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The Hobbit Goes 48p. Does This Change Everything? I Hope Not.

This is a response to an article at Studio Daily Blog.

For the last 30 years I have been interested in getting the “Film Look” with video. Ten years ago it was a revolution to have a video camera do 24p, the DVX-100. We have wanted 24p for a long time. Now you are about to throw it our the window. Do I want my media productions to look like soap operas? Yuck! When I saw “Avatar” on a 260 htz set it looked like a soap opera. The motion was wrong. I purposely use a data projector to watch movies at home so there will be no post processing.

There is a reason motion pictures have standardize on 24p, it looks right to the human eye. When I watch a film, I want to be lifted out to reality into a good story. I don’t want to see reality, I want to escape to the movies. I first saw Doug Trumbell’s Showscan at Showwest before it was released to the public. It was truly amazing. I then called it “Live Film”. It looked like real life. I thought the person on the screen was there. But it proved to not work well for long form dramatic films. It did work great for theme park rides where you want to simulate reality. Even IMAX uses 24p for it frame rate. There is something pleasing about watching a good film. Don’t through the baby with the bathwater.

Don’t get me started about the silliness of 3D and how it takes you out of the film experience.

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2 Responses to The Hobbit Goes 48p. Does This Change Everything? I Hope Not.

  1. Sam Longoria says:

    Well, the point is not to simulate reality, but to stimulate the brain, so IT simulates reality. The original Edison motion tests tried many frame and flash rates. They settled on 24fps for sound films, because it puts the audience into a light trance.

    Interrupting each of those frames with a shutter yields 48 flashes per second, which is the minimum flash rate that doesn’t seem to “flicker.” Many other rates were tried, but 24fps of “picture changes” and 48fps of “flashing,” is best for storytelling.

    I worked at ShowScan and Boss Film, and built 65mm cameras and printers, and owned some theatres, so I’ve seen all kinds of frame rates.

    ShowScan’s 60fps (2.5 x standard rate) is great to watch, it’s like looking out a window. BUT…it’s tiring after a while. It takes your mind off the story, and pulls you out of the movie.

    That’s why ShowScan films were mostly short subjects, following some sort of action. That’s what they told me, anyway.

    Sam Longoria

  2. Roen Davis says:

    Well this is an old argument. I have always hated the movement portrayed by 24/25p. I used to hate it when the young film school graduates came in and wanted to strip off every other field to give it a “filmic” quality when all I could see was movement resolution reduced by 50% – particularly annoying on motion graphics but even the throw of a ball becomes a staggery monster. Then I read a post somewhere by an American post guy who said: when you get those kids out of film school who want to ditch the fields to achieve a film asthetic tell them it was not an asthetic it was an economic – they could have used any framerate they wanted but 24 fps was the slowest they could go without making people sick – thus saving on that expensive celluloid stuff – it’s not an asthetic its an ECONOMIC. Bring on 50P!