08 Jan 2013

Why is 24p so good? Here's a new theory

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Why is 24p better for storytelling than 48 fps? Why is 24p better for storytelling than 48 fps? MGM/Peter Jackson


Resolution, information overload and editing

The book In the blink of an eye by Walter Murchin, he explains how, when he edits, he first needs to know on which medium the film will be displayed, because this will have an effect on the length of a cut. Because of the big screen delivery, his edit screen would have two human-figure paper cut-outs stuck to each side of the screen. The figures are in ratio to his edit screen, and to what a human would be in ratio to the projected screen at the movie house. He mentions that viewing something on the big screen requires longer cuts because your eyes take longer to capture the information and thus your brain needs a longer time to process the information displayed. On the small screen, you see the whole screen at once, so you can process it quicker and subsequently the cut can be shorter.

My point is, with HD and HFR, does it look weird and "fake" because we haven't learned how to create the misdirection through new methods of DOF, lighting and script, make-up etc? (Again referring to 2D.) Is it because we are used to seeing reality on TV and News in HFR and we translate this to the cinema story? Is it the lack of motion blur? Is it because there is just too much information displayed and the cuts are too short? Do we need to be “reminded” by 24fps stuttering that we are living in a fantasy world?

My non-conclusive summary

I'd like to draw this toward some sort of conclusion.

If HFR is here to stay, and 24fps dies, what do we need to learn (in 2D cinematography and in addition - as often forgotten - editing) to be able to recreate the magician’s "misdirection"? And this assumes the average movie goer actually wants misdirection; wants to live the dramatic fantasy story.

I added the last bit to the sentence because to my annoyance reality TV is so popular even when the reality TV show is so blatantly scripted/guided that it borders on insanity! People have been crying for the death of reality TV for probably a decade now (that I know of anyway) and yet every second show is "reality". If "reality" is so popular, do we really have to strive so hard, technically, for "reality" in fiction?

Will movies (“cinematic stories”) become documentaries told in a dramatic way? Will you only be able to create "misdirection" through blatant fantasy worlds like The Hobbit? Will the usual cinematic stories on the big screen circuit be replaced with fantasy stories like The Hobbit because they cannot be told and do not make business sense in the new cinema? Or, like I mentioned, will HFR become a tool, where we now mix frame rates to capture certain actions and evoke certain emotions because HFR (and 24fps) has little or no effect on “cinematic misdirection” and more to do with emotive reaction? Having said that, why do we not then skip to 60fps?
But again, is more detail a good thing? Like cars the majority of us don't drive them more than a 120/140 kph. Is 8K (the next phase in film and video resolution after 4K) and HFR (which brings twice the temporal detail) such a good thing, or do we need to adapt our editing, lighting, and the other cinematic tools in order to create what I like to call, Cinematic Misdirection?

What do you think? Let us see your thoughts in the comments.

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