High frame rate

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In motion picture technology—either film or videohigh frame rate (HFR) refers to higher frame rates than typical prior practice.

The frame rate for motion picture film cameras was typically 24 frames per second with multiple shuttering on each frame to prevent flicker during projection. Television video historically operated at 50 or 60 images per second using interlaced scanning. (A video "frame" is actually two images, hence PAL 25fps looks nothing like film's 24fps.) Frame rates higher than 24 Hz for feature motion pictures and frame rates higher than 30 Hz for other applications is an emerging trend in the 21st century.

History of frame rates in cinema[edit]

In early cinema history, there was no standard frame rate established. Edison's early films were shot at 40 frames per second (fps), while the Lumière Brothers used 16 fps. This had to do with a combination of the use of a hand crank rather than a motor, which created variable frame rates because of the inconsistency of the cranking of the film through the camera. After the introduction of synch sound recording, 24 fps became the industry standard frame rate for capture and projection of motion pictures.[1] 24 fps was chosen because it was the best frame rate for sound clarity – lower frame rates produced sound tracks with too much surface noise.[citation needed]

A few film formats have experimented with frame rates higher than the 24 fps standard. The original 3-strip Cinerama features of the 1950s ran at 26 fps.[2] The first two Todd-AO 70mm features, Oklahoma! (1955) and Around the World in 80 Days (1956) were shot and projected at 30 fps.[3] Douglas Trumbull's 70mm Showscan film format operated at 60 fps.[4]

The IMAX HD (high definition in this case meaning high definition film stock, as 70mm IMAX is the highest resolution motion picture image in the world) film Momentum, presented at Seville Expo '92, was shot and projected at 48 fps.[5] IMAX HD has also been used in ridefilms, including the Disney theme park attraction Soarin' Over California.[6]

The proposed Maxivision 48 format ran 35mm film at 48 fps, but was never commercially deployed.[7]

Digital Cinema Initiatives has published a document outlining recommended practice for high frame rate digital cinema.[8] This document outlines the frame rates and resolutions that can be used in high frame rate digital theatrical presentations with currently available equipment.

Usage in the film industry[edit]

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film series, beginning with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in December 2012, used a shooting and projection frame rate of 48 frames per second, becoming the first feature film with a wide release to do so.[9] The majority of the film's release, however, was converted and projected at 24 fps. In 2013, its sequel, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug followed suit, and the same is expected from the third film in the series, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, to be released in 2014.

RocketJump's Video Game High School was the first web series to use HFR, and the first content shot and edited in a mixed frame rate.[10] The series, which follows the lives of high school students in a world where gamers are revered as pro-athletes, adopted HFR in its second season, using the standard 24 frames per second for real world interactions, and 48 frames per second for "in-game" action sequences. Although the content is available on YouTube and Netflix, it can only be viewed in mixed frame rate using a special player on RocketJump's website.

Other film-makers who intend to use the high frame rate format include James Cameron in his Avatar sequels[11] and Andy Serkis in his adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm.[12] The difference between these films and the historical processes is that they are to be shot digitally rather than on film.

Criticism and concerns[edit]

Criticisms of the format include assertions that the "cinematic look" is lost with the use of high frame rates. Film critics have noted that the much sharper image looks akin to video games, HDTV, live theater or a cheap home movie.[13]

If the use of high frame rates were to become the norm, many cinemas would need to upgrade most of their projection equipment, incurring high costs per screen.,[14][15] albeit most of these costs were already incurred in theatres that have switched to digital projection.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Silent Films: What Was the Right Speed?". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  2. ^ "The Cinerama Wing". Widescreen Museum. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  3. ^ "The Todd-AO / 70mm Wing 1". Widescreen Museum. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  4. ^ "Showscan: The Best 70mm I have ever seen". In70mm.com. 2011-06-26. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  5. ^ St-Pierre, Marc (July 23, 2010). "The NFB and World Fairs, pt. 4: Seville and Expo 92". NFB.ca Blog. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved June 12, 2012. 
  6. ^ "IMAX Corporation – Company History". Fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2010-07-03. 
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (2013-10-30). "After 3D, here is the future of film | Roger Ebert's Journal | Roger Ebert". Blogs.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  8. ^ "High Frame Rates Digital Cinema Recommended Practice". Dcimovies.com. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  9. ^ Carolyn Giardina (November 7, 2012). "Showeast 2012: Major Exhibitors Sign for High Frame-Rate 'Hobbit' Despite Format Challenges". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  10. ^ David Liberman (May 30, 2013). "‘Video Game High School 2′ Will Be First Online Production Using High Frame Rate". Deadline. Retrieved February 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ Carolyn Giardina (March 30, 2011). "James Cameron 'Fully Intends' to Make 'Avatar 2 and 3' at Higher Frame Rates". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  12. ^ Carolyn Giardina (October 19, 2012). "Andy Serkis to Direct Adaptation of 'Animal Farm'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  13. ^ Jesse David Fox (December 14, 2012). "What the Critics Are Saying About The Hobbit's High Frame Rate". Vulture. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Film-Tech Forum: Article on 48fps for Digital Projectors". Film-tech.com. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  15. ^ "48 fps Theater List". HFR Movies. Retrieved 2013-11-04.