Thursday, December 06, 2012

Doubling the frames...

'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey': How Is 48 Frames Per Second?, article.

Peter Jackson, 'The Hobbit' Director, On The 48 FPS Debate: 'If You Hate It, You Hate It', interview.

Technology keeps surprising me. I had the impression that 24 frames per second was pretty much what our eyes could distinguish. And here, a century after the invention of motion pictures, they suddenly come and tell us that 48 frames per second can be done, and lo, it's a radically different experience! So different that some people actually hate it, and the experience is taking the debate away from talk of the actual content of the movie shown. Wow.

my experience with 48 frames ‑‑ and I've seen hours and hours and hours of it, obviously ‑‑ is that it's something that becomes a real joy to watch, but it takes you a while... it's like watching a movie where the flicker and the strobing and the motion blur what we've been used to seeing all of our lives -- I mean, all our lives in the cinema -- suddenly that just disappears. It goes. And you've got this incredibly vivid, realistic looking image. And you've got sharpness because there's no motion blur, so everything is much sharper. And plus we're shooting with cameras that are 5K cameras, so they're super sharp. [...]

But the disappointing thing with CinemaCon is that no one talked about the footage. The first time we ever screened "The Hobbit," all the stories were the 48 frames stories. And then the negative guys, the guys that say this doesn't look like film -- the guys who are in love with the technology of 1927 -- are sort of sitting there saying, "But it doesn't look like cinema. This is not what we're used to seeing in the films."

A commenter who has not yet seen the film says that "real life has motion blur". This is a dumb thing to say. It does not. Motion blur is an artefact created by slow shutter speeds in cameras (the shutter smearing one fiftieth of a second worth of motion into one frame), it does not exist in life.

I'll be interested to see such movies in the future. Actually, watching blu-ray movies recently, I have noticed that even with the sharpest picture, as soon as the camera starts panning (either in live action or animation), it breaks up, it gets bad to watch. I would bet that doubling the frame rate will have a very positive influence on this.


ttl said...

This is an interesting subject, and the effect is indeed drastic.

Personally, from what little I've seen it, I do not find 48 fps pleasant to watch. It will be interesting too see if there will be adjustment over time.

My hypothesis, though, is that it's not the increase (from 24 fps) per se that's the problem, but something specifically about 48 fps that does not gel well with our brain functions. Perhaps, if it was 96 or 192 the problem would go away?

Of course, it's worth noting that we've been watching 50 Hz flicker in Edison bulbs all our life (or 60 Hz if you live in the land stolen from Indians), so it shouldn't be much different. But who knows ...

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Yes, there seems to be agreement from both sides that it does take some time to get used to, at the very least.

Bruce said...

"... watching blu-ray movies recently, I have noticed that even with the sharpest picture, as soon as the camera starts panning (either in live action or animation), it breaks up, it gets bad to watch."

You might want to try turning the sharpness down on your TV. It may help a bit with the breakup. I think it's one of those things like saturation and contrast that gets turned up too high by default from the factory because it looks good on the showroom floor.

It will be interesting to see how 48 fps looks. A lot of digital video these days is shot at 30 fps, and it is different than 24.

I agree that watching 48 fps with 50 and 60 Hz lights on in the room could be troubling to the brain.

I say if 60 Hz was good enough for Nikola Tesla, then we should use 60fps as the standard!

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thanks. I will have a look. I have fiddled a lot with the settings, contrast and brightness and such, but I don't recall touching sharpness.