeting moments that you want to be able to slow down, so she was rocking the baby, I shot that in slow motion. I wanted to just emphasize the peacefulness and the slowness and the stillness of this moment where she's just with her baby. The swing, he was swinging around and I really wanted to show his hair blowing in the wind and all of that, so slowing that down. They were jumping on the bed, slowing that down. And her spinning the baby. Alright, so resolution sizes. What do they mean and which one should you use? So 4K is sort of, that's the newest thing, right? It's huge, they're big files, it's great, it's ultra-high definition. There's probably gonna be 8K that comes out later. There are a lot of cameras that are capable of shooting it. The Mark Four is as well, when you shoot it on the Mark Four it crops in so it changes your focal length there but it's not something I shoot. I don't shoot 4K, it's just too heavy and I don't think it's necessary right now. Maybe down the track, but for now, I really stick with 1080p. 1080p is full high definition, it looks great on televisions, it's 1920 by 1080 in your camera. That is the one that I would aim for always. 720p is high definition, and then 480 is standard definition so this is what was, that's where we all started. Look at how much technology has advanced, but that's what it was, that's what you used to see on TV, and so when you go back and watch TV shows from like the 80s, that's what you're seeing, and then 720, the thing about 720 and is that on the Mark Three, you cannot shoot a high frame rate at 1080p, so you have to shoot it at 720, so your 50 or 60 frames per second footage is gonna be at 720. And so that's one thing that I had to get used to and had to start learning about how to mix the two in post-production, because the 5D Mark Three doesn't allow you to shoot above, and I really wanted the slow motion, that's a big thing for me, so I sacrificed the resolution size for being able to shoot at a higher frame rate, and that's fine. Clients had no idea. A lot of the films that you've seen have been at 720, it's not a huge thing, but it's worthwhile knowing, and if you can shoot at 1080, it's better, so if your camera allows you to shoot a higher frame rate at 1080p then that's what you should be doing. So I'll get into, I'll see if I can show during the editing portion what it looks like when you add a higher frame rate 720p clip to a timeline with a 1080p clip so you can see what that does and what the difference is, but yeah, so that's pretty much it. Is there any questions so far? We'll start in the studio, then we'll go to the folks at home. You might go over this, but I was curious on how you would switch, is that a quick thing, is that something that you can do automatically like switching a shutter speed or is there, do you have to look and do that? Yeah, I will cover that later, so there's gonna be more information about switching between, you're talking about switching between photos and video, or the shutter speed change? Between the frames per second. Oh, yeah, okay, that's great. So it's not a quick thing. There's a, I know there's a way that you can set up a custom setting on the Mark Four so that it has the settings that you want, so you can just flick between. What I have done and still do is I go into the menu and once I've gone into it once, then once I click on the menu again, it's just there and then I just scroll to the one that I want. I think it's easier on Canon than Nikon because you only have a few options. On the Nikon, you have a really long list, but I know that on Nikon you also have the option to create custom buttons and determine where things are so you can flick easily that way, but it's not just automatic, like a quick, easy automatic place to do that there. Yeah, is there anything else? Well there was a similar question, too, online from Alana who was wondering about how fast you can change for creating that slow motion because you use that a lot and so is it easy to change back and forth? I find it easy now, I think that it's something that takes practice getting used to, knowing where the frame rates are. One thing I haven't mentioned yet, that I didn't mention this slide, that is specific to Canon is that Canon also gives you the option to shoot all I or IPB. All I is the one that you wanna choose, that gives you more flexibility with editing, it's a higher data clip, IPB is more, they're different compressions, methods of compression, IPB is good if you're shooting a long, continuous clip, like something like 30 minutes or whatever, so IPB is better for that. I always shoot all I if you're Canon. You may well cover this in another section, but I'm wondering how often or what is percentage of slow motion movements in the whole video? A lot, a lot. If I can get, I would say a good goal to start with is one scene that has audio in it, and then anything extra, you kind of, you get throughout the process of filming is good, that's a bonus. I usually try to aim for one or two and I love getting conversation, I love getting voices that are not just the kids but also the parents and so I would say the majority of the footage is slow motion, percentage wise maybe 90 or 85% and then the rest, it's short, so you don't need to, that's the thing. I don't spend my whole time for every scene that I approach flicking between the two. It's just I'm listening and observing the whole time and if I feel like I'm approaching a scene, in the session that I did on Sunday, there was, it was Father's Day, happy Father's Day, dads, if you're dads. So I would anticipate that the boys were giving their dad a card and presents so I knew there was gonna be conversation that I wanted to capture audio of so I anticipated that and I flicked it to a standard frame rate and then I shot it specifically with that in mind, and then afterwards, I flicked over to slow motion. And I might have done it before that all ended but I knew that I had a good amount of audio to start with and then there was probably only a few other times, like at the end they were talking about an eagle that flew by and I could see that the dad was talking about the things they were seeing when they were standing at the edge of where they were, I don't wanna say the edge of a cliff but they were overlooking something, and I could see they were talking about stuff and so I flicked to standard frame rate because I wanted to capture that audio. It's not a lot, so I don't think it needs to be something you're like an even mixture of, but it really is, the more that you do it, the more you'll work out what's right for you 'cause I think everybody's different and it's so dependent on the things that matter to you the most, so voices might matter more for you and interaction and all of that, so yeah, it's really dependent on what you like, yeah. Are you doing day in the life when you're doing these? Do you mean, Like are you spending half a day, three hours, a whole day? I generally spend between three and four hours and it is similar to day in the life. And then you're also mixing photo and film? Photo and video And I'm shooting both, yeah. And then of that, how many hours of that four hours is video, probably not much? Does that make sense? Yeah, do you mean like how much am I shooting video and how much am I shooting photos? So when you come away from your session do you have an hour's worth of film or do you have Okay, yeah, I don't know exactly how much time I have in footage, I know how many clips I shoot, and it's usually around, I know that I'm gonna get a great film out of it if I have at least 400 clips, and if I do between a three to four-hour session, I usually end up around 400 clips, if I go four to vie hours then it's more around the four to 500 clips, and then I usually am also shooting photos and I can't remember what's an average of how many photos I shoot, I only promise, that's your next question, I only promise 20 to 30, and I usually, for three to four hours, and I usually deliver more than that. I don't wanna promise more, the priority is the video, right and so every moment I approach, that's what I'm shooting first and I'll get more into that later as well. So when you're shooting 400 clips, how many clips do you end up using for the video and then how long is your video? Good question Thanks You've done this before. So, how many, 'cause that really varies, because it depends on the song. If a song is a little bit more up-tempo then I will have shorter clips to match the pace of the music, and it really, really depends on that. Maybe like 100 clips, I would guess and generally the length of an average song, an average song is three to four minutes, I like to go round the three and a half minute mark, depends on whether, how long I spent there. If I have a lot of footage for four minutes and I find a good song at four minutes then I'll do that but I don't try to match how much footage, the song is so crucial, so I make the footage match the song, that's what I do. So I'll pick a song first and I usually filter and look for a three to four minute song, anything less than that I feel like I'm sort of gypping the clients a little bit, so I wanna do at least three minutes but if there's a song that's three minutes and 15 seconds that I absolutely love and one that's three minutes and 45 seconds that I could totally fill but it's not as great, I'm gonna go with the three minutes and 15 second song, because that's gonna have the most emotional impact. Yeah. Courtney, we have lots of questions coming in from folks who are watching online. Similar to your question earlier, Craig Bryant is asking how often or do you ever use still images within the video? Never, no. That's fusion, and I started out being interested in that but for me, I actually think it's harder, I think it's harder to make still photos work. It's more work, actually. I've done it, but I don't love doing it. I really like it all being video footage and then having the photos entirely separate. Yeah, think it flows better. Thank you, another question from Marif Albe who says are you using one camera body or two? Just one. Keeping it simple. Keeping it very simple, yeah, just one. Which is what's amazing when you watch your videos, that you are capturing all of that, one just body and just one you. Do you ever use assistants? Never, unless I'm doing a wedding, if I'm doing a wedding yes, but it's very rare that I do weddings, I think I've done like three or four in total.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Shot List Worksheet Template
Shot List Worksheet Example
Ideas for Your First Film
Discount Code

