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24P, 30, or 60i for film look?


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#1 John Miller

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 10:26 AM

Hi guys. I have read numerous posts on everyones opinion about shooting footage in different modes to edit for motion picture type results. Last night I shot all three modes in 16:9 and captured to vegas 7. I didn't add any filters, or effects. I simply rendered each in three different formats. I rendered in 24p, 30p, and 24p mpeg. The others were in AVI. I used DVD Architect 4 to burn the DVD. I used default settings to burn the files, I didn't want to change anything..just raw comparison. I was SHOCKED to say the least at the outcome. I am very new to this and that is why I must experiment instead of relying on others opinions. The most motion picture like look I got was when I shot in 60i and rendered to 24ps MPEG. How is this possible? EVERYONE said shoot in Native 24P and you will get more film like look. The only resemblence to filmlike I really got shooting in 24P was jerking when I panned the camera. 60i was much smoother and had more grain effect. Go figure. I would like to have someone explain to me the BEST setup...someone who is experienced using this camera with Vegas software. Shoot in 24P and edit then master to what? Shoot in 30? The problem is, you can shoot in any of them, but when you render there are so many possibilities. Can someone take me from beginning to end. I want motion picture look for short movies..in hi quality. I am anxious to see the responses. Thanks! BY THE WAY, THIS IS SHOOTING ON MY NEW XL2 WITH 20X LENSE. NEED CAMERA SETUP PREFERENCES AND SONY VEGAS ATTRIBUTES FOR CAPTURE, PROJECT SETUP, AND RENDERING ATTRIBUTES TO DVD ARCHITECT.

Edited by John Miller, 18 February 2007 - 10:29 AM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 10:44 AM

Of course 60i is smoother -- it's 60 motion samples per second versus only 24 or 30. Film at 24 fps does not have smooth motion either. It's partly the smoothness of motion that makes 60i seem "video-ish" since 24 fps film is more stuttery. As far as converting 60i into 24P in post versus shooting 24P, there would be more motion artifacts and some loss of sharpness from not shooting in 24P to begin with.

30 is slightly smoother than 24 - the problem with 30 is that it limits your distribution to 30P or 60i; it does not convert smoothly to PAL (50i) or film (24 fps.) So if your only intended release is 60i NTSC and 720/60P or 1080/60i HDTV (and the internet), then 30P is OK. But if there is a chance of a PAL release or European HDTV, then avoid 30P.

As far as grain, video does not have grain, it has noise. And if you really want noisier video, you can do that in any speed (24P, 30P, 60i).

If you shoot and master in true 24P, then you have the option to put 480/24P on a DVD (players will convert to 60i with pulldown themselves for interlaced-scan TV sets) or on the web. You can create a separate master from the 24P master that is 480/60i with standard pulldown for NTSC tape format distribution. You can also use the 24P master for film-outs or conversion to PAL (25P or 50i).

The question is, when you shot in 24P mode, did you extract the true 24P frames from your original 60i recording (the camera always records 60i no matter what the shooting mode) or were you working with 60i with pulldown in your editing software.
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#3 John Miller

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 10:52 AM

Of course 60i is smoother -- it's 60 motion samples per second versus only 24 or 30. Film at 24 fps does not have smooth motion either. It's partly the smoothness of motion that makes 60i seem "video-ish" since 24 fps film is more stuttery.

30 is slightly smoother than 24 - the problem with 30 is that it limits your distribution to 30P or 60i; it does not convert smoothly to PAL (50i) or film (24 fps.) So if your only intended release is 60i NTSC and 720/60P or 1080/60i HDTV (and the internet), then 30P is OK. But if there is a chance of a PAL release or European HDTV, then avoid 30P.

As far as grain, video does not have grain, it has noise. And if you really want noisier video, you can do that in any speed (24P, 30P, 60i).



Thanks David for you information. What I am trying to say is that with a cheap video camera, you get that 6 o'clock news or birthday party footage. Well, when I shot in 24P and rendered in 24P, I had moments of sharpness that looked like a cheap video camera. But in 60i, this never happened. I expected the opposites. I guess if you render to 24p from 60i shooting, you get a smoother motion picture look. I am just surprised at the results. Will editing be a problem when shooting in 60i and capturing to vegas? Or, will shooting 24P with advanced pulldown be the better way? Thanks again.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 10:57 AM

Thanks David for you information. What I am trying to say is that with a cheap video camera, you get that 6 o'clock news or birthday party footage. Well, when I shot in 24P and rendered in 24P, I had moments of sharpness that looked like a cheap video camera.


What do you mean by "moments of sharpness"?

24P versus 60i, etc. is mainly about differences in motion, not sharpness.

And if you are talking about "sharp" motion from too short of a shutter speed, that can happen when shooting in any mode depending on your shutter speed setting.

24P should have a stuttery, jerkier, stobier motion and 60i should have a fluid, smooth, hyper-real motion (that classic "live" look of interlaced-scan video.)

You need to trace through all your shooting settings (including shutter speed) and all your post steps (including at what point did you extract the 24 frames from the 60i recording.)
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#5 Chris Durham

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 11:34 AM

Don't make the mistake of thinking that film look=cleaner look. A a matter of fact, video being cleaner than film is one of the chiefest complaints from those who prefer film - excepting of course video noise which is less aesthetically pleasing than film grain. The best analogy I can use is records versus CDs. Vinyl certainly isn't any cleaner than digital, but there's something more 'real,' more visceral about it.

