On 48fps

I read this:

http://www.eoshd.com/content/7987/advance-press-screenings-of-48fps-the-hobbit-disappoint

…and got quite worked up about it. And, got into a somewhat heated argument with “CJ” about it:

——

ME

I’ve been saying it for as long as I can remember. Increased framerates – real or interpolated (as on your brand new 600mz TV) – may be great for sports, but it is DISASTEROUS for cinema. Please share the link, and then call your TV dealer for a refund on your 600mz TV. Maybe there is still time to put a stop to this madness!!!

CJ

Sure, things like shallow DOF and color grading can be beautiful while taking us further from reality. But I’ve never understood how less choppiness can be a bad thing. I’m not saying you’re wrong, because clearly this is what you’re truly feeling. I’m just saying that the ONLY reason why some people think frame rates over 24 look “cheap” is because it makes them think of soap operas. It’s not the smoothness itself that’s bad, it’s the associations. If you were to show a 24 fps movie and a 48 fps movie to someone from the 17th century, I can’t think of one reason why they would prefer 24 fps.

ME

Ah, Cj,
But I DO think the person from the 17th century would “prefer” 24fps – But I’ll have to write something longer to expand on this, and I’m thumbing it on my phone right now. Give me a few hours…

CJ

Serious question: Do you think a live theater play is too smooth?

ME

No, but it doesn’t contradict my opinion on 48fps – but like I said, I need to be in front of a proper keyboard.

ME

First – does a 48fps image look “better” as in being a more true depiction of what is in front of the camera? YES absolutely. This is why it is great for sports, and this is exactly why it does not work for cinema – cinema as in dramatic storytelling. The fundamental principle of why cinema works, is the “willing suspension of disbelief”. This is the contract between the film and the audience wherein the film says “let me tell you a story” and the audience says “ok, that sounds good, for two hours I will ignore my intellectual knowledge that what you will show me is not real”.
This willing suspension of disbelief is infact aided by any layer of abstraction that keeps the telling of the story, just that – a story. The “imperfections” that a 24fps image provides is such a layer of abstraction. The more “real” the picture becomes, as with 48fps, the harder it becomes for the audience to ignore the real truth – that it is all a scam. The characters are only actors impersonating the characters of the story in environments that are staged for the camera. (No disrespect to all the actors out there that I love all equally).
As to your comparison to theatre, there are other mechanics at work to aid the willing suspension of disbelief, but I would argue that theatre, more that cinema is an acquired taste. I do believe that theatre requires more work on behalf of the audience to fulfill their end of the contract, to willingly suspend their disbelief. So, would theatre be more accessible with a slightly blurry stutter? Yes, possibly.

ME

To put it simpler – at 24fps you’re seeing the character, at 48fps you’re seeing the actor.

ME

And, just to there is no confusion here. This has absolutely nothing to do with digital vs. Film. 35mm motion picture film shot at 48fps and projected at 48fps has the exact same effect. Yes, I have shot this as a test a few years ago.

CJ

I see your point! What I don’t see is what makes frame rate so different from any other arbitrary parameter that could make a movie less “real”. For example, if you watch an anamorphic image that’s not projected correctly, it’s less like reality because it’s stretched out. Does it make it more magical? No. But if that had been the only way we had watched movies for 100 years, most people would probably call it “part of the cinema experience”. Of course it’s a silly example, but still a valid one I think.

I remember watching action scenes as a kid, often confused because I couldn’t really tell what was going on. Partly because of VHS “quality”, partly because of pan and scan, and of course partly because some directors like to “hide” their boring action behind close-ups and camera shakes. But also because of the frame rate. When I see a fairly fast landscape pan on the big screen, I’m often too distracted by the jittering to actually enjoy the scene. I can’t speak for anyone else though. 🙂

CJ

I agree that watching a movie on a TV that makes it look smoother than the director intended is a bad thing.

I’d say I won the argument, at least a little bit;-)

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The Steve Jobs Biography

So, I recently finished “Steve Jobs” and I have to say, that’s not going to be an easy adaptation. Read somewhere recently that Aaron Sorkin (confirmed as screenwriter for the project) seems to not yet have found the way into the material. If he balks, apparently this wouldn’t be the first time he comes up short with a S. Jobs related writing assignment (Jobs asked him to write that commencement speech (stanford?)), but he didn’t do it.

Oh, here’s that link: http://www.macrumors.com/2012/05/17/screenwriter-aaron-sorkin-shares-some-thoughts-about-steve-jobs-biopic-woz-hired-as-advisor/

And about the book… It left me with a feeling of never really getting on the inside of things.