Ratings and Reviews

Adam Nicholls

Worth a watch! Courtney provides a clear and organised class, she is also very passionate about what she does which is always nice to see. She has a great back story which is fantastic. This course is good for beginners who have some knowledge in photography and want to learn more about video. I would recommend that people do not refer this class to the bible of filmmaking as I feel you can expand further on what Courtney teaches. Some useful tips for beginners but some methods I personally feel can be taught differently. I feel a gimbal is a useful bit of kit if used correctly. You can still use a gimbal when in manual mode providing you follow the basics rules! Obviously if Courtney prefers not to use a gimbal then that's also fine but I wouldn't discourage students from exploring useful filmmaking tools. Slow motion can be achieved with 50/60fps however I feel other frame rates should have been discussed like 120fps. I liked that Courtney engaged with the students as it gets them involved and will help them remember what they have learned during the class. Thank you for taking the time to share some of your knowledge

a Creativelive Student

Courtney's work is absolutely amazing and inspiring. I feel lucky that she has chosen to share her process and that this class is available! After watching all the videos and trying my hand at this video thing, I am feeling really encouraged and inspired to do more- both personally and professionally. I appreciate the way that she breaks things down in the video and that she shares her thought process. A really great course!


Courtney’s course completes me! I have storytelling “holes” in my film previously, but this course helped fill those holes to create a flow and a film with emotion. Not only is the course wonderful (and well worth every penny) but Courtney is wonderful as well! I had such an amazing experience at Creative Live!!!!

Student Work