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Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action

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Jon ShankMad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 13, 2016 at 10:33:02 am

I figured I'd ask this here as well as it could be an editing question even more than a cinematography one.

On mad max I found this quote:
Something like 50 or 60 percent of the film is not running at 24 frames a second, which is the traditional frame rate," said Seale. "It'll be running below 24 frames because George, if he couldn't understand what was happening in the shot, he slowed it down until you could. Or if it was too well understood, he'd shorten it or he'd speed it up back towards 24. His manipulation of every shot in that movie is intense."


So, it says he decided in post to either slow or speed the frame rate.

What frame rate do you think they shot in to be able to have the option to do both?

I've like scoured the Internet and can't find any consistent opinions on this.

I've shot some test footage at 24fps and interpreted it to like 26-33 and get the nice sped up choppy effect. But if I decided I wanted to instead slow the action and still export it at 24 it wouldn't be smooth slow motion cause the clip only had 24 frames per second to work with.

So here is where I'm confused. If I wanted the option to slow down OR speed up could I just shoot the entire thing in 60 or higher?

1. Would I be able to interpret it at like 70fps to get the choppy motion in a 24p sequence or would it not look the same as native 24?
2. Would the 60 fps footage I didn't alter the speed on look bad because of premiere frame dropping to get it to 24fps?


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Tero AhlforsRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 13, 2016 at 3:00:19 pm

[Jon Shank] "What frame rate do you think they shot in to be able to have the option to do both?"

You don't shoot for both. If you have a super cool slowmo shot that is planned in advance and shot with gear that will enable that.


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Jon ShankRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 13, 2016 at 3:09:21 pm

But it says he decided in post... Not during shooting


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Tero AhlforsRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 13, 2016 at 4:44:36 pm

If you are shooting high speed footage it will be played back at the frame rate needed. If you need a slowmo shot at 240 fps then you shoot that at the required frame rate and run it at 24 so it will be ten times slower. Because it has all the frames it needs for slow motion it'll be smooth.

One doesn't shoot a whole movie at high speed. That would require insane amount of data and a very patient post house.


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Tero AhlforsRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 13, 2016 at 4:47:10 pm

Here's a 2 hour talk about the shooting process:


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Dave LaRondeOh, And One More Thing -- Slo-Mo
by on Aug 13, 2016 at 5:02:45 pm

You'll need a different camera to shoot the slo-mo. One that can do 120 fps at least. You want slower motion? Get a camera that shoots at a higher frame rate.

Hey, you can't have your cake and eat it too when you're working on a shoestring budget, okay? You just got a tutorial on a good, CHEAP way to mix frame rates. Slo-mo is a no-go using this method without a high-frame-rate camera.

And I bet those Mad Max guys had the budget for all the high-frame-rate cameras they wanted.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Dave LaRondeRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 13, 2016 at 4:48:41 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Aug 13, 2016 at 5:21:49 pm

Let me take a wild guess: you don't have the budget of those Mad Max guys. I'll guess you have one, perhaps two cameras and Adobe Creative cloud. But you want to try this stuff out. I know hos to do if for cheap, but you've got to follow the rules outlined below.

First rule: you have shoot at 59.94 fps, aka 60P. If that neans you shoot at 1280x720, so be it. This is about frame rates, NOT resolution. And now, the rest of the rules...

If I wanted to fart around with frame rates, I'd shoot at the rate that would give me the most options for easy conversion. To me, that's 59.94.

Huh? How does THAT work?

Well, it's what most cameras on the planet CAN shoot. Very few shoot at 60 fps... but 59.94's close enough for this discussion. So let's temporarily think in terms of 60, okay? Here we go:

Think of all the ways 60 is divisible, yielding an integer result: 2, 3 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20 and 30. That's a lot of ways to get an easily-altered frame rate but still have consistent motion. Not always SMOOTH motion, but consistent motion -- a big plus.

You also get a couple of bonus frame rates! 24 (thanks to the common practice of 3:2 pulldown) and its double, 48 fps.

Here's the trick to getting all these frame rates to play nicely together -- you have to PLAY them at 60fps. You want a shot at 15 fps? You shoot at 60. You use something like After Effects to make it 15 fps, meaning every 4th frame of the 60 fps footage will be seen. Then you render and put the shot into a 60 fps edit timeline.

By following this process, you can have a 12 fps clip followed by one at 20, 24, 10, 30 and 5, if you wish.

Is this dead simple to do? NO! IT'S NOT! YOU HAVE TO THINK AHEAD ABOUT YOUR FRAME RATE CONVERSIONS!

