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24p or 30p Acquisition


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#1 Tim Pipher

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 11:22 PM

I had a long, heated, and perplexing conversation with a recently hired in-house cinematographer today. It was over an issue that I thought was as obvious as 1 + 1 = 2, and he was just as confident that I was out to lunch.

Since I'm relying on him to be our cinematographer, I'm assuming (and hoping) that I'm wrong.

The dispute is over whether we should be acquiring in 24p or 30p. We're shooting AVC-Intra 100 with our Panasonic HPX3000. If we're shooting a narrative movie or television show, I always believed we'd want to be acquiring in 24p with the desired result of the dreamy look that viewers are used to in a feature film.

My cinematographer says that's not necessarily true -- that there's very little difference in the look of 24p and 30p, and unless the project is going to film-out, 30p offers so many advantages that we'd be better off at 30p.

I argued that 30p is great for reality, sports, news -- anything we want to look "real" -- but for narrative work where we want to look like a movie, 24p is the obvious choice, whether we're filming out or not. He again emphasized that there is little difference in the look of 24p vs. 30p, and that the film look will be attained through lighting and camera techniques.

He reminded me that he's worked with some of the most talented people in the business and at the highest-end and most prestigious studio facilities in the world, but that I'm the boss and he'd do things my way whether I'm right or not.

Finally, he said maybe the 24p vs. 30p argument is subjective based on the cinematographer's personal preferences, and maybe some -- perhaps even up to 50 out of 100 accomplished DP's, would choose to shoot 24p for narrative work. I countered that I believed that 99 or 100 out of 100 would choose 24p for narrative projects.

He's the expert -- I'm not. But is he correct?
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#2 Allen Achterberg

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 11:41 PM

I would say that you are correct. However, both 30P and 24p look very different that 60i, I would still shoot 24p with a 1/48 sec shutter, even if you are sure that the project will not go to film it doesnt make much sense to me to create more work for yourself in the off chance that it does go to film, not to mention that 24fps is fewer frames so any affects could yield faster render times.

I personally can tell the difference between 24p and 30p, theres a big difference in motion blur. And if shooting to a 24PN mode you could save a lot of P2 space.

Best
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 03:43 AM

I argued that 30p is great for reality, sports, news -- anything we want to look "real"


It sounds like you're equating 30P to 60i, which isn't really accurate. I think 30P is much closer in look to 24P than 60i.

When viewed on a 60i monitor I think the difference between 24p and 30p is extremely subtle. You may notice a tiny bit of difference with fast moving action or fast pans, but for more "normal" motion you'd probably barely notice any difference, if at all. It's a very subtle qualitative thing.

The advantage of 30P in a 60i environment is that it can allow a 1:1 frame ratio for compositing with no possibility of mis-matching pulldowns between elements. The drawback is that it doesn't convert well to 24P if you ever need to output or display at that frame rate. If you shoot 24P and are doing a lot of compositing you would want to either do everything at 24P and output the final composite if you need 60i, or else live with the subtle artifacts of mismatching pulldowns between elements.

There's one way to know for sure -- shoot some tests. You may be surprised how subtle the difference really is. In the end, you get to judge.
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#4 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 12:26 PM

It sounds like you're equating 30P to 60i, which isn't really accurate. I think 30P is much closer in look to 24P than 60i.

When viewed on a 60i monitor I think the difference between 24p and 30p is extremely subtle. You may notice a tiny bit of difference with fast moving action or fast pans, but for more "normal" motion you'd probably barely notice any difference, if at all. It's a very subtle qualitative thing.

The advantage of 30P in a 60i environment is that it can allow a 1:1 frame ratio for compositing with no possibility of mis-matching pulldowns between elements. The drawback is that it doesn't convert well to 24P if you ever need to output or display at that frame rate. If you shoot 24P and are doing a lot of compositing you would want to either do everything at 24P and output the final composite if you need 60i, or else live with the subtle artifacts of mismatching pulldowns between elements.

There's one way to know for sure -- shoot some tests. You may be surprised how subtle the difference really is. In the end, you get to judge.



