Over at Variety is an interview with James Cameron. You can check it out HERE. I have always had kind of mixed feelings about Cameron. Having never met him, all I have to go by is his body of work, behind the scenes footage of him at work and interviews.
He has always seemed like an egotistical self important elitist to me. Ahh but there is always the adage that one must separate the artist from the art. And I DO try to do that.
I really thought that the Abyss (the abuse, according to the crew on that shoot) was a very entertaining but flawed film. For me, his best work was:
Terminator 2. I watched part of the filming of this as I lived a few blocks from one of the locations (the scene where the semi-truck crashes into the flood control channel). The film is not perfect by any means (the desert scene slows the pacing needlessly, Edward Furlong could not act in the film to save his life).
But I still love the film.
So why am I linking to this article about Cameron? Because I think he says some things here that I seriously agree with. And while the majority of the article is about 3D (and having only 1 good eye, 3D is meaningless to me), he does point out a few things that I do agree with.
One of those things is that Godard had it backwards. I always thought that cinema was a contrivance meant to fool us into thinking it was reality. Otherwise, if it WAS truth, we would not need to exercise a willing suspension of disbelief. Because Godard was held in high esteem in many of the art circles, his statement of "Cinema is truth told at 24fps" tended to be unassailable.
24p - Please die.
The other thing that Cameron mentions is that 24 FPS needs to go away. That this is a framerate that has seen it's day and now needs to be replaced. Douglas Trumbull did research into determining the best framerate for the human eye and settled on 60FPS:
A 16 fps rate was the first speed established as the minimum required to sustain the illusion of continuous presence of a motionless image presented through a sequence of stills. The 24 fps rate was adopted later to improve the fidelity of optical sound tracks. The perception of an uninterrupted flow of motion, free from stroboscopic effects, requires a still higher frame rate. Through experiments conducted at Future General Corporation, the joint Trumbull/Paramount Pictures research division, Douglas Trumbull determined that the effective maximum frame rate should be 60.
Today, in the indie film world, 24fps tends to be upheld as the holy grail of film look. This combined with narrow depth of field, cinematic lighting and cinema style camera handling are all being pursued to make video look like film.
Now, if you are going to be distributing on film, 24p makes sense to me. But if the final delivery medium is video, then I think it is not necessary. The visual cadence of 24 fps provides a level of psychological deception since this cadence is what we have become accustomed to watching films for the last 70 years or so.
Guess what? HD and it's higher end bretheren are here to stay. Film is going to go the way of the dinosaurs. It's time to acclimate to what video is. It's time to embrace the superior look of 60 FPS. It's time to let go of the past.
I have posted about this in the past and been vilified for it. Stephan Sargent posted about it a few weeks ago HERE and was vilified for it. Mark my words, those of you in the 24p camp will come around eventually. I long for the day when 24p is used only to provide a retro look.