64 Frames Per Second

Horse_gifThat’s a random choice, actually. Because anywhere between the 48 and 120 frames per second at which digital cameras can record looks so real that it… looks fake:

“Hobbiton and Middle Earth didn’t feel like a different universe, it felt like a special effect, a film set with actors in costumes.” His view was widely shared. Alexander D’Aloia wrote, “What 48fps has done is make a prop look like a prop. For example, Gandalf’s staff resembles a hunk of brown plastic, and not a length of wood (see from 1:06).” At 120Hz, your high-definition TV is repeating each frame of Fury Road five times every 24th of a second; as if that weren’t enough, the new 4K television standard puts over eight million pixels on the screen, four times that of HDTV.

Okay. So let me speak for everyone when I say: Enough is enough. This is what we get when we basically allow IT experts to become decision-makers about aesthetics. And this is not to castigate the IT people, per se; it’s only that, they see the world through the lens of technical constraints, and either work to make everything conform to these constraints (classical IT) or work to supersede them, (Digitechnorati) over and over again. They don’t stop to ask whether they should. That’s a question for another department, one that actually doesn’t get to weigh in on this point – the one that, by (high) definition, doesn’t have to ask this question. See? it’s a maddeningly vicious cycle.

And there’s nothing Luddite or purist about this. If you think this is only about art film, look at what TV commercials are doing to our fcking sense of dancing carrots:

We have to be persuaded—of what, exactly, it’s hard to say. But the illusion of dancing vegetables will never work if they are even slightly wilted or misshapen. They must be casually believable, instinctively credible carrots, like those familiar to us from “real life” at 24 frames per second, but also gorgeous, perfect carrots, or their performance will just seem … wrong.

Anyway, good story. Property masters, indeed.

Image: 12 frame long animation made in Flash 8 by rotoscoping horse gallop from Edweard Muybridge “Horses and Other Animals in Motion”, via wikimedia commons.