FORUMS: list search recent posts

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

COW Forums : Cinematography

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Vic Noseworthy
Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 17, 2012 at 12:34:55 am

Hi cinema folks,
I've always wondered why 24 fps is purported to be the only way to create a true, cinematic feel in filmmaking. I understand that it evolved that way, for whatever reason; but why is it that, today, we are told that 24 fps is the "gold standard" we should strive for?
I mean, let's say I make a "film" with a good quality video camera at 30 fps, I use professional camera techniques, shallow depth-of-field (as deemed appropriate), professional lighting, and a great script... would the average end-viewer really sense the difference in frame rate? Especially given that we've all grown up accustomed to 30 fps TV shows. Wouldn't I be better off concentrating on the many other aspects of storytelling, and not worry so much about this single, technical aspect?
I only ask this because I hear about the "need" for 24 fps so often whenever the subject of "filmmaking" comes up. That, and the fact that my camera doesn't shoot at 24 fps.
Any thoughts (or side-by-side online examples!) would surely be appreciated.
Thanks very much.
Vic


Return to posts index

Rick Wise
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 17, 2012 at 1:10:31 am

Indeed, the holy grail has been for a long time that 24 frames is more filmic than 30 frames. I am of the heretical view that such is not so. There is only one time when it's really important to shoot 24p: when the video is going to be transferred to film for theatrical distribution. Transferring 24 to 24 works way better than 30 to 24.

The look of 24p video is not the look of 24-frame film. Some of us think that actually 30P looks more like 24-frame film than 24p. The reason: 24p video introduces some artifacts that film does not.

You will also find that pans and tilts will look smoother shot 30p than 24p.

So fear not. You are not alone in the world. Go for your 30p and make great movies! (Just don't plan on them become actual film to be shown in theaters.)

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


Return to posts index

Vic Noseworthy
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 17, 2012 at 2:23:44 am

Awesome, Rick! I didn't expect that answer, but I'm glad to hear it. My camera doesn't do 24p (not true 24p, at least!) and I use FCE4, which also cannot handle 24p. I felt it was inane to "upgrade" when I, personally, didn't perceive the frame rate difference. It's great to know that others feel the same way.
Thanks very much for your words of encouragement!
Vic


Return to posts index


Rick Wise
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 17, 2012 at 3:19:29 am

Remember, this is the view of a heretic. Once upon a time they burned us at the stake.

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


Return to posts index

Todd Terry
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 17, 2012 at 3:49:45 am

....gathering firewood now....

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



Return to posts index

Vic Noseworthy
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 17, 2012 at 3:55:24 am

Heretic? Or, open-minded, free-thinking trail-blazer?
I'm thinking you're the latter. ;^)
Thanks Rick.


Return to posts index


Mark D'Agostino
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 17, 2012 at 2:09:52 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with Rick. In fact so do a lot of very high end cinematic directors. Check out this article: http://news.yahoo.com/effects-whiz-douglas-trumbull-frame-223805459.html. Just to hedge my bet though I do have one of those quick firestarter logs if you need it Todd.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


Return to posts index

Todd Terry
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 17, 2012 at 4:11:55 pm

Maybe I'm just an old fart, but I'm a diehard 24p guy. My eyeballs can definitely and instantly tell the difference in 24p and 30p. To my eyes, 24p looks more cinematic, and 30p definitely looks more "video-y." Not nearly as much as 60i, of course, but it's still not as filmic looking to me as 24p.

We shoot and produce almost everything in 24p. Since the bulk of our work is broadcast commercials, we have to convert the projects from 1080p to 1080i or NTSC for airing, but that's the very last step we do. Still, it is another hoop to jump through.

There was a trend in the late 70s early 80s era when some network television shows (I remember specifically that "Dallas" was one of them) would shoot their film productions at 30fps, so they could get a direct 1-to-1 frame transfer ratio to video. It was to make for cleaner editing, since 24p video didn't exist then, and editors had to constantly worry about maintaining the exact 3:2 frames/fields pulldown ratio across edits...which was tedious. I never thought that process looked as good as 24fps shooting though.

But... I'll admit that Rick is right as usual... most people can't readily tell the difference. Not having a 24p camera shouldn't affect your project... it's just a tool that you can work around. Shoot it at 30p and don't worry much about it. Until you buy your next camera. :)

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



Return to posts index

john sharaf
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 17, 2012 at 4:01:23 pm

Hi Vic,

Needless to say, this topic has been discussed before here and a thorough search of the archives will reveal many threads on topic, but I'll try to review the subject for you.

