DISCLAIMER: For consistency and argument's sake, I'll be saying 60fps for the remainder of this post when in some cases it may be 48fps.
The cinema is a place for us to escape reality, but does that mean the movies we watch should be that far removed from the real world? For decades upon decades, the film industry has evolved, but one thing has remained almost constant: frame rate. This has been a controversial topic in the gaming world for years, however it's not as common that you hear frame rate discussed amongst film fans.
24-30 frames per second is the norm for the majority of today's films, with a handful of films shot in 60 frames per second thrown into the mix. A lot of the general moviegoing population is reluctant to undergo a change in frame rate for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is simply part of human nature; the fact that people aren't always willing to accept change. The "Framerate Debate" has been raging between fans for years, even though it's a lesser known debate, usually overshadowed by the latest controversies. However, the question remains:
What's the Difference?
Well that's a somewhat complicated question, as there are a multitude of factors that make each frame rate different than the next. In short, the answer would be that 24 frames per second gives a more cinematic feel, with slight motion blur, while 60 frames per second is much smoother, looking extremely realistic. Take a look at this video of a GoPro camera recording the same footage at both 24 and 60 frames per second.
Can you tell the difference?
Some say that with 60fps, films look almost too realistic and create an even bigger sense of falsity than 24fps would. Others say that 60fps creates an overall better movie viewing experience. Neither of these opinions are right or wrong, as they are opinions in an argument comparing apples to oranges. However, in this day and age, we want the latest and greatest innovations, whether it be the newest smartphone, or in this case: the most recent breakthrough in film quality.
Why Hasn't 60fps Become the Industry Standard?
Again, there are multiple reasons as to why mainstream media hasn't converted to 60fps. One of these reasons is the fact that visually, it would take a while to adjust to, and could potentially elicit a mass outrage from the movie-going public. The other big reason is production costs. With about double the frames, it would cost about twice as much to film a movie. Even with the multi-million dollar budgets, that extra money amounts to a large chunk of production expenses.
Why It SHOULD Happen
I say that if one has an opportunity to improve, one should embrace that opportunity. A higher frame rate in the 48-60fps range would vastly improve the quality of our films, and our enjoyment of them. A few films have tested this new development, including The Hobbit, and even though that did not necessarily bode well with audiences, Peter Jackson among others, believes it's the future of cinema. James Cameron also believes this, as he plans to shoot the remainder of the Avatar films in high frame rate format.
I like to think of high frame rate as the next 3D. Not everybody likes it, but it's wormed it's way into mainstream movies. We've seen 3D used in great ways, especially in amusement park attractions such as Disneyland's Star Tours and Muppet Vision 3-D. However, many films today don't make great use of 3-D technology, as it the effect doesn't appear that noticeable in most scenes, and makes the picture extremely dim. High frame rate is trying to combat these problems. Creating a high caliber entertainment experience without the negative effects of 3-D. Regardless, there's still a myriad of opponents to the change.
Why it Shouldn't Happen
While it adds a whole new level of realism, many people express great displeasure in the change, especially because the look of movies that they've been watching for years will all be changed. It appears to be in the best interest of the movie going population at this time.
Simply put, there isn't a demand for films to convert to a higher frame rate. This goes for both the public and filmmakers. It's all about personal tastes, and how we want our movies to look. I personally hope that sometime in the future, this conversion is made, but audiences would need to make a gradual transition. It may not be this year, it may not be in the next 10 years, but with cameras and computer generated effects improving annually, 60 fps may be the way to go.
But these are just my personal thoughts, tell me what you think down below.