Saturday, April 28, 2012

48fps Will NEVER Look Good

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit is coming for a holiday release, and early previews of the semi-completed film are garnering quite a bit of WTF.

The complaints are coming because of the 48fps process as opposed to the 24fps that is usually used for films.

This is apparently being done because the film is being produced in full 3D straight from the camera, which as far as I know, only a few movies thus far have been done this way. They claim that 3D with 24fps causes issues for many people.

I think that this just goes to show that 3D is total crap, but I digress. There is a good reason why 24fps was chosen for cinema and why it looks more "real" than higher fps film: it blurs like human vision.

Most film is recorded at 24fps with a 1/48th second exposure of each frame, and then 1/48th second of black shutter. Sometimes, they will shoot with faster exposures, creating a hard, defined, and edgy look. You'll see this sort of effect in scenes intended to give a starkly dramatic look, like the beach landing scene at the beginning of Saving Private Ryan.

Human vision blurs the world as it moves around us. 24fps, or more precisely a 1/48th second exposure, does a very good job of capturing that blur on film. Without it, things appear hard and lifeless, because life exists between the frames, not on them.


  1. Yeah...that's pretty much how I feel, too. Just trying to get a film look has taken a lot of funds and very much lighting knowledge and work. Now, the big guys want to tell us that cheap looking, high gloss, 48fps or more is the way to go. I wish I had all my time and money back.

  2. I don't think that you have any worries. I seriously doubt uptake of this will happen. I have friends in the electronics and engineering world, and those interpolation features on televisions that "upgrade" frame rates to 120fps are the single most complained-about element of modern TV's. It's not even close. No other element of modern TV's generates as many calls to customer service.


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