Motion is the only place where you should notice a big difference between frame rates, but there are other things that go into achieving a film look. If you're not happy with the motion from 24p, check your shutter speed. Faster shutter speeds will yield more 'staccato'-like images; motion that is less fluid. Film also has superior range than video, so be careful of your knee (upper end towards white) and toe (lower end towards black). Another defining characteristic of film is depth of field, which is determined by your aperture and the size of your capture surface. Since you can't alter the size of your CCDs you should shoot as wide open as possible to minimize depth of field - that's right, minimize; remember film look is not about the cleaner image and having a huge DoF where everything is in focus is distracting and generally a lot uglier for narrative work than it is for shooting an NFL game. You can also shoot with a diffusion filter to soften things up which is a way of 'cheating' DoF.
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#6 John Miller

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 01:24 PM

Don't make the mistake of thinking that film look=cleaner look. A a matter of fact, video being cleaner than film is one of the chiefest complaints from those who prefer film - excepting of course video noise which is less aesthetically pleasing than film grain. The best analogy I can use is records versus CDs. Vinyl certainly isn't any cleaner than digital, but there's something more 'real,' more visceral about it.

Motion is the only place where you should notice a big difference between frame rates, but there are other things that go into achieving a film look. If you're not happy with the motion from 24p, check your shutter speed. Faster shutter speeds will yield more 'staccato'-like images; motion that is less fluid. Film also has superior range than video, so be careful of your knee (upper end towards white) and toe (lower end towards black). Another defining characteristic of film is depth of field, which is determined by your aperture and the size of your capture surface. Since you can't alter the size of your CCDs you should shoot as wide open as possible to minimize depth of field - that's right, minimize; remember film look is not about the cleaner image and having a huge DoF where everything is in focus is distracting and generally a lot uglier for narrative work than it is for shooting an NFL game. You can also shoot with a diffusion filter to soften things up which is a way of 'cheating' DoF.


Thanks for the helpful replies. I viewed the DVD I made on better widescreen TV and could really see a difference between the 60i and 24p. But, I did render a 60i piece to 24p and burn it, it looked just as good as the native 24p. Is it better to shoot 60i or native 24p? Are sacrificing some things you could never recover by shooting in the 24p on the xl2 itself? thanks.
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 04:17 PM

Motion is the only place where you should notice a big difference between frame rates, but there are other things that go into achieving a film look. If you're not happy with the motion from 24p, check your shutter speed. Faster shutter speeds will yield more 'staccato'-like images; motion that is less fluid.


This is what I was thinking as well. The 60i-captured material likely had a shutterspeed of 1/60 second, whereas the 24P-captured material likely had a shutterspeed of 1/48 -- or even 1/24, if the camera is capable of that.

Sometimes I'll shoot 24P video with a 1/60 shutterspeed (or 144 shutter angle, depending on camera), just to avoid any possible "smeary" video artifacts. 24P video doesn't automatically look like film, because it's not film.

John, you should try shooting some material at 24P in camera with a 1/60 second shutterspeed, then shoot the same subject in 60i with the same shutterspeed. Then compare that output to 24P. See if you notice any difference.
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#8 John Miller

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 11:39 PM

This is what I was thinking as well. The 60i-captured material likely had a shutterspeed of 1/60 second, whereas the 24P-captured material likely had a shutterspeed of 1/48 -- or even 1/24, if the camera is capable of that.

Sometimes I'll shoot 24P video with a 1/60 shutterspeed (or 144 shutter angle, depending on camera), just to avoid any possible "smeary" video artifacts. 24P video doesn't automatically look like film, because it's not film.

John, you should try shooting some material at 24P in camera with a 1/60 second shutterspeed, then shoot the same subject in 60i with the same shutterspeed. Then compare that output to 24P. See if you notice any difference.


Hey Thanks! I never considered shutter speed! That makes perfect sense. I will try that. Amazing how much one can learn in one day. I know I sound stupid, because I am stupid when it comes to this..but gettting smarter everyday.
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#9 Alberto Fernandez

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 02:35 PM

I know this is old but... it seems to me the problem with recording or even converting to 24p with this camera comes from getting jumpy image because video is clear and film is not, this creating more visual jumpyness. Now, After effects has a motion blur option that attempts to 'fix' that problem... does anyone have experience using it? does this generally work? or will i get a jumpy blurry image? I have no camera or native footage to work with. THanks.
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#10 Walter Graff

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 05:16 PM

"that is why I must experiment instead of relying on others opinions"


I'd guess that 90%+ people that post on boards like these often have little experience with what they speak of and mostly follow the status quo of what everyone repeats. I know because like you, I do lots and lots and lots of testing and know that most of what people talk about started as some sort of myth by someone who read it somewhere else, but has little experience with it. On a normal day I'd rather shoot 30p to a DVD and no one could tell me it wasn't film with how I shoot and how I encode. Remember that the elusive film look we all know is really a motion blur in its simplest sense. And so, whatever means you achieve it that works is what is best for you. Now depending on the workflow (filmout, DVD, web, etc) there are more robust ways of doing things depending on the end result but the bottom line for you trying to make a DVD is that 24p does not necessarily mean "better" when it comes to the subjective film look even though most boards repeat this again and again. David makes a very important point in saying that having more information to begin with is always best because you always end up with less so in some cases 24p which is technically the softest speed to shoot at with video, might not always end up looking the sharpest. I think that while all the suggestions you get are great, you have to see it with your own eyes and decide what works best for you. I know it's tough because the crowd tells you one thing, but I ask the question, are you making this for the crowd or for your own satisfaction? If the latter than do what works best and ignore the noise you hear out there.
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