24p: overrated

Stefan Sargent is a veteran cameraman/director/editor with untold years of experience. And in his latest article he takes on the legacy of 24p. As I too suggest: stay away from 24p. It’s overrated. The “film look” is not 24p, it’s a combination of at least 10 different things. Especially now that we have a TV at home that “smooths out” 24p movies to the point that you think that they are 30p or higher, it makes no longer sense to me seeing people shooting at 24fps, which is a frame rate that we are stuck since 1924 for technical reasons rather than aesthetical reasons. Anyways, read his article and take his advice on stop shooting 24p with your HV20 without understanding why you are doing so.

Update: Hollywood director James Cameron agrees.


l3v1 wrote on March 19th, 2008 at 4:25 AM PST:

24p alone giving a film look is of course stupid. Not unlike saying things like “without understanding why you are doing so”.

Jorge wrote on March 19th, 2008 at 7:01 AM PST:

I guess the real panacea will be 1080p60 (if we finally reach there some day).

jdv wrote on March 19th, 2008 at 7:24 AM PST:

I have been contemplating 24p but had been put off by the lengthy procedures and complications seen. Thank you! Great article too

fsnobs wrote on March 19th, 2008 at 9:17 AM PST:

24p is as needed as a shallow depth of focus. Both are legacy things being sold as a feature to snobs.

mic wrote on March 19th, 2008 at 11:41 AM PST:

This is actually a quite drastic statement. What’s unfortunate about video versus books is that with video you don’t have to really have any imagination. So sometimes its what’s NOT in a film that makes it a work of art.

memsom wrote on March 19th, 2008 at 12:03 PM PST:

24p for a movie, bloofy hell that’s cheap!! Blockbuster charges £4.99 a rental these days!!

(sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Dave Rosky wrote on March 19th, 2008 at 1:41 PM PST:

He’s right on. This isn’t the first time we’ve gone through this issue of people wanting new technology to act/look/sound like old, or trying to add features to new technology to make it look or sound like old.

Some probably remember when tube amplifiers were replaced by solid state. The solid state amps reproduced sound more faithfully than the tube amps, but folks had gotten used to the old distortions.

Same thing when CD’s replaced vinyl. The CD’s reproduced sound more faithfully than vinyl, but a lot of people complained about this cleaner sound.

Now we have video. Clearly 60i (or even 30P) reproduces motion more faithfully than 24P, yet people want to make their videos look like 90 year old technology.

Having said that, in low light, there may be some noise advantage to shooting 24P, but that’s only because consumer cams have such small imaging sensors.

kiwi wrote on March 19th, 2008 at 6:09 PM PST:

And interlacing is such a new technology from 1932 and results in great artifacts that we all should learn to love. 🙂

Dave Rosky wrote on March 20th, 2008 at 9:47 AM PST:

“And interlacing is such a new technology from 1932 and results in great artifacts that we all should learn to love.”

It’s true, interlacing is an old technology and may probably also be abandoned at some point. But interlacing is a bit of a special case. The thing about interlacing is that it’s actually a very clever way to double the visual resolution capacity of a limited bandwidth channel. For this reason, I think interlacing may still stay relevent wherever there are limited bandwidtdh channels, such as in television broadcasting.

It should, however, disappear in applications such as camcorders and DVD distribution of content where there is no bandwidth limitation.

John wrote on March 21st, 2008 at 4:42 AM PST:

What about PAL, should we also stay away from 25p?? I think not, unless we want to go from 50i to 50p during post-processing. Shooting in 50i and then deinterlacing to 25p does not make sense when you can shoot in 25p in the first place.

He seems to confuse shutter speed with frame rate. “On a sunny day it will be something like F5.6 or F8 at 125 fps. And you thought you were shooting 60i.”

Sagefox wrote on March 22nd, 2008 at 7:55 AM PST:

OK, film student now present
24p does matter
The article is right – panning is jerky…
…on both film and video.
Thats where it stops.
What he fails to mention is the smoothness of human motion, which is generally much slower than a pan.
What gives away a cheap low budget picture is something very subtle, a filter which prevents the audience from appreciating characters or story.
That filter is the ‘shallow’ motion of 60/30 fps, blown out whites, and poor black levels.

Unintuitively, more is actually not better. 24p will add a sense of granduer to character movements, and cinelook will give you the balanced color palate. This 24p is not all made up huey, even though we would all like to believe it is because it would save us the stress of conversion.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on March 22nd, 2008 at 1:38 PM PST:

>This 24p is not all made up huey

I believe it is. It’s just something that people are used to. If all films were filmed in 60p, people would be used to, and no one would want to watch 24p movies. Just like we don’t want to watch Charlie Chaplin in fast motion.

Tony Parenti wrote on March 22nd, 2008 at 8:06 PM PST:

I, having owned both an HV20 and now an HV30, like the look of 24p over 60i. In particular I love the new 30p mode of the HV30. First and foremost, my LCD TV does not deinterlace 60i video properly so when shooting 24p/30p I get a better end result to my television.

Brian Boyko wrote on March 23rd, 2008 at 12:07 PM PST:

I agree with the idea that 24p isn’t panacea, but it’s the standard; more importantly, I have a Canon HV20, and that has 60i and 24p modes. I would prefer a 30p mode, but I’ll take progressive over interlaced any day, and so, I’m going with 24p.

Ultimately, I think that motion blur on 24p is less distracting than interlacing artifacts on 60i.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on March 23rd, 2008 at 12:27 PM PST:

Brian, I don’t see your problem. If your TV or your software has a good de-interlacer, you are good to go. It’s as good as progressive, you can’t see the difference.

As for HV20’s progressive 24p, only 18 frames are progressive, the rest 12 are interlaced.

Tony Parenti wrote on March 27th, 2008 at 5:14 PM PST:

Quite honestly Eugenia, your Jellyfish clip on vimeo is 24p and if it was 60i I don’t think it would have had as much appeal..

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on March 27th, 2008 at 10:29 PM PST:

My jellyfish video is 24p because I needed the extra focus/light performance on the low-light conditions of the aquarium. Otherwise, if I had more light over there, there would be no chance in hell that this would be 24p.

And yes, at 60i it would have been even better.

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