When the cinema made the transition from silent to sound the frame rate changed from 16fps to 24fps in order for the audio to have sufficient quality in playback. As a result movie audiences for almost a hundred years now have become accustomed to the motion and temporal quality of film projected at this rate in the cinema.

When George Lucas asked Sony to build a video camera that he could use for a Star Wars film, he specified 24fps because he knew that "filming out" and the common 60i video format would create all kinds of motion blur and artifacts. Thus began the adaptation of video to film, which has (now) ultimately been called "Digital Cinema".

There have been other attempts to try different frame rates, notably Dalton Trumble's "Showscan" which I actually had the please to see in a theater in Westwood Village maybe 30 years ago. the simple truth is that it looked like bigger than life television (60p).

There is quite a movement afoot now to shoot 3D at 48 fps in an attempt to keep the accustomed motion but increase the brightness that the 3D takes away.

When you say TV shows have been shot at 30p you're not really correct. If they had been originated on film (like many have)it was always shot at 24fps and transferred to video using a 3:2 pulldown, maintaining much of the filmic look (yet creating it's own particular motion effect). If originated in video (until recently) it would have been 60i (which is technically 29.97fps with each frame made up of two fields which split the 1/30th of a second. Some news and documentaries shot only for TV distribution often use 30p, such as 60 Minutes and 20/20. They do so to distinguish their "look" from that of the live news programs on their same network.

At the end of the day, shoot frame rates you have, knowing the purpose of each rate and intelligently choosing one that's most appropriate for both your topic and exhibition scheme. But know that if you aspire to show your "film" in a cinema by projection on film you almost have to go 24p (really 23.97 if with sound).

JS



Return to posts index


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


Return to posts index

Ken Maxwell
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 19, 2012 at 5:54:59 pm

Mark - Hear, hear!!

Now if we could just get some people to say "shooting video" rather than "filming video" it would be a better world.


Return to posts index

Richard Herd
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 22, 2012 at 7:04:01 pm

sync sound is the magic answer. 24fps matches our lips to the sound we make when we speak.

Here's a great article: http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/the-truth-about-2k-4k-the-future-of...

Here's a quote from it: "John Galt: I don't like the frame rate. I saw Gorillas in the Mist and the gorilla were flying across the forest floor. Every frame they seemed to travel like 3 feet. [laughs]. It's really annoying. I mean I loved Showscan: 70mm running at 60 fps. In terms of a sense of reality, I think it was far superior to IMAX.

That's why I subscribe to Jim Cameron's argument, which is we would get much better image quality by doubling the frame rate than by adding more pixel resolution.

To many cinematographers, this is sacrilege. You often hear cinematographers saying, there's something special about movies at 24 frames per second. This may be true, but I'll tell you one of the problems of 24 fps, it’s the reason we watch such a dim picture on a movie screen, because if you pump up the screen brightness, you would notice the flicker from the 24 fps motion capture."


Return to posts index


Todd Terry
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 22, 2012 at 7:29:39 pm

[Richard Herd] " we would get much better image quality by doubling the frame rate than by adding more pixel resolution."

It depends on what you mean by "better" image quality.

If your goal is a more realistic live "instant" video look... then yes, by all means... the higher the frame rate the better.

But aesthetically, that's not always a good thing. The "look" of 24fps of film has a "distancing" quality that slightly removes the viewer from the scene, whereas high frame rates put the viewer more into it. You'd think that putting the viewer into that scene would be a good thing... but it isn't always. Or mostly.

Sometimes you want to watch a play from the audience. Yeah, maybe sometimes you'd rather sit right there on the couch on stage with the actors... but not usually. Often the best seat in the house isn't the front row. 60i is "instant front row."

Watch a big-budget Hollywood feature on one of those gawd-awful monitors with the high refresh rates and pixel interpolation that do you the "favor" of re-creating and inserting the "missing" pixels. Then suddenly a $100M motion picture looks like a home movie. Not always a good thing (those TV sets are great for sports, but not for movies). I remember seeing a remastered version of "Star Wars" and the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" on my in-laws' TV (he's a sports nut, so of course he had one of those), and the movies just looked horrible. Very instant. Very video-y. Previously good performances looked weak... previously marginal ones were suddenly a cheese fest.

