Definition August 2021 - Web

No recent innovation is as contentious as high frame rate technology. But can it be cracked, is it worth the pursuit, and what place does it hold – if any – in the future of film? HIGHLY DIVISIVE 120FPS C I NEMA | INDUSTRY


ABOVE Keen to experience new filmmaking technology wherever possible, DOP Eben Bolter recently put his skilled hand to Percival, a short virtual production

L et me establish early, I’m very pro- Eben Bolter. “It’s completely intertwined with film as an art form – more so than any other medium, I believe. “We’ve had 120 years of motion picture at this point. In that time, innovations have come and gone. Some have worked, some haven’t. But, as it stands, high frame rate isn’t doing well.” technology and think the advancement of it within our industry is a great thing,” says director of photography,

we’re used to. James Cameron’s Avatar sequels and Andy Serkis’s Animal Farm are set to use the technique alongside motion capture performance. The result is difficult to describe to those yet to experience it for themselves. Some would call it smooth, others unnatural, but there’s no shortage of opinions out there. You’ll find a host of videos online comparing cinematic 24fps with 60fps and beyond. “There’s a particular experience of watching a movie that we, as humans, have evolved into,” Bolter continues. “We’ve grown up as viewers, and there’s certainly a nostalgia in that, but it teaches you how to watch a movie. You learn how to give yourself over to a story and suspend

HFR recording is nothing new, especially in the context of the fast-moving production world. Still, there have only been a handful of western feature films screened at frame rates beyond the standard 24fps. In recent years, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy and Ang Lee’s Gemini Man were subject to mixed reviews from audiences and critics alike. The former took tentative steps in a new direction at 48fps, while the latter leaned into visual rarity at 120fps – five times the number of frames

Innovations have come and gone... but, as it stands, high frame rate isn’t doing well

AUGUST 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 27

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