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Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?

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Mark SuszkoRe: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
by on Feb 17, 2012 at 5:11:34 pm

I too side with the heretics.

What we're doing in the chase after 24p is the same thing as the old joke about the beefy roast.

( The joke goes, everybody loves Mom's version of the beef roast, she has this way of preparing it where she cuts off the end when cooking it. One day, someone at the table asks why she does it that way. She says she learned it copying from her mom. They ask grandma why she always cut off the end of the meat. She replies: "Because we were poor and I couldn't afford a bigger pan to hold the whole thing!" )

24 frames was the slowest frame rate that still worked well with persistence of vision and could record an optical audio track. The studios wanted the slowest frame rate practical because film stock was expensive so they wanted to shoot as little of it as possible. It had zero to do with art or aesthetics.


What the majority of people (who watch MUCH more TV than film) are used to seeing now after 4-5 decades is 24-frame film with pulldown effects appled as it was projected thru a film chain and into a TV camera for broadcast. This added all kinds of temporal artifacting, which looked different from straight live video, and for decades the viewing audience had no alternative and so we created an "aesthetic" around it. One so strong, Doug Trumbull couldn't break it, when he proposed his superior high frame rate system long ago.

It's not about the screen proportions, which have changed over time. It's not about film grain. It's a *little bit* about depth of field and dynamic lattitude. But it's mostly that $%#&$%# motion artifacting that people have come to associate with "the film look". Today, I deal with people who point to a 16:9 letterbox on a 4:3 SD screen, showing something with that (redacted) motion artifacting, and they say: "That's high def!".

We're perpetuating the unwanted side effects of an imperfect and primitive technology, because over time we've built this mystique around it. Just like after spending years trying to avoid vignetting in a frame as a technical fault, now 90 percent of what I see on a screen has artificial vignetting APPLIED to it for effect.

We have a huge broiler pan now, but we're still cutting off the tip of the roast and throwing it away.

I can't wait to see the new higher frame rates take over, myself.


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