Given the rich and ever-evolving technology we deal with today, it’s sometimes easy to think that things couldn’t get much better. But the fact of the matter is, while we may be far ahead in one regard compared to years ago, there might be something else we’re lagging behind on. A perfect example of this is the shift from the old-school BIOS to the much more capable UEFI.
Another example has to do with video. Despite our monitors and televisions being able to support 60~240Hz, almost all cinema is shot or at least delivered at 24p or close to it. That equates to roughly 24 FPS, a standard that was originally created when movies were shot to film. Given it’s what people have gotten used to all these years, there’s never been much of a push for change – at least in the professional world (camcorders, digital cameras, et al have been able to shoot at 30 or 60 FPS for some time).
Things could be changing in the future, with both James Cameron and Peter Jackson interested in releasing their next masterpieces with higher framerates – 48 FPS to be exact. At twice the frame rate of a typical movie, the goal is to deliver as smooth an experience as possible while reducing artifacts caused by the the films being shot at 24p.
There is just one problem, however. At 48p, the differences in fluidity will be so noticeable, that it’s going to take some getting used to. At Engadget’s article linked to below, there are two identical videos; one is shot at 50 FPS, with the other having been downsampled to 25 FPS. The differences are clear, but because the samples are so small, it’s impossible to truly understand either the benefits or the downsides based off them. Our first real test will come when either Avatar 2 or Hobbit is released – if your cinema is prepared to support such high framerates.
Since our eyes are capable of seeing much more than 24p, I was always baffled why we stuck to that metric for so long. I’m not going to assume that I’ll fall in love with 48p or higher, but I’m sure willing to give it a test. Are you?