James Cameron Wants Game-Like Frame Rates for Film

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inzesky:

Nautical Honors Society:
go work for kodak or something.

I doubt the nice gentlemen at Kodak would like what Mr. Cameron is proposing. :)

Obviously I was using that comment to exaggerate my point so yes...taking what I said out of context would make no sense.

This is pointless. We can't even see that fast. Unless they just want to remove motion blur?

As a film animator, I would hate to see the standard increased. Animating and polishing 24fps is already a chore, with subframe animation being limited to fixes and whatnot. I never understood this obsession with getting such high fps in games. Anything more than 30fps is visually unnecessary.

But then again, I'm the guy that doesn't give two damns about anti-aliasing, so what do I know, right?

this isn't just a case of bigger number = better. I'm sure James Cameron has his reasons... and I think it might have a fair amount to do with making 3D looking better... but 24 FPS is as much a stylistic choice as it is an industry standard no one could be bothered to change.

The blurring and layering of frames to make it into 24fps is what gives film that "filmic" quality. Home video and most TV gets shot at 25 or 30 fps. And you can see the difference. It looks a little bit more like real life, but loses visual interest.

When digital tape first came about, TV jumped at it cos it was cheap and quick, but if you made a movie you shot on film, because of the visual effect. digital had a max tolerance for light and would therefore limit over exposure. This meant that you didnt have to alter lighting for every shot, just tweak a few settings on the camera. But with film you often want the bleeding effect of over exposed light and stuff. much more artistic freedom. No one demanded film makers stop using film purely because it was old.

Helicopter tracking shots at 24 fps look epic and sweeping. put em up to 60 fps and you can see every judder and it looks like something off of police camera action.

Try watching a Bourne film at 48fps. Its like having an eye hemorrhage.

Look at who else is interested: Peter Jackson and George Lucas. So the three biggest effect junkies (excluding Michael Bay) want game like frame rates to make there CG characters work better...

The big studios with the big expensive digital equipment and rendering software and legions of post production experts can probably make something spectacular out of it. But the effects that can be achieved with a bog standard film camera and a bit of know-how will be swept away.

(As a side note, look at district 9 as a great example of how a change in medium/frame rate can be a story telling device. The usual film camera set up for the "god's eye" plot driving sections, and the mini dv home video camera stuff)

rsvp42:
This is pointless. We can't even see that fast. Unless they just want to remove motion blur?

As a film animator, I would hate to see the standard increased. Animating and polishing 24fps is already a chore, with subframe animation being limited to fixes and whatnot. I never understood this obsession with getting such high fps in games. Anything more than 30fps is visually unnecessary.

But then again, I'm the guy that doesn't give two damns about anti-aliasing, so what do I know, right?

I don't even... you must be one of them console players I guess... anyway there's fighter pilots that have been tested with discerning images from over 200FPS e.g. seeing an enemy jet in 1/200 of a second and I'd wager every normal person can see a clear difference between 30 and 60FPS...

Hell when I was still playing things like Quake3, Jedi Knight 2 or CS on my old CRT there was a very clear difference between 60 and 90+ in both fluidity of the movement and reaction time of shooting someone. But you're right, you don't seem to be very knowledgeable :P

It depends on content though, sure a strategy or Adventure game... maybe some RPGs don't require a reaction time that high but shooters back then were a lot quicker and actually made use of mouse+kb e.g.

Levethian:
About god damn time.

I remember sweeping shots in LOTR or armies and cities - blurry thanks to the low FPS count.

This is what came to mind when I first read the topic. I had to look away during those scenes because they gave me a headache.

Agh. This is way more complex an issue than is being presented here. It's an artistic choice between the three most commonly used framerates in cinematography (24, 30 and 60) and while the standard of 24 frames has been defaulted to too often, there shouldn't be a unilateral standard. Ever. Flexibility is key. While a Paul Greengrass film would probably look fantastic in 30 or even 60 frames, I'd never even think of putting a drama or a comedy in 60 frames. The clarity of action can be intensely distracting in scenes like those--I would know, I have tried to shoot them that way.

Edit: And stop using video game framerates as a comparison point, that's positively silly. Taking in movies and taking in video games is an entirely different mindset and artistic experience, and while higher framerates suit video games fantastically as they are /all/ action oriented and digitally animated, the kind of cinematography that demands 24p couldn't be further from that.

Dexter111:

rsvp42:
This is pointless. We can't even see that fast. Unless they just want to remove motion blur?

