When more than ten years ago Peter Jackson was shooting “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” at twice the usual frame rate, i.e. at 48 fps instead of 24 fps, many have been criticized for it. High frame rate (HFR) or high frame rate video playback in the cinema world.
The idea behind this recording technique is basically to improve the smoothness of video footage with more movement, which is appreciated in fast action scenes and should theoretically offer a big improvement in cinema. But unfortunately, this is not always the case, or at least not for all audiences. So we are already in the middle of 2022 and I have not yet managed to get used to the HFR.
We currently have access to all kinds of video content recorded with high frame rates, both on UHD Blu-ray and from some streaming video sites such as YouTube, which support the famous 60 fps without problem, being able to access documentary content, video games, sports, demonstrations to see the spectacular character of new televisions and even films that are still rare.
HFR in cinema: advantages and disadvantages
The new speeds of representation of images on the screen above the classic 24 fps for cinema, or the 25 and 30 fps used in television standards would in theory bring us smoother sequences, especially in lateral and vertical movements. cameras, as well as an increase in the sharpness of object movements against a static background.
When it comes to watching documentaries, games and sports recordings, there is undoubtedly a significant improvement that allows us to better appreciate the small details, however, if we use it for films, series and some documentaries or even television programs, we will probably perceive some loss of that cinematic aspect to which we are so accustomed.
Or at least that’s what some users, myself included, notice when watching certain content, especially movies, recorded in this format, such as “Gemini Man” shot at 120 fps and presented in digital formats at 60 fps.
It is true that moving objects on the screen remain sharp and the micro details of the image, the pores and hairs on the skin of the characters, the screws and the texture of weapons, clothing, etc. appreciate each other much better. It also gives a certain feeling of being in front of a more three-dimensional image, especially when you are in front of a human figure in front of a static background.
It seems that the characters in the foreground “pop out” of the screen and there are different levels of depth, especially when the camera moves slightly around the actors and in slow vertical and horizontal pans. You may also see improved sharpness and definition of text and isolated objects moving across the screen. Signs on buildings are easier to read and some moving textures are better appreciated and stand out somewhat compared to 24 fps recordings.
However, all of these enhancements give the image a certain hyper-realistic look which is somewhat uncomfortable most of the time. This generates the feeling that we are not facing a film but rather a video game.
So far, the cinema recorded and broadcast with HFR looks more like a video recorded with a mobile phone or a home camera than a blockbuster, which is magnified in the action scenes thanks to the fluidity of the movements.
Is this effect really that exaggerated? Below I suggest you see a series of examples with varied content from cinema, documentaries and demonstration videos so that you can form your own opinion.
To see it in all its glory, make sure the “60 fps” or “48 fps” option is selected in the YouTube settings menu where we also choose the resolution.
Examples of films, documentaries and sports with HFR
We start with a scene from the movie “Gemini Man” shown at 60 fps with Full HD and 4K resolution where we can enjoy a chase with pans and camera movements, especially on the horizontal axis, and this hyper-realistic aspect that we mentioned earlier.
The following video shows a scene from the UHD Blu-ray “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” which was shot at 120 fps and distributed in optical format at a frame rate of 60 fps.
In the following video we have a Netflix short called “Meridian” which may well be the representative of the current series or TV movies and which shows some interesting scenes recorded at 60 fps.
Next, we have a trailer for ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, displayed at 48 fps although unlike the rest of the videos in the comparison, this one was made with software interpolation. It does, however, give us an idea of what the film originally looked like when it was shown in theaters at this frame rate.
The following video is a tech demo from LG to show the benefits of its OLED TVs which shows a series of indoor scenes shot at 60 fps and where you can also see great fluidity in the movement of the characters on screen. ‘screen.
Next we have a snowboarding video where we can see high-speed movements with horizontal and vertical panoramas that are presented with greater fluidity of movement as well as increased detail and less “blur” effect in moving characters.
What follows is “EVERGREEN”, a quiet documentary filmed in Mount Rainier, Washington that shows multiple 60 fps nature footage with shots without much general movement but slow panoramas, rivers, waterfalls and sequences detail where an improvement in sharpness can be seen over the conventional 30 fps version.
To Xatakahome | I saw my first full movie at 60fps and that’s what I thought of using HFR for cinema