stutterI remember being very young 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 perception 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 effects.

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.

The seven second rule states that an object in frame takes seven seconds to go from one edge to the other when panning. In any case, far from anything technical about it, here’s a story.

A producer from an agency I don’t usually work for came to me in absolute panic! -What has your editor done with my commercial?- He asked. There are few things our experienced editors can do to destroy a commercial in a controlled post-production environment. So I walked in the room to asses the situation. The producer was complaining about choppy motion in certain shots of the commercial, I assume at this point you know what he was referring to. He blamed everybody and everything, from the editor to the monitor to the light in the room. That’s when I had my flash back to that movie theater in Spain. Needless to say that at this point our experienced editor who already explained things patiently was ready to chop some producer’s head.

I took my time to explain the situation along with the seven second rule at no use. No explanation would bring peace to this tortured soul that escalated the problem to proportions unknown to logic.

Happily produzzilla settled for some interpolation not without destroying Tokio in the process.

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.