As a film animator, I would hate to see the standard increased. Animating and polishing 24fps is already a chore, with subframe animation being limited to fixes and whatnot. I never understood this obsession with getting such high fps in games. Anything more than 30fps is visually unnecessary.

But then again, I'm the guy that doesn't give two damns about anti-aliasing, so what do I know, right?

I don't even... you must be one of them console players I guess... anyway there's fighter pilots that have been tested with discerning images from over 200FPS e.g. seeing an enemy jet in 1/200 of a second and I'd wager every normal person can see a clear difference between 30 and 60FPS...

Hell when I was still playing things like Quake3, Jedi Knight 2 or CS on my old CRT there was a very clear difference between 60 and 90+ in both fluidity of the movement and reaction time of shooting someone. But you're right, you don't seem to be very knowledgeable :P

It depends on content though, sure a strategy or Adventure game... maybe some RPGs don't require a reaction time that high but shooters back then were a lot quicker and actually made use of mouse+kb e.g.

I play both PC and console games because fuck dichotomies.

I'm speaking from a CG animation standpoint. Having to hand animate and wrangle 60 fps is ridiculous. I'm sure I'd get used to it, but I really don't think it would add much. It's fine for games with no motion blur, but for film, anything above 30fps in most circumstances seems like overkill.

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.

Unless 60 frames per a second can solve the problem of 3D forcing the eye to behave in a way it isn't designed for, I doubt it.

It'd be interesting to see this in StarWars.

With all the light-sabre duels and all.

Cameron is a complete idiot. Look at a film like Avatar where there are tons of special effects and it takes hours to render each frame of film. If you triple the frame rate, then you triple the amount of rendering times, tripling the cost just on rendering and more frames means more work in Post, it will just skyrocket movie budgets.

All for what? A little bit cleaner movie. Not worth it. Not anytime soon, unless you want to pay $40 for a movie ticket.

josemlopes:
Here, look at this:

Now the comparision in a video game

Really interesting.
Didn't notice shit in the IRL comparison, but definitely noticed the difference in video games (duh)

It would probably be better in a high-action sequence, or when merging CGI with regular acting, to have a higher fps, but I don't think its "ZOMG NEED IT NAO"

Outside of games I don't see much difference between 24fps and 60fps, if any, so I don't see any reason to change the frame rate.
And I think that Cameron is starting to go the George Lucas route when it comes to movies by throwing more and more visual effects and high tech gimmicks at the cost of writing and characters. His earlier movies; Aliens, Terminator 2 and True Lies were, in my opinion far better than Avatar and they had far fewer digital effects (if any) Avatar and absolutely no 3-D (a cheap gimmick in my opinion).
Changing the frame rates won't make a shitty movie better or a boring movie exciting.

The mouse over text of xkcd 732 is relevant here, I believe.

"We're also stuck with blurry, juddery, slow-panning 24fps movies forever because (thanks to 60fps home video) people associate high framerates with camcorders and cheap sitcoms, and thus think good framerates look fake."

I'm going to be honest. I have no clue how people can tell what the frames per second of something is just by looking at it. Like people who comment that they notice the frames/sec dropping to some very specific number while playing a game on the 360.

Then again, I'm a technological idiot.

The worst thing in movies that are just visually stunning is when the camera pans rather quickly and the whole screen just blurs for a moment... I hate that so much! This initiative would solve that.

I agree with the article. Say what you want about his movies sucking, but a bad movie can't ruin cinema. If this initiative works, James Cameron's name would be attached to the best thing to happen to filmmaking in years.

It's exceedingly important to note the difference between frames per second and refresh rate. NTSC (the standard digital video cameras use in North America and some others) has been 60 'frames' since its inception, but they actually don't display a full image 60 times per second. Interlacing is still the most common method of displaying and capturing images, which means half the image's information (pixels) are displayed in one refresh cycle, and the other half is displayed in the next refresh cycle. NTSC does this at 60hz to achieve an approximate frame rate of 30fps. PAL (the European standard) uses 50hz (25fps).

Factor in SMPTE and the numbers get even more specific, and weird. (23.97 for 24fps & 29.97 for 30fps) There are some higher-end consumer video cameras capable of recording 'true' progressive frames, which must be translated and converted to meet other standards anyway.

ONLY celluloid film is capable of capturing full frames at the 24fps standard, without being translated. This is actually an advantage - you can 'overcrank' a film camera to record 60 fps, producing great detail without combing, noise, or abberation caused by the various digital processes in consumer digital cameras. Playing this 60fps footage back at 24fps gives the effect of 'slow motion', which has been around since roughly the turn of the century - more than a hundred years ago! Cinema-grade digital cameras, like the RED, offer similar versatility to celluloid - but it's still not quite the same.

