Frames per second: 24 vs 48
by, 27th Apr 2012 at 02:28 (16596 Views)
It's no secret that I'm not a fan of 24p, in fact I think it's the most glaring deficiency in modern filmmaking techniques. Frankly I find it hard to believe that we've done so much to make films so realistic and immersive in almost every way, yet we're still stuck with the jarring, unnatural flicker-fest that is 24p.
I honestly believe that within a couple of decades we'll look back on 24p with a condescending smile and wonder how audiences ever took it seriously.
Of course not everyone shares my enthusiasm for improved "temporal resolution". The most common argument against 48p or 60p is that it's "too real" (see my previous blog post for more on this and my rebuttal).
In a nutshell, I feel that the "too real" argument is no different now to when it was first used against sound and colour in movies. In any case, if filmmakers really want to lower the technical specs in return for improved artistic quality, they are free to do so (e.g. The Artist, The Elephant Man, etc).
Peter Jackson had a severe reality check after a preview screening of The Hobbit at CinemaCon, when about half the audience reacted negatively to the higher frame rate (48p). Jackson is a big fan of both 3-D and 48p, so it was probably a bit of a shock to see the bad press he's been getting over this screening.
However I maintain that it's all about getting used to it. 24p is very much the "film look" that we're all used to, and it's going to take some adjusting to adapt to a more realistic look. Just as a movie-goers took time to adapt to talkies, movie-goers will need time to adapt to 48p. I believe younger people (especially gamers) will adapt more quickly because they are less institutionalized.
Mark my words. It may take time but eventually some higher frame rate such as 48p or 60p will become the standard and it will appear completely appropriate for a film look. Before you die you'll have come to expect it in every film you watch. Trust me!