24p (and 30p to a slightly lesser degree) does add an inherent and somewhat undefinable quality of drama... and it also can often improve the perception of the quality of an actor's performance. I've shot many scenes where you might think the acting performance was maybe slighter poorer than it should be, if you were watching it live... whereas shot cinematically at 24p it looks just fine. Soap opera actors get a bad rap for not being very good at their "craft"... but many of them are quite good. It's just that we are used to seeing them work at 60i, where everything is so hyper-real that it's easy to spot the nuances that keep "acting" from just "being." 24fps, whether it be for video or real film, often erases those nuances.

24p can also make audio work easier by leaps and bounds. Motion pictures and 24fps TV shows are often filled with audio lifts (image from one take, sound from another) and looped lines that work perfectly... whereas they would stand out like a sore thumb at a high frame rate.

There seem to be so many people suddenly hatin' on 24p in this thread that I felt the need to play devil's advocate. I'm a big 24p fan, and shoot almost everything that way.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



Return to posts index

Richard Herd
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 22, 2012 at 11:20:49 pm

Just to be clear, those were not my quotes. Those were from John Galt and James Cameron.

Here's some other great information: http://www.freshdv.com/2008/05/demystifying-digital-camera-specs.html


Return to posts index

Vic Noseworthy
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Feb 23, 2012 at 3:29:00 am

Thanks to all of you for those posts! It certainly has shed some light on the subject for me. Obviously, it's up to the individual to decide what's acceptable. It's nice to know that there's really no "wrong" answer; only interpretations. Ultimately, it seems, what really matters is the message, and how one decides to communicate that message... with some understanding of what the limitations of the various technologies employed are. In other words, do you best with what you've got. Your posts have made me feel that I'm not as in the dark as I thought I was. So, thanks very much!


Return to posts index


Oscar Rivera
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Jun 8, 2016 at 4:18:59 pm

I know this thread is really old but thought it was really interesting that I sould put my two cents

This is just my opinion and a personal belief
But I believe that 24fps has a more cinematic feel for several reasons that I came to think over time:

First one and the very basic is that when they started determining the frame speed in the old film era, is because they came to the conclusion that the best approach of moving pictures that is the closest to real life speed and pace was 24 filmed images per second and I think it stayed like that for as long as the industry kept when they were shooting film, I think that we became very accustomed to link the idea of cinema with a 24fps feel, another reason that I believe that was the choice is because it is really close to what the human eye/brain perceives reality with its vision. When we see rapid movement of things we perceive it with some strobe effect to it, and 24fps can achieve that, whereas with 30 fps is more smooth because the images are being received by an electronic camera which processes light and motion in a very artificial way which the human eye cant perceive naturally. Another reason is aesthetics, it's kind of like the question of what assets can make something look cheap or classy by style, in this case, our brains and our eyes are used to the fact that whenever there has been a "good movie" and a "well produced" or acclaimed movie, it has that 24fps characteristic attached to it, whereas we are also used to seeing cheap , bad quality works usually shot for TV with a lesser than perfect quality that has been shot generally in 30fps so our brains immediately relate the cheap factor to 30fps and associate class to a 24fps production. Just like anything in the visual arts realm, it is a matter of perception and what people have accepted over time.


Return to posts index

Aaron Star
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Jun 9, 2016 at 4:11:13 am

I think 60p is the new 24. You have an entire generations of gamer types that see 60p+ as the way to view action in video, and the rest will just follow like lemmings.


Return to posts index

Ali Quintana
Re: Why is 24 fps the "be-all, end-all" frame rate at which stories should be told? Why not 30 fps?
on Jun 10, 2016 at 11:40:43 pm

if the question is what is better then there is a big discussion because people have different perceptions of BETTER.

But if you want to know what looks more like film then its 24p, because most films in the cinema theaters are shot like that, now if you want to have that same feel (with all its short comings).

and if you use the same conversion technique (as a 24p feature movie does) to convert to NTSC your frame feel will be close to the cinema movie shown on TV.

So its in my opinion not what is the best for TV, or which has more flaws, if u want to have the same look as the feature movie it makes sense to me to film at the same frame rate and use the same conversion technique.

By the way, this is just my humble opinion, please don't burn me.....


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]