James Cameron Wants Game-Like Frame Rates for Film

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James Cameron Wants Game-Like Frame Rates for Film

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The director of Avatar wants movies to abandon the 24 frames per second standard and go up to 60.

Setting the Wabac Machine to the 1920s when talkies - or motion pictures with an audio track - first became popular across America, I found that the standard frame rate of 24 per second was only chosen because it was the cheapest speed to provide adequate sound quality. Now, a decade shy of a century later, the standard still exists even though digital cameras and projectors are in use, often with the audio track coming from a separate medium. James Cameron, who broke standards with his 3D film Avatar, said to a group of his colleagues that it's time to abolish the standard 24 fps to increase a filmmaker's ability to showcase accurate motion and technique in films.

Cameron gave a presentation in Las Vegas for the movie-business convention Cinemacon in which he showed footage at 24 fps compared directly with sequences shot in 48 and 60 fps. He pointed out the strobing and visual artifacts the 24 fps footage revealed and extolled that the higher frame rate would allow "potential to improve showmanship."

The Titanic director pledged that he would fight for this change, and that other directors like Peter Jackson and George Lucas were interested in increasing the frame rate standard. "I'm going to try to be as active as possible - until we figure out what the best answer," Cameron told the attendees. "I hope this opens the door to testing that needs to be done. I'm making the content [shown here] available to anyone who wants to test it."

While most projectors at movie houses around the world are built for the 24 fps standard, Cameron noted that most digital projectors would be able to handle 60 fps without buying new hardware. "The generation two projectors are capable of doing what I show you with a software upgrade," he said.

As a PC gamer, I'm always struggling to get the best frame rate with my games and frequently push 50 to 60 fps. I really notice it when the display drops below 30 fps. To think that movies have been stuck at 24 fps, especially with the digital revolution of cameras and projectors now taking place, is kind of ridiculous.

Detractors might argue that 24 fps looks just fine, and what a director does with it his or her responsibility. I didn't see Cameron's presentation, but I imagine that the difference between the 24 fps and 60 fps was a little like the jump from standard TVs to HD. I didn't think the picture was bad on my old standard TV until I saw what a fancy high definition TV looked like. Now, I can't imagine going back.

Say what you want about Cameron's movies, but the man has a point.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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Definitely has a point. He can count my vote for a higher standard!

Lots of people may consider movies a superior art medium to video games, but I always find it hilarious how movies are doing everything they can to try and crawl out from the shadow of games.

Though I'd love to see what a movie would look like with 60 frames-per-second. It might even make 3D more bearable to look at.

DO IT!

I think this is the best idea he's ever had... and its not even his idea.

Maybe instead we could try for better writing instead of a higher frame-rate?

Nah, that's silly.

He's James Cameron, if he makes another "avatar" at 60fps, the world will follow, even if it IS reluctantly. Stop trying to sell it and just do it.

Would hate to be a rotoscoper in the future, though. ;)

Here, look at this:

Now the comparision in a video game

I think this'll be like the move to colour film. It'll look better, but for many years there will still be movies made at 24 FPS. 30 years after movies change to 60 FPS, there'll be some independents making 24 FPS movies, and a few will be amazing. But the era of 24 FPS from major studios will be over.

Or maybe it'll be like 3D. Everyone calls it the next big thing, but it's just too expensive to film and not worthwhile. I'm not a psychic.

Stammer:
Lots of people may consider movies a superior art medium to video games, but I always find it hilarious how movies are doing everything they can to try and crawl out from the shadow of games.

Though I'd love to see what a movie would look like with 60 frames-per-second. It might even make 3D more bearable to look at.

I believe most Soap Operas are now shot at a higher framerate. If you need an accessible example.

Good initiative!
I hope he gets it done!

3D certainly needs higher frame rates - anything approaching a quick pan or movement strobes something terrible, even in made-for-3D films like Tron. I don't think TV needs to worry any time soon, but maybe even 2D feature films might be able to benefit from the higher quality.

Isn't digital projection's overall resolution and image quality way, way below celluloid's, though? I'm more than happy to be told I'm wrong here, but I understood that to still be true.

I still cannot work out why Maxivision 48 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxivision) was never seriously considered despite serious hype from Roger Ebert. The idea of it is amazing: All the picture quality of celluloid, plus twice the frame rate.

You can trust people like Cameron and Lucas to push for better filmmaking technology...which about all they're good for.

One problem is that people have actually become to used to the inferior framerate that they think a superior one looks "fake", which is just a misinterpretation of their unfamiliarity with it. This is why CG animation (including in games) often simulates lens flare which in reality is only caused by weaknesses in the lens' design; people expect it.

Panning especially can be very noticebale in a Bluray movie at 24FPS. Personally i think because of 100x better motion blur and other factors films have over games that 40FPS is probably where even the sharpest of eyes will never be able to see the difference.

