Youtube has been gradually rolling out support for videos shot at 60 frames per second for some time now. It's mostly been limited to corporate clients running promos for 60fps game demos, but their reach has recently moved into the First Showing realm (albeit in a very limited fashion)! Roll-out will be spotty for some time as it becomes more widely accepted within the Youtube framework, but in the mean time, check out the tour at the bottom of this post that was shot with our Sony A7s shooting full HD at 60 frames per second. For the time being, you'll need to be running Windows 8.1 with the latest version of the Internet Explorer web browser - other browsers will be supported soon! Make sure you go full-screen with this one, and that you have a fast internet connection. If you click the 'gear' icon on the bottom right corner of the video, you should either see or be able to select '1080p60' as the playback mode. If you can't see this as a playback option... check back soon :)
Why is 60fps so smooth? I'll draw upon my past education for the answer (thank you, Bachelor of Fine Arts!) It all comes down to something called 'persistence of vision'. Our eyes are built to view still images, and they do this very well... up to a point. Once a certain threshold is reached - it is around 16 frames per second - the human eye can no longer differentiate between single images. Our visual cortex combines them into one string - a moving image. Film and video technology is, at it's core, a workaround for us to trick the brain into seeing movement in still images!
The history of cinema has had a number of different standards for what constitutes the "best" rate at which films should be shown. In the beginning, it was very non-standardized: camera operators hand-cranked film cameras, so it came down to the 'style' of the shooter. With the advent of sound, a consistent speed was required, so that sound-sync could be achieved (the first systems were separate film & video tracks). After much trial and error (and politicking!), 24fps was established (and largely remains) as the standard playback frame rate. An interesting sidebar note is that many 8mm home film cameras back in the day shot at 18fps because it used less film and so was cheaper to shoot!
We won't get into how frame rates made their way into television and video. It's a seriously sordid story which, if you really care, you could ask me about when next we meet. But I'll wrap this post up by saying that "the more frames per second, the smoother the apparent motion". Note that I don't make a subjective judgement call on whether it "looks better", because what's "best" is, quite literally, in the eye of the beholder. To some viewers, high frame-rate video looks... fake. Like a soap opera. But for our purposes, a high frame-rate tour means a higher apparent resolution, better apparent detail and an all-round smoother experience. Like you were there. If you would like a more 'filmic' look to your tours do let me know and I can knock it down to 24 fps. But to see as much as possible, smooth 60fps is the way to go.
Go Full Screen (Windows 8.1, Internet Explorer only as of Jan. 26, 2015), choose 1080p60 from the 'gear' menu, and check it out below!