So the new thing for professional filmmakers is shooting in high frame rates: 48 fps. Jackson is doing it for The Hobbit, and Cameron is doing it for Avatar 2. If these films are successful—excuse me, when these film are successful, expect to see more blockbusters moving to the format, and probably charging you more for the pleasure.
Now, Crunch Gear has an excellent explanation of what this means in terms of how film works, how TV works, and how the new high frame rate works. If you’re curious on a geek level about why frame rates are the way they are, you should read it. There’s one bit, though, I want to pull from this:
The negative reaction to high framerates is also associational. For decades we’ve watched cheaply-produced TV shows shot on video tape or transmitted live at an end framerate of 60i. Flat lighting, bad production in general, and small screens have for our entire lives associated high framerates with low quality.
Here’s the thing. I (or rather my cinematographer, who owns the camera) shoot on high definition video. Because that’s what we can afford. There are a lot of tricks and plugins and processes that we can run that high def video through to make it look like film, which means that we’re trying to degrade the video to make it look more expensive.
I know, right?
Now! Two of the biggest directors in the world are working on the most hotly anticipated movies, and these movies that are going to “break” the look of what a blockbuster film is. They are not going to look like films you’ve seen before, they’re going to look like video. And this is going to cause some cognitive dissonance for older audiences. And then people will get over it.
Except that once Hollywood gets audiences to accept that shooting at high framerates doesn’t register emotionally as “this looks cheap,” then they’ve undermined the major obstacle between Hollywood Films and amateur filmmakers. You’ll still have to worry about depth of field, lighting, Mise-en-scène and all the stuff that truly separates a filmmaker from someone shooting a home video, but the last stronghold of “Film” as a piece of celluloid that runs through a shutter will have been breached.
Think about this: amateurs like me, film students, independent filmmakers; we won’t have to process our digital video to make it look like a 35mm camera that was invented decades ago, because professional movies will be made to look like digital. The mountain came to us.