Movie Standard Annoyances

Movies no longer work at 24 frames per second.

There was a point where for standardisation reasons and cost effectiveness 24 frames per second was set for movie shooting. It was seen as close to the point (on the above side) where human eyes would perceive motion and also use less film in old cameras. This would reduce cost, keep people happy with what they were seeing and standardise an industry which was up until then ruled by each cinema and producer (or otherwise the person who shot the movie). This worked fine for a long time as film cameras were mechanical and built to purpose by a small number of companies.

We have out grown this

We have technology that far exceeds the limits and even imaginations of movie producers and cinemas for the better part of two decades or even more.

Why in this digital age do we still insist on shooting at these, let's face it, archaic speeds following standards which were set by people who could never imagine what we as a people are capable of today.

This may seem superfluous and exagerated, but it is true. Movie making is out of date.

I bring this up as I have just been to see the latest in the Fast & Furious (previously The Fast and The Furious) series. A movie so immense in its action and pace that I am actually having a hard time taking it all in. It was staggering. And not for any other reason than it was non stop from start to finish.

It was and indeed is hard to keep up with because of the sheer pace if the movie. The name fits, it fits very well.

But with that comes the above problem. This may sound nitpicky and annoying to many who have heard this from a gaming point of view, those who engage in Console vs PC arguments or those who simply enjoy movies but 24 frames per second is no longer viable. It has exceeded its usefulness as a standard, as a cost saving measure and as a yard stick by which we measure motion.

With a movie... Let's back this up again.


Before talkies had synchronous sound and dialogue they were called movies. Movie is short for moving picture.

With a movie that is as fast visually as Fast & Furious 7 or say the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron or realistically any action movie today you care to mention we have engineered an experience that exceeds the ideas and abilities of those who set the standards of 24 frame cinema.

Modern action makes use of filming tricks and technology that were not being introduced, invented or dreamt of when this standard was agreed upon. Fast moving vehicles with power available to them that was simply unthinkable of cars 20 years ago let alone in [insert 24 frame date here], close up action shots of technically amazing fighting and sweeping detailed shots of anything from trees in the country side to bullets lined up on a bench.

All of this is painfully lacking the speed of recording that it needs to pull off smoothly.

I was trying to enjoy the over the top, though technically nonsensical, action during pretty much all of the movie but found myself frustrated by the vast and I mean measurable with a meter stick missing chunks of action.

To clarify, the camera was moving from the right of frame to left while the fight scene rotated from left to right in the space of less than a second in parts and this lead to a or rather many noticeable gaps in the action. The camera and subject were movie in opposing direction so quickly that the scene was jumping from point to point on its travel.

We have gone past the point of some childish argument about which is better, to the reality that 24 frame cinema is negatively impacting the viewing experience of the paying customer.

We NEED a new standard. We have needed a new standard for cinema for a long time. Resolution, recording, projection and even sound have transformed cinema keeping pace with the expectations of movie goers and even advancing now with digital cinema.

But yet we still run 24 frame cinema world wide as the standard.

We are capable of a minimum of 60 frames cinema easily today even in 2k resolutions and beyond. So why are we not using it?


This was originally intended to be a review of Fast 7 and small piece on my annoyance with modern cinema practice. I began writing it in the car on the way home but realised just how backward some of the things we hold to be true these days really are.

I am coming to the point where I simply will not go see action movies any more because I know I will be let down by the quality of what I am paying for. It is sad that is has come to this. Sadder still that we have the ability, technology and physically existing today hardware to fix this issue yet we refuse to re-evaluate our stance on the matter.

This is very much a first world problem but the feelings and opinions set out here apply to a great many actual injustices we have today. We have the technology and hardware today to fix almost any problem before us but we are so set in our ways that we refuse to even acknowledge that they are problems to begin with.

problems = old projectors

solution = new projectors

(Hobbit 1 was already running faster) i think 100FPS? or so and was IMAX.
Simply force Hollywood to make/use new camera's, it will force new movie std.

I know it shown at High frame rate (48fps or double) over here in VERY select cinemas. And I missed it twice. That will not happen again.

but unfortunately they didn't use new format in next following hobbit movies. (1st movie was expensive, and it was very good, rest wasn't... they were cheap and sh*t -- i've heard that last 2 movies used it, but i'm like 100% sure they didn't)

The second one was also in 48 over here.

Annoyingly people who went to see it said it felt fake and like the actors were on a stage in front of them, they did not like it at all.

Because some cheap soap operas are filmed at 60 for TV and look terrible and have even worse production values, many people associate high frame rates with bad shows and cheap productions. Because of this they with out any basis in fact are against the practice. It sucks bad.

no that wasn't a problem. The problem was the 2 other movies were made cheap. There was but a little amount of props, and little detail, poor graphics etc.

Oh I just mean in general over here and in wider audiences. Not specifically hobbit related. Although there was a 48 screening over here.

All three of the Hobbit movies were shot and shown at 48fps in IMAX cinemas. All three looked great in my opinion. The battle scenes were much easier to follow and the landscape shots were smooth as butter. You can tell why James Cameron is taking advantage of high frame rate for his Avatar sequels.

You bring up some very good points. This is a case I have been trying to make for years since before the first Hobbit was released. Other people don't care to realize it, but walk out of the cinema after seeing the Hobbit or spend the same amount of time gaming at 60fps (or higher) and you will notice it in other movies. Whenever the camera is panning left or right there is a stuttering effect that happens when the edges of each frame are clearly visible. Action movies use this technique often, as you mentioned. If you focus on this effect during a movie, it can be headache-inducing. Ignore it and you'll probably be fine, but you're nowhere near the experience that high frame rate offers. That's another half of the movie you're not seeing.

I can't relate to the criticism because to me it's akin to complaining about color being added to films in the mid-1900's. If the technology permits, what on earth's holding us back? There will always be people who wish to use the old method, just as there are directors who still choose to shoot on film. And honestly, I can't imagine watching some of those movies at anything but 24fps, simply due to the way they're filmed. That said, I still think there should still be more examples of the opposite; employing modern technology in a way that keeps evolving to meet new standards, and not just in PC gaming and online videos.

Rant:30 over. For now.

By all.means there are movies that 24 and even.look good because of some of the strangeness.of it. These are fine.

It is.just intense action loses a the process. The only.reason I would say a new standard is that if you have certain movies at 24 and other 48 or above people will notice and for one reason or another be weirded out/anooyed about the changes between movies. A standard would set them.all in line.

But I agree with you.