High Frame Rates

A preview for The Hobbit was shown in its intended 48fps and reviews were mixed-to-nauseous. Duh

As someone with 20/10 eyes that can see CRTs blink (trust me, this is not a super power), video higher than 24fps looks bad. The reason is the same reason King Kong looks so much worse than the CG in Jurassic Park: Motion Blur. Our eyes are used to it. Go twirl some LEDs around in a dark room and you’ll see what I mean. You only need to rotate the light a few times a second for your brain to see the “Circle” of light rather in a series of points.

Before CGI, ILM used Go Motion to motion blur their stop-motion models. Shooting material in 30,48,60 fps effectively turns real life footage into disorienting stop motion.

King Kong looks bad compared to Jurassic Park because the CG models are too “focused”. It almost looks like the effects were applied the Final Cut Pro 3’s motion blur checkbox which “simply” (it’s actually a complex process) interpolates and bleeds frames rather than being generated by the rendering software. Or, if it is by the software, the dials are too far to the left.

I wonder if 48fps footage with a 1/24s exposure would “look right”. Of course, this is technically impossible for a camera (but not CG).

To me, using higher frame rates and 3D are just a pissing contest. Frame size matters a lot more, where we’re starting to push the limits of a 24bit pallet, but that’s another discussion.