How frame rate and shutter speed affects your video

Shutter Speed Test

A few weeks ago I wrote an article for titled Debunking the 180-degree shutter rule where I boldly stated that the 180-degree shutter rule is a myth! As expected, it caused some noise in Facebook groups and other forums.

Some of the readers said that they thought the video examples (a spinning bicycle wheel) were not proving my point. I agree that it wasn’t the best example, so I made a new video that shows how motion smoothness and motion blur is affected by frame rate and shutter speed. This time with a bouncing tennis ball.

The video is 50 fps, so for perfect viewing, view on a screen with a refresh rate of 50 or 100 Hz, but the difference is pretty obvious on a 60 Hz screen too. Also make sure that you’re actually watching the full quality 50 fps video.

YouTube settings

Check the YouTube settings for this video

The point of the video is to show that motion blur looks natural when the shutter speed is close to 1/50 (or 1/48) second, and will look more unnatural the more you deviate from this shutter speed. I shoot at 50 fps to avoid the stutter/judder that comes from 24 and 25 fps video. In my opinion, 50 fps yields much smoother and more natural movement.

The new video

Here’s a video of me bouncing a tennis ball with a racket (yeah, it’s a squash racket, but that’s what I had at hand). See how the motion blur for 1/50 second is exactly the same, and looks good, for 1/25 second and 1/50 second shutters—you may want to add: of course. I find the smoothness of 50 fps so much nicer to watch than the stuttery/jerky/juddery 24, 25 and 30 (29.97) fps.

I guess it’s less “filmic” or “cinematic” since it doesn’t replicate the jerky movement that cinema has had for decades, but I don’t want my footage to look “cinematic”, I want it to look good. In my opinion, the 50 fps 1/50 second (360 degree shutter) looks best.


Shot by Dag Frode “One-take” Olsen on a Canon EOS C300 Mark II.


Jarle’s verdict: 25 fps looks best at 1/50 second, and so does 50 fps, but 50 fps at 1/50 second is smoother and more natural looking, so that’s my choice. You’re allowed to disagree.

Is the 180° shutter a myth?

Some commented (after reading the Wipster article) that it’s not a myth. I will have to disagree, since The Oxford Dictionary says that one meaning of the word Myth is “A widely held but false belief or idea”. In this case that widely held but false belief is that you should always use a 180° shutter. You shouldn’t–if you shoot 50 fps for 50 fps playback, use a 360° shutter. If you want natural looking footage, that is. As the original article says, there are many reasons why you wouldn’t always want that.

Oxford Dictionary

The Oxford Dictionary

Please note that this advice (360° shutter for 50 fps video) is only valid if you plan to show the video at normal speed. If you shoot at higher frame rates than 24 fps for slow motion purposes, then other rules apply, and you should probably go for a 180° shutter.

The original article

You can read the original Wipster article here.

180 degree shutter

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6 Responses

  1. Chad Gray says:

    Great article! This is very interesting. Can you do another blog post on the whole “degree shutter” thing? I’m not sure what that is.

  2. Al says:

    Hi Jarle, what would be your advice for my workflow: I almost all the time shoot at 50fps at 1/100 (180 degree). But I always edit for playback at 25fps. The reason I don’t shoot at 25fps initially is because I like to have a room to slow down my footage when/where needed so shooting at 50fps leaves me with option of getting slomo 50%. Do you think I should continue shooting 50fps with 1/100 or 50fps at 1/50?

    • Hi Al, this depends on what’s most important to you: Best looking footage at normal playback speed, or best looking slow motion. 1/50 gets you the best result at normal speed, and 1/100 gives best results for slo-mo at 50% speed. If you use slo-mo a lot, you should probably go with 1/100 sec. If you use the clips at normal speed most of the time, 1/50 is the best choice. You can also shoot at 1/100 sec and add motion blur to the clips you use at normal speed in After Effects, using the CC Force Motion Blur effect. Or a Premiere Pro plug-in like ReelSmart Motion Blur. The results will vary depending on the footage, but most of the time it looks OK.

  3. Brian Morrow says:

    Excellent! Question can I do a time lapse with a C300 Mark 2 and make motion blur with of say ocean waves?

    Thank you in advance

    • Hi Brian, since the waves will move much faster in the finished video you’ll have to add artificial motion blur in post, using plugins like ReelSmart Motion Blur, or – if you have After Effects, use CC Force Motion Blur or Pixel Motion Blur.

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