While I've never noticed the huge different between 60 and 24 fps before, I'm starting to notice it now when I play console games for awhile then suddenly switch over to PC games. Anyways, if it doesn't cost anything for movie theaters to upgrade hardware and movie studios can do it, why dont they.

Cameron is just looking for some new type of revolutionary technology to carry his next film so he doesn't have to worry about having any actual merit to his film beyond the camera used.

Meh. It's not really that important. Wouldn't hurt if it isn't more expensive, but if it is expensive, it's a waste of money. If I were to see a 60 FPS movie without knowing beforehand, I would notice for a few seconds that everything seems smoother, then forget about it quickly and watch the movie like before, like if I make such a change in a video game. If 60 FPS movies are introduced in theaters, it will only result in a lot of spoiled people badmouthing any 24 FPS movie, even though they never noticed or cared before.

This idea has been kicked around for awhile and I'm glad finally someone prolific like Cameron's pushing for it. I don't think much of his movies or 3D but this is definitely something I can get behind.

Jim clearly hasn't thought about the budget implications of doing this.

Full frame by frame CGi and rotoscoping now is hideously expensive, doing the same thing for 60fps instead of 24 is a slightly terrifying prospect. I can't see budgets expanding at a geometric rate to match the increase in labour time.

That's all well and good until you try to pack too many actors into a scene and watch the movie start chugging around 12 FPS.

Well...the human eye can see about 13 distinct frames per second...the 24 fps standard was really only chosen for audio...if it was video only, they would have used a lower fps...going higher wouldn't really change anything...

It is different for video- and computergames, since the fps are not only the images themselves being shown, but also being rendered in realtime and the player input results in jerky movement, when the computation speed goes down...it's not the fps that make movements look jerky on a low spec machine...

Dr. Whiggs:
Maybe instead we could try for better writing instead of a higher frame-rate?

Nah, that's silly.

LOL

Better writing? More likely to get an Original Idea

Brilliant. Frame rate is the single most "this steam engine is the best thing that mankind will ever come up, so let's get used to it" -kind of aspect in these areas. 23,974 frames per second has been very old news for a long long long time... And the difference is astounding. I've been foaming about this for years.

james cameron is so fucking awesome

Wait, they have 24?? WHY???
Upgrade already, this is ridiculous!!

Scars Unseen:
That's all well and good until you try to pack too many actors into a scene and watch the movie start chugging around 12 FPS.

Lol. I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but a camera doesn't have to to do the job of rendering actors. For that reason, there wouldn't be a drop in frames recorded per second regardless of how much action there is on-screen. This might become an issue only when dealing with CGI. Which is also where the low FPS count is probably most noticeable.

bob1052:
Cameron is just looking for some new type of revolutionary technology to carry his next film so he doesn't have to worry about having any actual merit to his film beyond the camera used.

FACT MAN is factual!

And that's why like James Cameron, he always tries to push the Industry forward. And for this, he earned my respect.

...

Not to forget that he creates fantastic movies...

DO IT

I am actually starting to get annoyed with not being able to see parts of the film due to too much image blur caused by not enough frames. Action movies could really benefit.

That could push costs up and say what you want about pushing the medium forward, more spending is the LAST thing Hollywood wants right now.

Tipsy Giant:

bob1052:
Cameron is just looking for some new type of revolutionary technology to carry his next film so he doesn't have to worry about having any actual merit to his film beyond the camera used.

FACT MAN is factual!

I HEAR DAT!

That's all well and good if you're shooting digital (which more and more people are everyday) but for those that stay true to film, 24fps is the way to go.

Although the visual effects guys of the future may rue the decision to go to 60fps.

Anyway, James Cameron is not Movie Jesus. The producers may love him, but I'll wait for the cinematographers and directors of photography to sway to 60fps before I agree to it.

Also, 24fps has such a nice aesthetic to it when you're watching it in theatres. I hope that never goes away.

Fronzel:
You can trust people like Cameron and Lucas to push for better filmmaking technology...which about all they're good for.

One problem is that people have actually become to used to the inferior framerate that they think a superior one looks "fake", which is just a misinterpretation of their unfamiliarity with it. This is why CG animation (including in games) often simulates lens flare which in reality is only caused by weaknesses in the lens' design; people expect it.

I've seen lensflare with the naked eye too. That doesn't take away from the fact that it's literally caused by the quality of the lens in an optical system, but it does demonstrate that the lens in the human eye isn't perfect either.
(Or at least, the lenses in my eyes definitely aren't. Although the nature of the lens-flares I see are quite different to those you'd get on photos or film, which is what games tend to be copying.)

when I looked at the comparison videos, to be honest I didn't really notice the change. I saw it change marginally, but not enough to be a problem for me. 24FPS is fine for me.

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