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Real-time video

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Real-time video is video footage that is encoded into the output file at the same speed and with the same framerate output by the image sensor during video recording.

This means that real-time video footage played back at 1× speed as indicated in the video player or editing software, the visible actions inside the video footage represent real-time speed.

Although this sounds obvious and is done by default on video cameras in the default video recording mode, the slow motion mode (120fps) of many earlier video cameras and mobile phones (e.g. Samsung flagship phones prior to 2015's Galaxy S6) encode the video slowed down (to a quarter of original speed by default) and do not record audio, which is a menial and technically inferior method of storing such video.


Real-time video is more practical and versatile.

Audio track[edit]

Real-time video at any framerate, whether 30fps or 240fps, is recorded with an audio track.

As such, it can be treated both as normal video with extra smoothness when played back on a high frame-rate monitor or slowed down during playback or inside video editing software to achieve a slow motion effect.

Non-real-time video (also referred to as menial method for slow motion video that is slowed down during encoding, usually to a quarter of real-life speed) usually contains no audio track.

If a menial method slow motion video (or portions of it) was (were) sped up in a video player or editor to match real-life speeds, those would still lack audio.

If audio were recorded for non-real-time video, the encoder would have to decide between downpitching or upsampling the audio.

Video editing[edit]

When video is encoded as real-time video, at any image sensor output framerate, both the length and playback speed of the encoded video file matches the speed of actions in real-life, while video with altered framerates (also known as menial method when referring to slow motion) does not.

Speeds indicated and set for clips when handled inside video editing software match real-life conditions, while speeds and durations indicated for videos recorded with the so-called menial method (e.g. encoded at a quarter speed of real-time) need to be adjusted for with multiplication.

Many mobile phones that encode high framerate videos as real-time video preclude video speed editing software in their gallery application to adjust the speed of desired portions of the video and export it into a separate file.


If video footage at a high frame rate such as 120fps is recorded with slow motion as desired outcome, it being encoded as real-time video does not allow slow motion playback on video players that lack a playback speed setting, and might overwhelm old devices such as a Galaxy S3 Mini.

However, this disadvantage is marginal conpared to the benefits of real-time video.

Example devices[edit]

While pretty much all devices with integrated 30fps/60fps video camera record in real-time, not all devices use real-time video when recording with 100 frames per second or more.

Real-time slow motion[edit]

  • Samsung flagships since Galaxy S6 (2015)
  • Apple iPhoes since 5s
  • LG Mobile flagships since G2

“Menial method” slow motion[edit]

  • Samsung Galaxy:
    • 2012: Note 2
    • 2013: S4, Note 3
    • 2014: S5 and Note 4
  • HTC One M7, M8, M9, 10

See also[edit]

Related navigation boxes: ElectronicsMobile phonesData storageUser experience and user interfaces