Do Not Be Fooled. This is a gimmick, and an even worse one than 3D.
What James Cameron is proposing is an upgrade to movie theater projection standards, NOT cinema filming standards. In an industry already competing with the direct download market, and the fact that DVD / Blu-Ray releases are rarely more than 6 months after the initial premiere in theaters, you can safely bet that 'a theater near you' will quickly disappear if this new proposed standard becomes commonplace.

TL;DR?
There's about a hundred factors that determine the visual quality of a movie, and frame rate is one of the least important. Increasing the standard will probably look good for action movies, but everything else will actually look worse.

ilovemyLunchbox:
Say what you want about his movies sucking, but a bad movie can't ruin cinema.

A bad movie that causes theaters to go out of business actually can ruin cinema, by deterring customers who don't want to pay $20 for a ticket when they can just spend that same $20 after waiting for it to come to the home market (DVD/Blu-Ray/Download).

bob1052:

Raven's Nest:

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.

Spoken like someone whose only experience with a James Cameron film was Avatar... Jeez

What has he done that is even remotely notable that is remotely recent? Absolutely nothing.

What and that means his earlier films don't count for anything? He makes one mediocre film and suddenly that erases his entire back catalogue? Muhammad Ali hasn't been in the ring for sometime now, does that make him a crap boxer? Cameron took a medium that was considered dead, spent half a decade reworking the technology and used it to make the highest grossing film of all time... But I suppose that doesn't count because you didn't like Avatar (probably for the same bleated reasons as every other sheep who puts it down).

Hell, I'm not even much of a fan of Cameron but I can't hear a bullshit statement like that go unchallenged.

Oh James...you so crazy...

Hey, does anyone remember in Terminator 2 when to cut down on the running time so he could sneak in some extra scenes, he told his editor to go through the whole film and remove one frame from everyone 24 frames...basically removing 1 frame for every 1 second. He was told by the editor "that's a stupid idea" but refused to listen to reason. SO the poor editor (this was before everything was done on the computer so he had to literally cut out the frames) did so for the entire film and when it was finished, showed it back to James Cameron. What did James say? "This looks like rubbish, it's choppy and disorientating, go put them back in". Nonetheless, people wanted him dead, but it's been obvious to me he's been trying to leave his name in the history books and really revolutionise the field...becoming an Einstein of film if you will...

Honestly there isn't much need for a change in frames per second...do you really go to the cinema and think, "OSHI- I know what this needs! It needs more fps so I can see it in better quality when it's slowed down!!!". No, instead you're trying to figure out if you can sit through an entire 3 hour epic without the need to pee. Fps is only relevant in gaming because of the urgency to need to know whether an object passed us by or not and whether we can shoot it, in film, not so much.

So, yeah, James, you crazy crazy guy =P

rsvp42:
Anything more than 30fps is visually unnecessary.

Not without motion blur, son.
You see quite the difference.

Screw 60fps, think bigger. Most LCD screens are capable of updates of 8 milliseconds or better. If you can refresh the screen every 8 ms, that's a potential 125fps you can display. Go for 256 (nice round number) for future movies. While you're at it, bump up the resolution to 8192 pixels wide.

It's about time someone pushed for this.

The main problem is people associate the higher framerate with home movies, and thus, crap film.

he is a PC gamer

rsvp42:
This is pointless. We can't even see that fast. Unless they just want to remove motion blur?

As a film animator, I would hate to see the standard increased. Animating and polishing 24fps is already a chore, with subframe animation being limited to fixes and whatnot. I never understood this obsession with getting such high fps in games. Anything more than 30fps is visually unnecessary.

But then again, I'm the guy that doesn't give two damns about anti-aliasing, so what do I know, right?

I'm not a fan of Anti-Aliasing either. As well I have done animation as well, and yeah its hard enough getting used to 24 frames a second as a standard. If they start messing with that standard I can only see disaster for animated films, or as many have said before just CGI in general.

DustyDrB:
I'm going to be honest. I have no clue how people can tell what the frames per second of something is just by looking at it. Like people who comment that they notice the frames/sec dropping to some very specific number while playing a game on the 360.

Then again, I'm a technological idiot.

I could give a rough approximation of fps in a game, simply by how I feel by looking at it.