I've wondered this too, at least regarding the percentage of shorts that are shot in 24P but 99% of the time viewed on regular television sets via DVD.
Even the 24P is "24 over 60" when it's say a DVX-100 recording Mini-DV tape and if it's adjusted to a 24 f.p.s. timeline in editing but then put on a DVD to be seen on 60i display, it's going to behave as you've described. It's great that 24P has come along but it seems to me that many of the earnest and often quite
good shorts that people I encounter are doing around here still are viewed in a way in which the 24P doesn't seem that significant, although when they set
out to make these shorts that they know are going to be seen this way, they're adamant about shooting 24P.
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 01:07 PM

I've wondered this too, at least regarding the percentage of shorts that are shot in 24P but 99% of the time viewed on regular television sets via DVD....

It's great that 24P has come along but it seems to me that many of the earnest and often quite good shorts that people I encounter are doing around here still are viewed in a way in which the 24P doesn't seem that significant, although when they set out to make these shorts that they know are going to be seen this way, they're adamant about shooting 24P.



Well 24p is still a huge improvement toward the "film look" compared to 60i, even when viewed on a 60i monitor. Since every TV show, movie, commmercial and music video you've seen that was shot on film is displayed this way, it only makes sense to start there (shoot true 24P and apply 3-2 pulldown) if you want the same motion rendering. It's just that 30p can offer some other advantages when the project doesn't have to go to film or PAL conversion, and doesn't look significantly different as a result.

Long before 24P video came along I was involved (as were others here, I'm sure) in shooting commercials on 16mm at 30fps instead of 24, specifically for the percieved increase in sharpness and reduction of grain. Now in a real world sense we know that the image isn't actually any sharper, but the result was a silky-smooth and glossy look that made the film look a little less like 16mm and more like 35mm, if only because the grain went by faster!
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#6 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 04:22 PM

Well 24p is still a huge improvement toward the "film look" compared to 60i, even when viewed on a 60i monitor. Since every TV show, movie, commmercial and music video you've seen that was shot on film is displayed this way, it only makes sense to start there (shoot true 24P and apply 3-2 pulldown) if you want the same motion rendering. It's just that 30p can offer some other advantages when the project doesn't have to go to film or PAL conversion, and doesn't look significantly different as a result.

Long before 24P video came along I was involved (as were others here, I'm sure) in shooting commercials on 16mm at 30fps instead of 24, specifically for the percieved increase in sharpness and reduction of grain. Now in a real world sense we know that the image isn't actually any sharper, but the result was a silky-smooth and glossy look that made the film look a little less like 16mm and more like 35mm, if only because the grain went by faster!



It seems to me that I remember people years ago shooting music videos in 16mm. at 29.97 f.p.s. (maybe you were rounding off for discussion?)
because they said that since the music videos were exclusively for television, it made syncing easier. Does that sound right? Do you know if a lot of people did that? Thanks.
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 11:57 PM

It seems to me that I remember people years ago shooting music videos in 16mm. at 29.97 f.p.s. (maybe you were rounding off for discussion?)
because they said that since the music videos were exclusively for television, it made syncing easier. Does that sound right? Do you know if a lot of people did that? Thanks.


People have tried all kinds of thing for one reason or another. It's been my experience that for 16mm 24fps usually won out, because the whole point of shooting 16mm instead of 35mm was to save money on film stock. 30 fps uses 25% more film.
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#8 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 12:05 AM

People have tried all kinds of thing for one reason or another. It's been my experience that for 16mm 24fps usually won out, because the whole point of shooting 16mm instead of 35mm was to save money on film stock. 30 fps uses 25% more film.



Thanks Michael.

I'd like to take my camera out and do some tests but I've been editing all day (reading and posting on here during
while something is rendering or being exported or DVD being burned.) Probably the same plan tomorrow but I'm going to see if
I can grab a couple of hours soon and just shoot a bunch of the stuff that we've been talking about as well as some gags I've
been wanting to do.
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