Using fake frame rates is one of the way action cam manufacturers ‘cheat’ their buyers.

Recently, the competition of action cam industries is very tough. In order to stay ahead of the game, some companies have used fake frame rates to attract more people to buy their product.

What do they do? Falsely advertising the frame rate of their camera.

Most of the times, they only falsely claim frame rate on 4K resolutions because, for that, the hardware required for smooth 4K recording is more costly.

Hence, if you see a 4K camera that is below $50, there is a high likelihood that the hardware of the camera can only support 4K at 15-20 frames per second (fps) which looks like a photo slideshow, making it unusable.

Also, in some cases, they might also claim to be able to film 4K at 30fps even though it is actually much lower. How they go about doing it will be described below.

After which, I will give you a few examples of action cams to avoid below if you wish to use 4K recording.

Firstly, what are frame rates?

what are frame rates?

So if you are new to this frame rate thing, it is, simply said, how many frames are shot per second.

Typical video plays at about 24 frames per second (fps) and above and that’s about the minimum frame rate for smooth and realistic playback.

Converting 15fps to 30fps? How?!

Many of the times, cheap action cams are only able to support recording up to 4K at 15-20fps due to hardware limitations.

However, manufacturers can still claim 30fps on their product sheet and even if you analyse the video (will be explained below how), it’ll still show 30fps.

How do they go about doing adding frames from nowhere?

time stretching post production slow motion technique
X represents duplicated frame from previous frame

Simply by inserting ‘fake’ frames. The ‘fake’ frames are basically just duplicated frames of the previous frame hence if you have 15 frames and you add one after every original frame, it will double and you end up with 30 frames.

Hence, when computer software analyses the video properties, it can’t detect the ‘fake’ frames, resulting in an ‘ideal’ result. However, in actual fact, it is only 15 x 2 fps instead of 30fps.

How can I obtain my video frame rate?

You will need video samples from your camera or at least the camera you are planning to buy

If you want to have a general idea of your video’s frame rate, you can easily check using VLC.

However, I have to mention that VLC uses only the total frame rate and has no regard for duplicated frames (mentioned above).

The steps are very simple.

Explorer Pro 4K Codec Details

1. Open VLC.

2. If you are using Windows press [Ctrl-J]. If you’re using Mac, press [Cmd-I].

3. The media information should show up. After that, click on the ‘Codec’ tab.

4.ย The frame rate and resolution will show up!

Duplicated frames

However, the method above is just to check the general frame rate. As I mentioned above, if your video frame rate indicates anything above 30fps but it is still not very smooth, you might have a video with duplicated frames.

Therefore, if you are willing to take an extra step to see the exact frame rate of your video (some might be duplicated), you’d have to download another app which checks for duplicated frames. You can search on google for ways to check duplicated frames.

Action Cams With ‘Fake’ Frame Rates

Most cameras that have fake frame rates are used in 4K modes as the hardware is simply unable to support.

There are many other aspects to look out for when checking if 4k is usable like upscaled 4k, and low frame rate if you want to know more, head over to my other article here!

Anyways, below are the cameras that offer unusable frame rate video in 4K.

  1. Eken H9R
  2. H2 Ultra 4K
  3. X9000 4K
  4. F60 4K
  5. Elephone ELE Explorer
  6. Eken H8R
  7. AT300
  8. S800
  9. Amkov AMK7000S

Another quick rule to follow is also to avoid action cams with these chipsets as they are not able to support smooth 4K recording.

  1. Sunplus 6350 (4k but only 10FPS)
  2. Allwinner V3 (4k but only 15FPS)
  3. NT96660 (24FPS but only 2880ร—2160)

Having said that, I must stress that despite not being able to use 4K, most cameras are still very good in filming full HD footages and pictures.

Summary

I hope you have a learnt a thing or 2 about frame rates and which action cam you should avoid.

If you wish to know anything else or have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop a comment down below! I’ll really appreciate it and reply to you as soon as I can!

Lastly, thanks for dropping by and have a nice day! ๐Ÿ™‚


–> Click here to check out other ‘fake’ popular features in action cams! <–

–> If you want to know more about using slow-motion and time-lapse, check it out here! <–

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3 Comments

  1. Excellent and very thorough information. They say we learn something new every day. I have now learnt more about frames per second!

    You mentioned the action cams but how would the likes of a GoPro compare? Have you tested them too? Are there fake frames in 3D videos?

    Sorry for the questions, just genuinely interested in learning more about this ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Gopro definitely does not have fake frame rates or else their reputation would be immediately tarnished haha!

      I have only tested the session so far but as for the Hero 5 Black, I have yet to test it since there are already so many reviews on them out there and I find very little to no point reviewing and giving my opinions on them, however, if opportunity arises, I’ll be sure to give it a try.

      For 3D videos, I haven’t covered it as it is a very rare sight for 3D action cams, hence, to be honest, I have no idea so sorry I can’t help on that part.

      Hope this helps and have a great day ahead!

  2. Wow, you know, this doesn’t even surprise me. 4K is such a funny thing right now. Everyone claims to have it but makes sacrifices to make it happen. To me, it doesn’t seem like there are many people even interested in 4K. Gamers prefer 60fps at 1080p. Movie buffs are fine with current HD. People who watch online don’t want the long buffering times 4K comes with. So these fake 4K’s, which seems to extend across all media are trying to make those preferences happen unnecessarily. Either you can do 4K while maintaining the high frame rate and smaller file size for loading online, or you don’t do at all in my opinion.

    It seems like 4K is currently limited to the artists. Which is fine, that’s a good place to start. But to the average person, I don’t see its viability and this kind of information really shows that.

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