50-60fps: "Doo do doo, killin' doodz, smooth as butter"
40fps: "Dang, missed that scout, bit hard to track the little bugger. Why has sniping become so difficult all of a sudden too?"
30fps: "Doo doo, playin' mah adventure game, pretty adequate."
20fps: "Maybe I shouldn't start moving around so much..."
10fps: "My head is starting to hurt, and I'm straining my eyes. Also, why am I playing a powerpoint presentation?"
<5fps: *throws up*

Well the reason 24fps even came about is because any more than 30, and people thought it just looked like Home Videos (which had an unrestricted frame rate). Even now, when TV shows are projected in 35fps, it looks more cheap - not more expensive. I think we've all been programmed not to notice, but it is there subconsciously, and we definitely notice when movie framerates are too high.

I honestly would rather movies stayed at 24fps - especially since poor traditional and hand-animated CGI films would become twice as expensive to render. But hey, that's just me.

edit:

AngryMongoose:
It's about time someone pushed for this.

The main problem is people associate the higher framerate with home movies, and thus, crap film.

Ohhhh you beat me to it.

eh not a big fan of watching a movie look like a camcorder made it <.<

It glaringly different when you see the 2 fps used in the same movie. So im find with 24fps since its always made for the more cinematic feel (well duh XD). when the frames go up, to me, makes the movie lose a bit of drama.

But i don't mind seeing how it would be like for them to try it. a bit of distortion gives my brain something to thinking about vs seeing everything crispy clean.

in a videogame. OMG its night and day between 30 - 60.

Hardly a new idea since TV's with 100hz and above screens that use processing to fill in between original frames to make picture motion look smoother have been around for a while. Would be nice to have the original source material do it natively rather then relying on TV processing though.

The only problem will be how to fit movies on a disk since if the frame rate doubles, so will the space needed. Will that all fit on a Blu-ray 3D that also increases space requirements?

Maybe this is a cunning plan because a home media format won't have enough space so it will be cinema only....

albino boo:
Not going to happen. The poeple that own the screens have just shelled out large wads of cash for 3D, they are not going spend millions on re-equipping those brand new projectors for higher fps. At $150,000 per screen they wouldn't have made the money back yet on the investment in 3D projectors.

3D TV's by definintion already support 60 FPS or HZ as they need to generated 30 FPS or HZ for each eye which results in 60Hz. A lot though also already support 120HZ display rates with processing to deliver 60HZ per eye.

I'd happily have that. If my grandchildren look back at our films and thing 'shit, that's jumpy' i'd hang my head in shame. Please lets not have that happen.

This will only apply to the digital cameras and film since 60fps will mean the, already massive film reels, will be over twice as long.

Though this will also ramp up the cost of special FX since you've got twice the frames to render.

I think it could be nice and in action films you could be able to really notice the difference.

Also what's with the James Cameron bashing? Aliens and T2 are two of my favourite films of all time.

I see barely any difference. But I have to say, fight scenes in movies would be effected pretty badly. You can now see that Asian stunt doubles face clearly without the motion blur.

fix-the-spade:
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.

... Look at Crysis 2.

Better CGI than most films rendered in REAL TIME! And possible at 60 FPS on a publicly-available computer such as any Alienware system!

Seriously... The only thing you need for decent CGI is a high-end Alienware laptop and a mastery of CryEngine 3!

thenumberthirteen:
This will only apply to the digital cameras and film since 60fps will mean the, already massive film reels, will be over twice as long...

The film industry uses nothing but digital cameras anyway. We have SONY CAMCORDERS with the same quality and several hundred times the fliming time of movie cameras from 3 years ago!

David Bray:
I'd happily have that. If my grandchildren look back at our films and thing 'shit, that's jumpy' i'd hang my head in shame. Please lets not have that happen.

Shit Citizen Kane, where's the colour? Viisuals come and go but good stories tend to be remembered. That said I don't know about this. I've never really noticed a movie lagging and having bad frame rate but I am quite ignorant over it.

Don't many TV shows already use a higher frame rate? I feel like most people already associate the look of a higher frame rate with dytime sitcoms.

doggie015:

thenumberthirteen:
This will only apply to the digital cameras and film since 60fps will mean the, already massive film reels, will be over twice as long...

The film industry uses nothing but digital cameras anyway. We have SONY CAMCORDERS with the same quality and several hundred times the fliming time of movie cameras from 3 years ago!

A film based movie camera's effective resolution, and optics quality is so far beyond a consumer digital movie camera that its not even a comparison. This is why films pre digital era with no CGI look vastly better than those filmed digitally pre HD when produced in HD.

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