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Why 29.97fps or 23.976fps?

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Paul Roper
Why 29.97fps or 23.976fps?
on Oct 11, 2012 at 2:49:31 pm

Hello,

Having lived in the UK most of my life, I have always edited at a frame rate of 25fps for broadcast. When I worked in America, I had to deal with the ridiculous 29.97 and 23.976 frame rates. I understand that these were necessary because sixty or so years ago when colour TV was invented, most people had black & white TVs and the signal needed to be slowed down etc. etc.

So my question is, why do these ludicrous frame rates and all that clumsy drop-frame rubbish still exist? Are there about three people in the US who still watch analogue broadcasts on their black & white TVs and we don't want to upset them? Surely there's another reason. Wasn't the introduction of HD the perfect opportunity to move everything to proper frame rates?

Thanks,

Paul


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John Heagy
Re: Why 29.97fps or 23.976fps?
on Oct 12, 2012 at 2:51:27 am

As long as SD (analog or digital) simulcasts are derived from HD, 29.97 will be necessary. One can't broadcast SD in 30.00fps.


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Ann Clark
Re: Why 29.97fps or 23.976fps?
on Oct 15, 2012 at 6:51:54 pm

I suppose one editor's perfectly normal is another editor's perfectly ridiculous. ;-)

29.97 ain't so bad. The only problem might be if you're not shooting and editing in a US standard format. Still, with Final Cut, I've been able to combine different frame rates by converting the various clips, so really, it's just a matter of adapting to what you need to do.

Keep in mind that the number of large and small broadcasters, cable casters and satellite providers all across the US actually vastly outnumber those in your native Britain. Each one would be required to change a huge amount of expensive hardware. When you think about it, that's a lot of 29.97 hardware on the planet. Most networks would be hard pressed to reconfigure from the ground up, just to lose some frames. And that doesn't even take into consideration all the US TV sets that expect a 29.97 signal.

The broadcasting world has been turned upside down with the hundred or more HD formats available now. The fact that 29.97 has remained a constant in this format maelstrom is actually a plus for many producers.

If you're finding 29.97 vexing, consider a tutorial or two on the subject. You might just grow to hate it not quite so much. (Seriously, it's easy to work with once you get everything set up.)

Best of luck with your video ventures!

MacPro 2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 14GB memory - OSX10.6.8 FCP7


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Paul Roper
Re: Why 29.97fps or 23.976fps?
on Oct 23, 2012 at 7:44:57 pm

Thanks for that!

It's not so much that I find it vexing, I was just mystified why it still exists in this era of HD. But you've answered my questions, so thanks!

- Paul


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