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Troubleshooting Frame Rate Issues in Your Video Editing Project

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/17/2010

Having problems with choppy frame rates, non-matching frame rates, and other FPS specifics is fairly common. Here are a few ways to troubleshoot frame rate problems when video editing.

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    Import and Capture

    In the more modern era of video editing most editors are dealing with a variety of different film and media types, ranging from stock footage and stills to more modern HD formats. When you are working with such a diverse set of mixed media you may easily find that there are problems between the footage, which is a problem no matter what you are dealing with. One of the more common problems that occur with video that has been imported or captured is for the appearance of the frame rate to look incorrect. The frame rate you filmed at may not have been maintained, it may appear choppy, or look distorted. Here are a few ways to troubleshoot frame rate problems that may occur in your non-linear video editing project.

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    Capture Frame Rate

    You will often find that once you have captured a DV tape, whether it was just SD or some format like HDV, that when the footage is actually placed into a sequence it appears choppy. One possibility here is that you have actually not captured the footage at the same frame rate that it was shot on. When you are capturing your footage in your editing software you have to match the capture settings to the settings you used in your filming period. For example, if you shot at 24 frames per second and then captured the footage at 30 frames per second then there may be an issue when the footage is actually used. To solve this problem you may want to re-capture the footage at the correct frame rate and then reconnect it to the footage in the sequences you are working with in your editing project. This can actually take quite a while as you will have to make sure that everything is matched correctly, but as long as the Timecode is maintained it should be easy to connect your video segments to new source media from your capture scratch.

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    Sequence Settings

    When you are working in an editing sequence you will usually have to choose the sequence settings for that sequence so that it is appropriate for the footage types. Usually people will just drop a piece of media into that sequence and when it asks if you want to conform your sequence setting to that clip you will select to do so. If your footage is showing up with the appearance of a bad frame rate it may not be any kind of actual frame rate issue and instead a sequence setting problem, which can be easy to troubleshoot. Start a new sequence and then drop the media that you were having playback issues with into that sequence. When you are asked if you want to conform the sequence settings to the clip. This may fix the appearance as your sequence settings will match your clip.

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    One of the simplest way to troubleshoot what appears to be a frame rate problem is to check any alterations that have been made to it. One of the most obvious ways to check to see what is wrong with your clip is to see if there are any filters or visual effects that are on it, which may alter the way the frame rate has appeared. This is especially true for video effects and filters that add noise and strong alterations to your clips.