What are Still Frames in Film & How are Freeze Frames Used

What are Still Frames in Film & How are Freeze Frames Used?

Still frames in film or the freeze-frame represents a single frame shot technique. It can be used to create emphasis or suspense within a scene. Throughout the film industry, in video production and in animation. A frame represents a single still image that is one of many which make up a moving picture. Understanding still frames in film and how each image impacts the final picture is important, just as it is important to understand the freeze-frame technique and how it works in motion film production.

What are Still Frames in Film?

Also referred to as freeze-frames. Still frames in film represent a special technique. In which a single frame of a motion picture is suddenly stopped. So that it appears like a photograph on the screen and creates a sense of suspense or emphasis within the scene.

The single, static image captured from a film or video that is made up of 24+ fps (frames per second). It is frequently included in the end of a film so that the audience wonders what happens next.

Multiple Applications

The term still frames can be used in film under a variety of circumstances. Depending on the unique situation of the scene or the film environment.

For example, you might hear a reference to still frames in film. That is directly referring to the number of individual frames which are captured to make up a motion picture film.

This represents 24 or more frames per second (fps) depending on the frame rate of the system. Most systems, including American high-definition video production, capture 24fps although broadcast standard is 30fps.

Context Clues

There is also the use of the term still frames in film which may be used in the context of a technique. As was discussed above. In which a single frame is shown like a picture or photograph from a movie.

Such that it captured the audience’s attention. It creates a sense of suspense or otherwise emphasizes that particular moment of the scene.

In this case, still frames in film are often referred to as freeze-frames and may be used for a variety of purposes.

Using Freeze Frames in Film

The use of still frames in film or the freeze-frame is a technique. It involves freezing an image at just the right time in order to create a valuable impact on the audience.

In this instance, still frames in film may be used for any of the following:

  • To add value to a title card.
  • As a transitional device to introduce a new character.
  • For comedic effect.
  • As an ending that creates a lasting, and memorable, impression on the audience.
  • To show gruesome details.
  • Presenting a particular opportunity or to otherwise highlight a scene.
  • To create a sense of uncertainty or ambiguity among the audience.

Openings and Endings

It’s very common for still frames in film to be used in everything from title cards and ending frames to individually defined moments throughout a film.

The use of the freeze-frame technique represents a unique opportunity for the filmmaker to add a dramatic sense of focus and finality to a particular scene element.

And while still frames represent only a single frame out of thousands or even tens of thousands of frames that makeup a full feature film.

The simple effect of showing a freeze-frame that holds the image on the screen even for just a few seconds longer can be incredibly powerful.

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