But, as you pointed out, this Mad Max editor did it all in post... and this is the cheapest, easiest, most flexible way to do it in post.

Now it's time to stop thinking in terms of 60 fps and start thinking in terms of the REAL frame rate, 59.94 fps. How would arrive at the real frame rate for 15 fps? Well, 60/4=15, right? Likewise, 59.94/4=the real frame rate. You can do the arithmetic.

Now, about those bonus frame rates mentioned above, 24 & 48. I'll save you some head scratching. The real rate for 24 is 23.976 and the real frame rate for 48 is 23.976*2..I'm not going to do the arithmtic in my head. You can do it.

Okay, well, that's how it's done -- shoot at 59.94, use AE for easy frame rate conversion, then edit AND export at 59.94.

Class dismissed.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Jon ShankRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 13, 2016 at 5:53:12 pm

I have a camera that shoots at 120 and I know how slow motion works.

I also know the actual frame rates it's just MUCH quicker to use the simplified number as most cameras do in their menus. Strictly for practical typing purposes lol.

Now say I had 60fps

I just found this equation ehich would allow me to export at 23.976 instead of 60 to keep a cinematic look.

X = Frame Rate you shot at
Y = Desired frame rate look
Z = Speed multiplier.

First I would interpret my 59.94 to 23.976.

Now say I wanted it to be mad maxy and look like it was shot in 21fps for that quick Strobey effect.

X= 59.94
Z=21
Solve for Y.

If I take my conformed footage and multiply the speed by 285% (59.94 divided by 21) it should have that under cranked look right?

I'm gonna test this later today.


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Jon ShankRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 13, 2016 at 5:58:16 pm

If I did export at 60 like you said and wanted to do the frame rate conversion in AE how would you do that? Say 15 like in your example. Would I just speed it up 4 times in AE, render it, then put it back in the 60 timeline.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 14, 2016 at 1:40:00 am

Dude, if you can tell the difference between 21 fps (tough to do well) and 20 fps (easy to do well in a 60 timeline), you are a better man than I am. Go knock yourself on 21; I ain't playin'.

Here's how to make 15 fps footage out of 60 fps footage:

· Shoot video at 59.94
· Import into AE
· Make a comp with the frame rate of 59.94/4; AE will do the arithmetic for you
· Add the 59.94 footage to the comp
· Trim the comp to the length of the clip
· Render in the media container & codec of your choice

That's it. Pretty easy. That's why it's good to know AE.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Jon ShankRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 14, 2016 at 2:21:08 am

Oh nice, thank you!!


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Andrew KimeryRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 14, 2016 at 6:36:28 am

[Jon Shank] "Now say I wanted it to be mad maxy and look like it was shot in 21fps for that quick Strobey effect."

The shutter angle also plays a big part in getting that strobe look since you can use the shutter to increase/decrease motion blur, and 24fps is such a low frame rate that w/o enough blur the motion will look very choppy.

[Dave LaRonde] "Here's how to make 15 fps footage out of 60 fps footage:..."

How does that method compare to using the Interpret Footage setting in PPro (which allows you to tell PPro what frame rate to play the footage back at)?


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Dave LaRondeRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 14, 2016 at 7:28:07 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Aug 15, 2016 at 1:54:28 pm

Here's how it compares:

If you use AE's interpret footage settings, and you type in a new frame rate, you CONFORM footage. You change the frame rate by altering the time that each and every frame is displayed. Thus, 59.94 footage whose frame rate is changed to 59.94/4 will be 4 times slower than it was.

However, if 59.94 footage is put into an AE comp whose frame rate is defined as 59.94/4, you are not altering time. You are not changing the speed of the motion of the footage. You simply alter how many frames are displayed every second. The motion will be jerkier, but it will be real-time.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Andrew KimeryRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 16, 2016 at 1:51:37 am

[Dave LaRonde] "
If you use AE's interpret footage settings, and you type in a new frame rate, you CONFORM footage."


Ah, right. I got my wires crossed reading the post.


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Alan OkeyRe: Mad Max Fury Road: Smooth Slowmo and Strobey Fast Action
by on Aug 15, 2016 at 4:50:26 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "is such a low frame rate that w/o enough blur the motion will look very choppy."

Bingo. Shutter angle has a HUGE effect on the perceived choppiness of a scene. Some famous examples include the beach scene in Saving Private Ryan and some of the action scenes in Spike Lee's Inside Man. Both shot at 24fps, but with a very tight shutter.


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