Slugline. Simple, elegant screenwriting.

Red Giant Color Suite, with Magic Bullet Looks 2.5 and Colorista II

  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz

Me on 24p

For some reason I thought it would be a good time to repost this video interview I did with Rick young of MacVideo back in 2010. (Click on through if my wonky embed doesn’t work.)

See also: Movies at High Frame Rates

Reader Comments (20)

Stu, I've been reading Prolost for years, but I just finally had to become a member so that I could thank you for this.

December 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterRobert Rossello

Great stuff.

December 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterRyan Farnes

This is already a classic. And part of a very inspiring interview too.

December 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterSamuel H

Long live the 24p!!! I also think that 24p it´s going to be an artistic choice just like filming on digital or film, 3d or 2d, etc.


December 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterMatias Rispau

You just spat in the face of Peter Jackson and James Cameron.

And you're right.


December 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterSteven Bills

I am still intrigued to see 48fps 3D. I already agree with you Stu, but still I just want to see it for myself to confirm.

Lets think this through. Much of the industry leaders like James Cameron and Peter Jackson are already on board. Is it possible there is at least a smidgen of merit to 48fps?

Maybe the future is variable rate. Theoretically, that wouldnt be very difficult for a specially programmed projector to change it's framerate speed at specified points.

24p for the majority of a film and then kick into 48 fps when an action set piece begins, showing off all the detail and exhilaration of all the shit flying on screen.

Its the action possibilities that makes Cameron so obsessed with 48 fps right?

Dual/Hybrid framerate. Something to ponder.

-Mike Datny

December 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterMichael Datny

I would definitely go for variable rate, and The Hobbit would probably be a best case scenario for that: keep 24p for most of the movie, and use 48p for the aerials, establishing shots, etc (those epic images with a bunch of people walking on the ridge of a snowed mountain).

And they could do that if they wanted: they just have to project 48p repeating even frames and throwing away odd frames, then show every single frame when one of those epic shots comes by.

I would probably keep action scenes at 24p, though.

(The bad news for is that this probably makes no business sense for the industry: why upgrade your projector if 48p is only going to be used for 2% of the film? So 48p for the whole film is what they'll try tu force feed you)

December 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterSamuel H

There is a variable everyone is missing in their dismissal of HFR. And it actually follows from what Stu already says in this interview. A simple logical chain. 3D is a step towards reality. 3D wants to be real. It doesn't want to be magical, it doesn't want to be dream-like. If you shoot 3D you strive for hyperealism, period (or you are ignorant, or forced by the studios to do it, but that's your problem, not mine; ignorance is not an excuse). And 3D desperately needs to be HFR because strobing and motion blur in 3D are abominable. They are not the magical unreal qualities of 2D cinema, they are just ugly eye-killing and headache inducing artifacts. So yes, 3D sucks and all, but if we need to endure it, it better be HFR. People shouldn't translate their love of 2D artifacts in the 3D case automatically

Besides, it is not a simple matter of frame rate only. In fact, 24p at 360 degree shutter looks even more fluidly videoish than 30p at 180 degree shutter. What makes TV look like TV is the full time interlaced image recording of the TV tube in the first place, and just then the frame rate. It just so happens that in terms of non-film perception the importance of the shutter angle decreases and the importance of the frame rate increases when you increase frame rate

December 6, 2012 | Registered Commentercpc

Yes... Everything is a "ride" film now - And like going to the amusement park with the kids, seeing a movie at the "theatreplexus" is something I'll do once a year.

December 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterMatt Moses

I'm going to tweet this now. I have long agreed with every assertion you made. Thanks for sharing!

P.S. I remember that Daviau job many years ago. I got the call to work on that, but turned it down.

Illya Friedman
Hot Rod Cameras

December 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterIllya Friedman

Amen. Preach it.

December 6, 2012 | Registered Commentertest

I agree that framerates around about this speed are the sweet spot, but working in broadcast, in a country that uses PAL as the standard, treating 24p as the one and only holy grail has caused no shortage of problems for us.

I challenge anyone to be able to tell the difference between 24p and 25p, but because almost all the information on the net says to shoot in 24p, we've had a number of people deliver TVCs in 24p, and expect it to be played out on PAL with no problems. I guess you could argue that its their fault for not checking the broadcast standards etc, but it still doesn't reflect well on us when we have to tell the client we can't play their commercial which they've paid good money for.

As for the comments about variable frame rates, I've effectively seen this happen a lot in television, were an editor/producer has unsuspectingly mixed progressive and interlaced vision, so when it goes to air, a 25p shot will cut to a 50i shot, effectively doubling the frame rate. Its actually a quite visually jarring, and i really wouldn't recommend it.

My advice would simply be: decide what you want your film to look like. A 24p feature, or a 48p carnival ride, then make the movie consistently to those technical specifications/limitations.

December 9, 2012 | Registered Commentergeoff murphy

I think there's a difference between 2d film at 24 fps and a 3d film at 48 fps. We're really talking about two different things here. I don't think I've ever heard Cameron say that he'd film and release a 48 fps film with the intention of projecting it at 48 in 2d. Just like Stu says in this interview, we've seen that and it doesn't work for films.

But I'm really hoping 48 fps makes 3d films more enjoyable, because at their current form they pretty much suck. And one of the reasons is because they are so stroby especially with faster paced camera movement, a higher frame rate might make them more watchable. Maybe there is a place for 48 fps in the 3d world. But I definitely agree it doesn't belong in 2d.

December 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterNick K

Interesting comments about the Hobbit frame rate (unless the reporter lurks around here):

December 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterSolie Swan

"to write is to cut words off" - quote from a famous brazilian writer.
When Michlangelo was asked how he was able to sculpt such a perfect horse, he answered that he just cut off anything that was not a horse.
I thing you're in good company, Stu. Thanks for the post.

December 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterMarco Abujamra

Great analysis Stu. I love the look of 24p, and your description of why is dead on. That being said, I'm really intrigued by the idea of seeing a new medium develop. HFR 3D is not film, and I don't think it needs to be pigeonholed as a "carnival ride". The combination of increased resolution, projection scale, 3-D, and frame rates, lead to something else that could be used effectively in a narrative form. Telling stories in a medium that is "hyper real" also has the potential to be "magical". Maybe even in a way similar to theater. These stories will just look different, not like "film", or video, but something different with all kinds of potential. Hopefully 24p can co-exist with emerging technologies, and we won't be reduced to a winner take all approach to formats.

Thanks for sharing your insight.

December 17, 2012 | Registered Commenterbart stevens

So spot on - thank you for your insight.
One question so - do you have any idea where that "benny hill" movement comes from thats so apparent in the hobbit? any theory?

December 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterfALk Gärtner

Those TVs are the worst!

December 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterAndrew Alden Miller

see also

The argument for higher frame rates go hand in hand with the argument than cinema needs to be more immersive. Truly appreciating a Picasso does NOT require one to feel that you are INSIDE the painting. Tell a good story and project on the big screen, if that isn't immersive enough tell a better story!

December 19, 2012 | Registered Commenterjim bachalo

I think people's reaction to HFR and video in general is similar or perhaps the same as the "uncanny valley" revulsion effect for more realistic animation. It's closer to reality than film but not quite there our brains reject for the same reasons. Not knowing what to expect with HFR I couldn't believe how horrible it looked. I couldn't watch it to completion. More surreal images are more acceptable to our brains as "beautiful" than HFR, for example, even psychedelic HDR time lapses are considered more beautiful than HFR.

April 22, 2013 | Registered CommenterJohn Novotny
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