This past August staff from the S3D Centre directed “L’âme Soeur (Soul Mate) 3D”, the “first variable rate HFR shoot of its kind” as a combination short film / research project.
The research aim of the project? To explore the impact of high frame rates and variable frame rates on the cinematic experience. From the S3D Centre’s blog:
If technology were capable of capturing and displaying a complete narrative that incorporates variable standard and high frame rates, what are the creative benefits/drawbacks of doing so? Does the utilization of HFR as a ‘tool’ in this regard change the immersive experience for the viewer?
“L’âme Soeur (Soul Mate) 3D” was shot on RED epics on a motorized Kernercam stereoscopic 3D rig. In their research they viewed multiple test videos from Park Road Post and Fraunhofer and came to the conclusion that HFR clips had to be judged within the context of a narrative:
An observation I made at the presentation was that it became difficult to appreciate the effects of HFR when clips were presented outside of a narrative context. If HFR is utilized to enhance and tell a better story, then I figured I would like to see it within a story.
This definitely explains why there was a mixed reaction to The Hobbit clips at CinemaCon: the clips were short and out of context. And, of course, they just weren’t finished in terms of VFX and post processing.
The S3D Centre came to the conclusion that HFR and VFR have great potential to augment a filmmaker’s toolkit, pointing to their ability to hand hold a camera rig during a dance performance scene as something they never thought would be possible.
They are incredibly enthusiastic about HFR and VFR:
In looking at the initial footage, we are overwhelmed at its potential to build a better story and also be used as a scientific AND creative learning tool for 3D stereoscopy. We are already making early observations about how the various frame rates relate to one another and can be seen on their own.
I’m very curious to see the finished product (if possible) and to hear more in the forthcoming 2nd and 3rd parts of the S3D Centre’s report on their HFR research. It’s great that an academic/arts institution is making the effort to fully wring as much knowledge as possible from the new technology of high frame rates. Check out their statement on HFR academic research:
HFR Benefits for Academia
HFR creates a multi-faceted dialogue for researchers. Sub topics include: Human perception of higher frame rates; HFR influence on viewer comfort, immersion, narrative understanding, and situational awareness in virtual reality. In the engineering field, of interest would be the research and development of hardware needed to acquire and display content. In computer science, new algorithms could be developed to process and analyze variable frame rate content. HFR also provides a new area of investigation in film theory and production.
Fascinating stuff…I very much look forward to reading their or anyone else’s conclusions and findings on these topics.
Meanwhile, you can check out some sample footage from the S3D Centre in both 24 and 60 fps.
Here’s the 24 fps video: “This is an example of a standard 24fps shot in 2D. Notice the motion blur. When viewed in stereoscopic 3D, we have noticed less separation of the subject from the background compared to the 48fps and 60fps versions.”
And here’s the 60 fps version of the shot: “This is an example of a HFR (High Frame Rate) shot in 2D. Notice the lack of motion blur compared to the standard 24ps shot. Also, there is 2.5x the amount of frames for 60fps than 24fps, so more movement is captured. When viewed in stereoscopic 3D, we have noticed more separation and detail of the subject from the background compared to the 24fps version.”
You can check out both videos in full size, as well as a behind the scenes video of their HFR shoot and a video about the Centre’s HFR S3D research, at their Vimeo page.