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Useful frame rate comparison tool

Still of frame rate comparison videoIP cameras come with a range of frame rates with some offering 60 frames per second (FPS) or more. If you’re new to the technology it’s tempting to use the highest setting, as the greater the better? Right?

Not always.

Increasing the frame rate increases the storage you’ll need and the processing required. Therefore, understanding frame rates, is crucial to ensure you’re not paying for storage and processing you don’t need.

Let’s go back to basics first…

What is fps and why is it important?

Fps is the number of frames your camera records per second. This specifies how much detail is recorded in your security system. The higher the camera fps the more information you record. This, of course, leads to an increase in storage used.

In the early days of IP cameras, the frame rate had a direct correlation to the storage required. Now with compression technology like H.264 and H.265, fps is just one method of reducing storage.

To help you decide which frame rate best suits your requirements, take a look at the video below.

This shows you how frame rates from 1 fps to 30 fps appear in video footage. You may notice that there is little discernible difference between the higher rates.

What’s a good frame rate for CCTV?

Unfortunately, there isn’t one easy answer to this question. It depends on what you’re observing.

Low (less than 10) fps results in jumpy video, making behavioural observation tricky to record.

As you’ll see from the video above, it becomes much smoother at 10 fps. This may sound quite low but for most typical business installations, this rate is fine.

In areas where you need to track fast movement, you’ll need to increase the rate to 18 fps or higher. Whereas in area like casinos, or busy city centre locations, a rate of 60 fps or higher may be required.

Remember that the higher the frame rate, the more data you will be recording. Therefore, reducing your rate can save you money in storage cost.

For example, if you record at 20 instead of 10 fps you will be recording twice the amount of video data, but with visually very little increase in perceived movement. Frame rate increases provide diminishing visual returns for increased recording, processing and storage costs.

Another way to optimise your system is using different rates at different times. So, you may choose to keep your everyday recording at, say 12 fps, but boost it when motion is triggered. Alternatively, record at 1 fps all of the time then ‘speed up’ to faster rate when something happens.

Need a more detailed comparison – download the video

As the comparison above has been compressed by YouTube. You can download the frame rate comparison tool to view it in higher quality. It’s a .zip file – right click and choose ‘Save file as’.

Summary

Hopefully you now have some understanding of how frame rate can affect your security camera feed and storage. You may also have an idea of which rate to use.
If you want some advice on this, or any other aspect of IP camera systems, contact us – we’d be delighted to help.

Published on September 18th, 2013 by Kevin Bowyer

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