We have repeatedly wondered if HFR or high frame rate (48, 60, 90 or 120 fps) is suitable for cinema or should it only be in sports, documentary and video game content, because of that lacks the classic 24 fps “cinematic feel” we are so used to.
The film industry has also been evaluating different options for some time with controversial releases that have attempted to bring these higher frames per second rates closer to screens without much interest or consumer acceptance.
It is now a specialist in special effects, Douglas Trumbull, who has pointed out that the main problem with these systems, the famous “soap opera”, is nothing more than a simple problem to be solved with current technology and in applying a simple trick: artificially add “flicker” or flicker when playing videos.
Trumbull has been responsible for overseeing visual effects on iconic movie titles such as “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Encounters in the Third Phase”, “Star Trek: The Movie”, “Blade Runner” or “The Tree” of life “. , and according to an interview published by RedShark, the key to the problem is:
Very few people in Hollywood understand how movies work, they don’t realize that all the projection systems installed now are digital, and they don’t produce vibrations in the images, there is no flicker, the main difference between movies and TV recordings. So if you introduce digital flicker when projecting a movie, it can look completely cinematic even if you increase the frame rate to 120 or 160 fps.
Trumbull also argues that the technology to add this artificial flicker is already within the grasp of content editors and projection systems, and that HFR would allow enhancement with less blur and an improved sense of movement.
HFR in our smart TVs
Can this be transferred to TV? It seems so. Even now, some high-end models have the motion enhancement feature called “inserting black frames” or inserting black frames between real ones in film, trying to mimic the behavior of old tube monitors or plasma screens.
This specialist’s proposal would go in that direction and allow us to see movies at 60 or 120 fps on compatible TVs with some sort of additional retouching that would add that artificial flicker and maintain that cinematic feel that we are so used to.
However, if the advantages of HFR are indisputable when it comes to improving the fluidity and sharpness of videos, we must not forget that its use is not that simple, since it involves a certain hyperrealistic aspect. Most of the time a little uncomfortable. . It creates the feeling that we are not watching a movie but a documentary or even a video game.
The cause is partly in the telenovela effect mentioned above which with the possible solution of Trumbull would be attenuated, but it is also that the creation of digital and analog effects at 60 or 120 fps is infinitely more complex, since these effects must be more perfect to deceive the viewer.
This means more time to complete them, more processing power, better clothes, sets, settings, makeup and, ultimately, a higher production cost.