youtube-60-frames-per-second

Four months after first promising one of the most anticipated features in its history, YouTube has made 60 frame-per-second (fps) video uploads available to everyone.
Although the site had been demonstrating a few 48 and 60 fps videos in recent months to stoke interest in the new format, last week’s move opens it up to everyone. Effective immediately, users can both submit and view videos shot at the new higher framerates.
What does faster video mean to the industry? And can it have an impact on the voice industry, as well? The short answer is yes. For the longer answer, read on.

More Frames = Better Quality

In video, frame rate has emerged as a key enabler of quality. Frames per second, or fps, is the only metric that matters here. And as with most things in tech, the higher the number, the better it is.

YouTube has long allowed users to upload videos at standard framerates, specifically 24 and 30 frames per second (fps). The new higher framerates, first announced at the VidCon conference earlier this year and officially rolling out across the service’s website and apps this week, make action seem significantly smoother and more fluid, which can be a key advantage in fast-paced games, intense animations, and other immersive, dimensional types of content.

The move comes just a couple of months after Apple launched its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which can record full-HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixel) 30 and 60 fps footage natively. The fast-friendly footage settings are part of a larger plan by YouTube to appeal to content creators. In recent months, it has introduced the Creator Studio app for iOS and Android, a new royalty-free audio and sound effect library, and Fan Funding, which lets viewers contribute directly to specific video channels.

Not So Fast

As with any major technological change, it doesn’t come without a few technical notes. The entire site hasn’t suddenly become 48 or 60 fps overnight: Users may have to change browsers or system settings in order to see the difference, and older videos recorded at the slower framerates won’t be automatically upgraded. Here’s a quick rundown of the two key requirements to successfully watch 60 fps content:

  • You must be using the Google Chrome browser. Support for other browsers is currently being worked on, but is not yet available.
  • Head into the Settings menu and select either 720p60 or 1080p60.

Even then, you may not be able to view all content that was uploaded at 60 fps. That’s because YouTube retains the right to approve which videos play at 60 fps. It says 60 fps will be turned on only for videos that qualify as “motion intense” – meaning games and other action-oriented content.

So if you’re producing high-speed content and you want to ensure viewers see it as it was originally shot, make sure it adheres to that “motion intense” definition.
More sedate types of programming may not see as much of a pop with the new, higher framerates, either, so consider your needs carefully before deciding to shoot at 48 or 60 fps. That’s because higher framerates consume more bandwidth and storage. If all other settings are equal, 60 fps video will take up twice as much storage space and consume twice as much bandwidth as it streams when compared to 30 fps content.

How Does Video Influence Voice?

By now you’re probably asking yourself what any of this has to do with the voice over industry. As it turns out, plenty.

That’s because the arrival of 48 and 60 fps framerates as standard offerings on the world’s largest online streaming service will kickstart new investment in the kinds of productions that can take advantage of the new capability.

This means more game-related videos, more animations, and more motion-intense projects that simply didn’t make sense in the old days of 30 fps-or-less framerates. The categories these new high-speed projects fall into are necessarily more dependent on the availability of quality voice talent, which means more demand for voice talent as these new projects come on-stream and expand the market for everyone.

The higher production values necessitated by the higher framerates also puts greater pressure on audio engineers to deliver an even higher level of quality – which similarly benefits the top-end voice talent who value similarly top-end results. If you’ve always sought out the most premium projects, YouTube’s move means more opportunity for this type of work. For talent interested in strengthening their personal brand through the most production-centric projects, your platform has arrived.
In the end, more speed is always a good thing, and YouTube’s move to implement 48 and 60 fps videos promises significant growth potential for voice-based projects.

Your Turn:

How do you see yourself taking advantage of the new faster framerates? Let us know your plans in a comment.
All the best,
Carmi

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1 COMMENT

  1. Interesting news, and I like the way you’ve shown how this improvement in technology will not only provide more work for VO professionals, but also require the audio quality to be of a higher caliber, benefiting the top tier VO talents. Just another way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

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