My go-to camera setting for the smoothest phone videos.  Just don’t abuse it

My go-to camera setting for the smoothest phone videos. Just don’t abuse it

Motorola Razr Plus 2023 camcorder mode

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In a recent family get-together, my dad flaunted a series of videos he had recorded during his recent trip to Las Vegas. One scene in particular, a panning from casino to casino as he rode through the strip, caught most people’s attention. The motion was noticeably smoother than the other clips he had captured, making the neon-lit signs on every corner all the more legible.

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He was just as surprised as the rest of us; either his hands were secretly made out of steel or his nearly four-year-old iPhone 11 still had it.

It was probably the latter (sorry, dad), as to the trained eye it was clear that the video was recorded at 60 frames per second (fps). Fps refers to the number of times your camera captures a frame in a second.

Remember those flip books that produced an animation as you fanned through the pages? You can think of a camera recording at 60fps as a flip book with 60 pages. The more pages, the smoother the visuals are.

By default, smartphones record at 30fps, which is still sufficient enough to produce your everyday videos. In fact, most movies and digital content are captured in either 24fps or 30fps. Naturally, car chase scenes and camera shakes look a lot more dramatic.

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But if you want the smoothest of videos, especially if your smartphone is the only piece of camera equipment around, then here’s how to dial things up to 60.

How to change your phone’s video-recording settings

It wasn’t until recent years that Apple finally shifted the iPhone’s camera settings onto the camera app itself, which makes changing things like fps very straightforward. It’s because of this that I suspect that my dad inadvertently switched from 30fps to 60fps when recording his videos.

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To change the fps setting, you’ll first have to switch from Photo to mode Videos mode, either by swiping across the bottom carousel or tapping the label. Then, in the upper right corner, tap between 30 and 60 to adjust the frames captured per second.

For even more clarity, you can switch from recording HD (1080p resolution) to 4K by tapping that label, too.

On an Android device, open up the camera app > switch to Videos mode > and then tap on the recording settings to open up a list of resolutions and fps values.

Also: How to set up a new Android phone

Like the iPhone, default video recordings should be set to HD (1080p) at 30fps. Switch the fps value to 60 for the smoothest capturing.

Why you shouldn’t always record at 60fps

There’s one major caveat that you should know about when recording at 60fps instead of 30fps, and that’s file size. Because your phone is capturing the number of frames twice, 60fps videos take up more storage, and there’s often a recording time limit if you ramp up to 4K.

Also: Your iPhone videos will never look like the ones Apple shows you

So, if you’re limited on internal memory or cloud storage, or don’t plan on backing up the footage to an external drive, then I’d recommend being more conserving (and mindful) when recording videos at a higher frame rate.

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