I remember being very young (maybe 13) at the movie theater looking at how the fast moving pictures created the illusion of motion. As the projector accelerated the pictures came to life seamlessly except for a few shots that at times seemed to be stuttering. This is something that troubled me, and as always I needed to know what was it and why was it happening.
With time and observation I came to realize that the stuttering happened on pan shots. The faster they the DP panned, the choppier the movement. At this point it was not hard to decipher that at 24 frames per second, a full screen change would be more prone to flicker than a static shot with few areas moving, hence the stuttering effect. Later in life while becoming an audio, video and film professional, I learned the seven second rule and how to deal properly with frame rates and their limitations.
Now transitioning to HD we are moving away from the NTSC standard of 29.97 fps to a more film-like 23.97 bringing back the old stuttering and seven second rule to a higher resolution screen and sharper images producing an even more evident choppiness to the motion.
Here is where my client, a producer from an agency I usually work for came to me in absolute panic. What has your editor done with my commercial? He asked. After doing post-production and production for so long, there are very few things our experienced editors can do to destroy a commercial in a post production work flow. So I walked in the room to asses the situation. Our star producer was complaining about a choppy motion in certain shots of the commercial. He blamed all, from the editor to the monitor to the light in the room. That’s when I had my flash back, 13 years old at the movies. Needless to say that at this point our experienced editor was ready to chop some producer’s head.
I took my time to explain the situation along with the seven second rule and how the DP should know about this film 101 concept. At this point, a secure experienced producer without knowledge of the matter and a minimum of humility would ponder on the situation and thank you for the information provided, unfortunately that was not the case. The issue escalated to every single person in the facility being blamed for the unprofessional work performed and the lack of knowledge of the technical staff.
There is nothing more harmful than the ego, it will make you blind, def but unfortunately not mute. The things said on an ego trip can never be taken back, be mindful of your ego. Tame the monster and make this world a little bit better.
From now on, we only shoot at 300 frames per second.