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The Future of Capture and Projection


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#1 Chris D Walker

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 05:20 AM

Seeing as this is the place to ask questions and share ideas, I thought I would share one. There have been many strange and wonderful ideas about the future of capture and projection for films; this is what I think film could become.

A hybrid between Showscan, Super Dimension 70 and Maxivision48. Either film (3-perf) or digital (2K) projection at 60 frames per second. Here's my logic for it:

- 24 fps doesn't cut it for fast motion. There wouldn't be such an issue with 60fps. With a scene that doesn't require fast motion capture you could switch to 30fps and step print the frame.

- 65mm film at 60fps isn't a producer's dream (281.25ft/min). 3-perf film at 60fps (168.75ft/min) is do-able. Alternatively, 2K @ 60fps needs only 150% more data when compared with 4K @ 24fps, which would need 300% more data than standard 2K capture/projection.

- 48fps isn't compatible in any way with television at 60Hz. Blu-ray can playback 720p and 1080i at 59.94Hz, regardless of region. 60fps can be transferred into an interlace signal easily. There's also PAL60 for DVD.

- Grain would be much less of an issue. At 60fps a viewer's eye can't see film grain unless you're pushing by two stops or are severely underexposed. Ditto for noise in digital capture.

- There are no film or digital presets for 48fps capture. There are dozens of digital cameras, high-end and prosumer, that can capture 60fps at 720p or higher.

- No dorky polarised glasses.

- You can project onto a much larger and brighter screen. Flicker would be something of the past.

As I see it there are only a few pitfalls. One is pretty big:

- For shooting at 60fps one would need an extra stop and a half of light for correct exposure, but that's not outside the realm of possibility.

- Industry acceptance would take time. We're so accustomed with 24fps and its aesthetic. Plus, every producer and distributor is on a 3D binge, charging every ticket for extra cash.

- Another conversion of projectors at a high cost. Away from the DCI specifications.

How does this sound to everyone else? Is it possible? Is it realistic? What can we call it?

As always, thanks to everyone who does read and respond.
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#2 David S Carroll

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 11:24 AM

I believe Roger Ebert, among others, has championed the idea of 48fps for decades now to no avail. My problem with altering the 24fps of film is that it would look more and more like hd/digi acquired images. In feature films, shooting/projecting 35mm at 60 fps would look more like HD than it would film and that would not really be a good thing imho. If I'm shooting film, it's because I want the image to look like a film and 24 fps is a big part of that. Gaining more data (high fps) in motion pictures is not my goal...if it was I would go with a high end digi camera for that crisp hi-def vid look. Not to mention shooting at a double or higher fps would cost A LOT MORE DOUGH which takes the option right off the table for almost everyone.

Chris, you are definitely not the first one to take this issue up. In theory it makes sense, but like anything else, the market just does what the market wants irrespective of theoretical "better" ways of production. So in the end, you can certainly do whatever it is you want to do...so if YOU have a lot of cash and YOU want to shot 120 fps, go for it bro!
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#3 Thomas James

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 04:59 PM

Most directors say that 24 fps cannot be changed because it destroys the film look. However 24 fps does not look like movie film but rather more like a super fast slide show. To achieve the real movie look a minimum of 30 frames per second must be projected. Unfortunately most directors refuse to provide content for big screen formats such as Showscan and IMAX. After 4O years only one Hollywood movie was shot using IMAX cameras and zero movies have been shot using the Showscan format. If these big screen formats are not supported consumers will stop going to the movie theatres because they can get better quality if they stay at home.
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#4 Thomas James

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 05:05 PM

Also digital cameras are available that can capture 1080p at 50 frames a second.
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#5 David S Carroll

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 10:34 PM

Most directors say that 24 fps cannot be changed because it destroys the film look. However 24 fps does not look like movie film but rather more like a super fast slide show. To achieve the real movie look a minimum of 30 frames per second must be projected. Unfortunately most directors refuse to provide content for big screen formats such as Showscan and IMAX. After 4O years only one Hollywood movie was shot using IMAX cameras and zero movies have been shot using the Showscan format. If these big screen formats are not supported consumers will stop going to the movie theatres because they can get better quality if they stay at home.


Thomas,

So, are you saying that feature films you go to see in a theater are being projected at 30 fps? I'm confused as to what you mean by "the real movie look a minimum of 30 frames per second must be projected". If film is shot at 24fps, where is the extra information (six frames) coming from? Thanks in advance!

Edited by David S Carroll, 12 June 2010 - 10:35 PM.

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#6 Gary Lemson

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Posted 12 June 2010 - 11:21 PM

Arri presented some 48 frame 2-perf footage (played back on a 48 frame timebase)at Cinegear this year after the Alexa demo. My observation was that it appeared hyper-real. It was very interesting, and weird...not film-like at all (in my opinion), but then maybe this was partially due the projection system.
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#7 Thomas James

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 11:38 AM

What I am saying is that feature films ought to be displayed at 30 frames per second because this framerate does a good job of portraying motion while still retaining most of the film look. For fast action sequences higher frame rates should be used such as 60 frames per second. Again 60 frames per second does a good job of portraying fast action and the film look is preserved because the faster framerate is compensated by the faster action. Likewise for a truly balanced film look a Cinematographer can also introduce lower frame rates into the mix such as 20 frames per second for scenes that have very little movement.
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#8 Thomas James

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 11:46 AM

Also an infrustructure exists for the distribution of variable frame rate projection content. By choosing to deliver on the Blu-Ray 720p format which can display any frame rate up to 60 frames per second Cinematographers will have complete control over the displayed frame rate which can be custon tailored to each individual scene. Thus frame rate becomes an artistic choice rather than a non negotiable standard of production.
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#9 John Sprung

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 05:57 PM

The BBC did some experiments a couple years ago with working at 300 fps. 25 x 12 = 300 and 30 x 10 = 300 for compatibility with PAL and ATSC.



-- J.S.
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