How Higher Frame Rates Affect Movies

by Christopher Paul on January 11, 2013

I didn’t know movies were or could be recorded at 48 frames per second. But the Hobbit was. Not all showings use High Frame Rate cinematography; some are slowed down by computers. But even though the frame rates are different, they were shot using the same camera. Interestingly, HFR isn’t being well received so far – much like color TV and the CD weren’t initially loved. Kevin Kelly looked into why that is:

Imagine you had the lucky privilege to be invited by Peter Jackson onto the set of the Hobbit. You were standing right off to the side while they filmed Bilbo Baggins in his cute hobbit home. Standing there on the set you would notice the incredibly harsh lighting pouring down on Bilbo’s figure. It would be obviously fake. And you would see the makeup on Bilbo’s in the harsh light. The text-book reason filmmakers add makeup to actors and then light them brightly is that film is not as sensitive as the human eye, so these aids compensated for the film’s deficiencies of being insensitive to low light and needing the extra contrast provided by makeup. These fakeries were added to “correct” film so it seemed more like we saw. But now that 48HFR and hi-definition video mimic our eyes better, it’s like we are standing on the set, and we suddenly notice the artifice of the previously needed aids. When we view the video in “standard” format, the lighting correctly compensates, but when we see it in high frame rate, we see the artifice of the lighting as if we were standing there on the set.

Eventually, people grew to love color TV and the CD and he thinks HFR won’t be much different.

I had no desire to see the Hobbit but I’m intrigued by the frame rate and just might have to see the differences for myself.

via Kottke

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