60 fps video, Part II

Following up my previous post, I did some more tests with my 60fps-capable digicam and here are the results. The 320×240 video was shot at 60 fps MotionJpeg and then re-encoded as 30fps and 60fps in h.264. The 60 fps video is re-encoded at 512kbps and the 30fps at 384kbps (I did that so both get a similar visual quality as the 30fps version has fewer frames to store). The 30fps video shows the kind of smoothness that you normally get by most digicams, smartphones and even consumer camcorders today. The 60fps video is visibly smoother, and that makes it the best choice for sports shooting (although I wouldn’t mind “Lost” at 60fps even if it would require some “getting used to”). Apparently, the first consumer camcorders that can shoot HD in 720p 60fps are expected next year. For now, your best bet would be a $6000 Panasonic camera (not miniDV).

If you are watching the following videos with Quicktime instead of another mp4 plugin, please play them back 2-3 times each because at their first run QuickTime drops frames… VLC is even worse in that respect.

30 fps video

60 fps video

The 60fps idea is mostly something that directors must acknowledge or get taught at, rather than a technical limitation. It’s just that everyone shoots at 24fps in the industry (mostly because that’s what projectors at the cinemas do) and they follow that trend like sheep. Hopefully, an art professor somewhere will put enough persuasion on his students so the next generation of directors will take advantage of the current & future technology.


mikesum32 wrote on May 26th, 2007 at 4:26 AM PST:

You’d have to change all of the film projectors, or else everything would be in slow motion.

60 hz is about 30 fps since it NTSC shows 60 interlaced fields per second. It has to do with the frequency of the electricity .

Although, CRTs would be able to handle 60 fps nicely depending on the resolution.

I still love my CRT, although I’ve heard good things about LCD and plasma displays. I’m really looking forward to SED. Can you say 1 ms respose time and at least 50,000:1 contrast ratio?

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Eugenia wrote on May 26th, 2007 at 4:28 AM PST:

There’s this new TV that does 120 Hz, I think it’s from JVC, but I can’t remember exactly.

BTW, theater projectors are at 48fps in reality (they are showing the same frame twice). More over, 60fps is totally doable on today’s HDTVs (NTSC/PAL do not matter anymore for the next-gen TVs). In fact, FOX and ABC that broadcast at 720p instead of 1080i do show 60fps (30fps x 2, same trick as the theater projectors). So, the technology and bandwidth needed is already here, all it’s needed is that directors start shooting at 60fps instead of 24/30 fps and that 60fps cameras become a bit cheaper.

mikesum32 wrote on May 26th, 2007 at 6:23 AM PST:

I believe you are incorrect.

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Eugenia wrote on May 26th, 2007 at 6:27 AM PST:

Well, the P means “progressive”. Progressive is 60 fps and Interlaced is 30 fps. So basically, when you watch ABC and FOX at 720p, you watch 60fps (actually it’s 30×2 just because their source footage was not shot at 60 fps), and when you watch any other HD channel is usually 1080i, which is at only 30 fps. NTSC has nothing to do with the issue as long as you are using an HD TV and not a traditional receiver.

Here are two articles which are enforcing my view: 1, 2 (scroll down). So basically, it’s just a matter of replacing the current HD cameras with 60fps-capable cameras and shoot with them. The rest of the technology/bandwidth needed is all in place!

The current Blu-Ray/HD-DVDs progressive video disks are unfortunately encoded at either (24 or 30 fps)x2 just because they were shot that way. Sucks to have bought the right equipment to do Progressive at 60fps, and yet no director is shooting at these frame rates!

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Eugenia wrote on May 26th, 2007 at 7:54 AM PST:

It’s just a matter of getting used to it, in my opinion. After you go 60fps for a couple of weeks, you wouldn’t want to go back… There was a resistance against speech cinema and color too, but eventually, technology won…

Gianluca wrote on May 26th, 2007 at 10:29 AM PST:

The 24p shooting rate will not go away anytime soon (the costly shooting equipment is mostly of this type) but recently 48p digital cinema camera are starting to be designed, not 60 for reason of backward compatibility i suppose. For adopting faster frame rate you have to consider two disavantages tought. The first is that faster frame rate is well suited for consumer use and live tv broadcasting (better natural motion), but for movies the 24p is part of how the movies are ‘felt’ and actually actual director use careful shooting tecniques to avoid any strange result. The second (and more important) is that double frame rate mean also the need for instrument capables of handling the doubled bandwidth and the need of double space for storage, which in movies is already massive.

For consumer products… As said 60fps should be handled by every LCD panel out there, so consumer products are already ready. Most CRT are surely not capable of displaying 60 fps without interlacing them, but is really not a big deal.

120 Hertz LCD as you says are starting to popping out, for a simple motivation that you have touched : being capable of displaying 24p AND 30p content without nasty conversion. Using 120 you can simply reproduce every frame sent by a x5 or x4 factor and you’re done, motion remains fluid with these tecnique. Actual HD sets (Panels and HD player) are unfortunately mostly 60 Hz, while BD and HD-DVD are recorded at 24p, so some sort of algorithm decides to insert frames to compensates for this. The results are sometimes pretty bad. Fortunately practically all major manufacturer will start introducing these panels, improving quality. For HD players there are some, for example the recent update (1.80) of the Playstation 3 added 24p playback.

McKack wrote on May 26th, 2007 at 12:52 PM PST:

Indeed, one of the reasons movies look like movies is the framerate. You get a whole other feel of 60fps and movies will look/feel like soap operas or documentaries if they are shot and played back at 60fps.

I read about this interesting theory that we humans feel a subconsious comfort watching movies in the 24-30fps range because of back in the days when people would gather around a flickering camp fire and tell stories.

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