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Brian Cairns
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Just a bug on the light outside my apartment. It turns out that the bug has a bug on it.

"Yo Dawg, I heard you like bugs."
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New York City looks awesome at night.

This was the view out my window from the 24th floor of Yotel at 42nd St and 10th Ave, with quite a few tweaks in Lightroom.
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24 frames per second sucks. Period.

There's a lot of complaining about how "The Hobbit" looks like a "Soap Opera" because it's shot at double the normal movie frame rate (48 frames per second instead of 24).

Does 48 frames per second make film look more like video? Absolutely. But of course, when we say that, what we really mean is "less choppy and blurry".

The next time you are watching a film without motion interpolation, pay attention to how the image looks when the camera pans. It's choppy. It's blurry.

Over the last 80 years we've grown accustomed to choppy, blurry motion. 24 frames per second makes anything that moves fast look like that. It's even worse in 3D. Many people even think that it's "cinematic", and they complain when you give them motion that's smooth and clear.

Can choppy, blurry motion be an artistic choice? Sure. But then black and white is an artistic choice, too. So is using an aspect ratio like 1.375:1.

But today, most films are color. And most are widescreen. And most now have clear, multichannel digital audio. Many are shot digitally, which opens the door to a whole new world of possibilities like shooting with dramatically less light.

When you think about it, the only thing that hasn't improved is the frame rate. Films today are every bit as choppy and blurry as they were 60 years ago. Actually, many are worse because of the rise of artistic styles that promote jerky camera movement and fast motion (that's another post).

Smooth, clear motion is not "unnatural". It doesn't make a film look like a "soap opera" any more than color does. Technology progresses. Films today don't look like they did in the 1920s, and I like it that way. I like clearer sound, sharper lenses, color, and widescreen images. If the technology had fewer drawbacks (and theaters stopped charging me $5 extra to see a film in 3D), I would probably like 3D too.

I don't begrudge a cinematographer who wants to shoot in black and white, or who presents images with lots of film grain, or who chooses to crush the blacks. Those are all legitimate artistic choices. But they aren't any more "natural", "cinematic", or "correct" then presenting a well-exposed color image with minimal or no grain.

24 frames per second sucks because I'm forced to watch every film that way. Imagine if every film was 1.375:1, or black and white, or had no sound. Because at some point, every film was like that. Now imagine where we would be if we had rejected every new advance in cinema technology because the old way was more "cinematic".

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Hopefully if you're reading this you already know about SOPA and PIPA. But in case you don't, imagine a world where websites face being shut down because they didn't do a good enough job of policing their content. Imagine a world where a website can "disappear" from search engines and perhaps even the Internet as most people know it (DNS) because it's a "foreign rogue" site. Imagine a world where sharing an MP3 could land you years in federal prison.

It's time to put an end to SOPA and PIPA.
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