After about 19 months of work, here is my completed film Cold Meets:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok2EHkZTgiM

Please enjoy!

Marnik

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Haha, the reason you might not understand the story is because there isn't really one ;) That was my main downfall with the film and is what I'm focussing on for my next one! I have entered it in to a few festivals, but I don't hold many high hopes as what most festivals are after is a good story told well!

I pretty much just made the film for myself, and learnt so much from it - any praise I get on top is a bonus!

That was the biggest mistake I made on a 3-year short. Not much of a story (although there is a moral if you look hard enough), just sight gags and the entire thing created in a vacuum.  As a result, it got seen by very few people. But it was inspired by television specials that were notorious for emphasizing sight gags over storytelling  Still, the act of making it was a reward in itself. You really can't go to all that effort without learning a lot.I think you've gotten away with the lack of story in this case, however. It's entertaining and clever. A short clip from it would work well on a show reel and it does have examples of well-animated shots. I thought it was interesting that you shot the whole thing on two's at 30 frames per second, (I can tell just by looking at it) despite all the British imagery which suggested you were in the UK. That stuck out to me. Most UK animation I've seen was made at 24 or 25 frames per second. Did that present many challenges with the faster lines when animating the lip sync?

Marnik said:

Haha, the reason you might not understand the story is because there isn't really one ;) That was my main downfall with the film and is what I'm focussing on for my next one! I have entered it in to a few festivals, but I don't hold many high hopes as what most festivals are after is a good story told well!

I pretty much just made the film for myself, and learnt so much from it - any praise I get on top is a bonus!

I'm impressed that you can tell that! Yeah, it did. Like with so many things in the film, I just jumped right in to it because I just wanted to make a film, and regretted it later. At the beginning I didn't want to go for 24fps because it would take too long, 12 seemed too jaggedy so went for 15. Would have been a lot better if I'd gone for 24 and shot most of it on 2's. It's the dialogue and fast movements where 15 becomes annoying. Plus I spent 2 years learning to animate at a non standard frame rate! But it worked, so hey!

I looked at the Youtube stats window to see what speed the video was playing at and didn't see any ghosting between frames when paused, so that's how I figured it out you were working at 30. 15 was actually the standard for web video for many years. In the mid-early 2000's, Brickfilms started up and all of their directors animated at 15. Even now, that is still the favored frame rate for animating with Lego toys. It can work very well for storytelling, because the disbelief of the audience is still suspended. Once you get up in the higher frame rates above 24, the illusion starts to fall apart and the dream-like feeling is gone.

I'm impressed that you can tell that! Yeah, it did. Like with so many things in the film, I just jumped right in to it because I just wanted to make a film, and regretted it later. At the beginning I didn't want to go for 24fps because it would take too long, 12 seemed too jaggedy so went for 15. Would have been a lot better if I'd gone for 24 and shot most of it on 2's. It's the dialogue and fast movements where 15 becomes annoying. Plus I spent 2 years learning to animate at a non standard frame rate! But it worked, so hey!

Don - can you explain a bit when you say "Once you get up in the higher frame rates above 24, the illusion starts to fall apart and the dream-like feeling is gone"? Is it because realism starts to creep in and the obvious stop-motion jitters disappear? Is that what you mean? Is there risk switching from twos to ones in the same production to capture specific details?

I think it mostly takes a trained eye to notice, but the issue of the motion being too "real" is central to the 24P vs 30P argument that has raged on filmmaking forums for at least a decade. I first came across it in 2004 while trying to understand why my old animations seemed oddly smooth compared to the animated films I'd seen on TV and try as I might, everything I animated at 30 FPS on ones did not have the same "window into a different time and place" feel.

Our eyes have evolved to be very perceptive as a possible instinctual advantage with regard to imminent danger, and even a 1/5 speed difference in motion smoothness can be noticed. A test was done by the U.S. Air Force a few years ago where a trained pilot of a fighter aircraft was in a darkened cockpit and shown an image of an enemy plane for only1/255th of a second. The pilot was able to identify the the aircraft. The average population only notices about 45 frames per second. At the extreme, some elderly people with vision difficulties can only distinguish 1/24th of a second and even less.

I remember reading that when the Canon 7D first came out, it had no support for 24P and there was a huge uproar about it between filmmakers.

Your perception of motion cadence can noticeably be affected by stimulants, which is kind of surprising. I noticed frame rate differences the most when I had drank something with caffeine in it a few minutes earlier. It made the 30P video I was watching seem to play faster. Watching something while drunk can make motion appear to be slower because alcohol is a depressant. In the case of traumatic accidents, some people have commented that it seemed as though time had slowed down.

For an interesting illustration of your mind's ability to fool itself about time duration, look at any  watch (digital works well) until a second passes and note whether you had drank something caffeinated or alcoholic just before and how that affected how long the second seemed to linger. Depending on the circumstances, it might seem as though it took up to two seconds for the time to change. When I was an editor for a small video production company, I noticed even the smallest mistakes in interlaced footage, so I could spot a bad cut with a ghosted frame appearing at 1/60th of a second. It's kind of amazing what you can train your mind to look for and notice within the span of milliseconds.

Regarding the amount of motion blur, that can make a big difference in how smooth you perceive even a lower frame rate. Patrick Boivin once animated a shot of a skateboarder cavorting around a ramp with the camera on ones at 15 FPS but he had blurred each frame to smooth out what would have been jerky camera movements.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2OcfaW19i8


He also made a live action film at 30P, which you can see here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VawkLa_qRrs

(mind the swears, but notice the motion seems like it falls somewhere between fantasy and reality- that's the essence of 30P.)

In dramatic live action content, the frame rate can sometimes pull you out of the story. Here is a short that was shot at 30 FPS (swearing in this one too) and I had a hard time getting into it because it seemed for the most part too smooth (especially the opening shots).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjXhWlw5C6U

That doesn't mean that you won't be able to follow the story and enjoy it. Some people are just more sensitive to the minute differences in motion cadence between different formats than others. It's largely a subjective thing that relies on experience or attentiveness and comparison. When watching an animated film, I don't think it makes much of a difference, as only the most attentive animator is going to notice. Story is probably the most important piece of the cinematic puzzle. That said, Marnik had me watching the film several times to try to piece together a narrative. In the hands of a skilled director, even deliberately disjointed storytelling can be effective. I can't tell you how many times I've seen The Shining, and to this day I don't know what Stanley Kubrick was trying to convey. But that takes nothing away from it being a timeless classic.

I remember when P. Jackson brought out the Hobbit at 48fps. I saw it in 24fps, and had read articles saying the 48fps was just too real - it didn't feel like a cinematic experience and I guess that's why it never caught on. 

I felt the same way about 30 FPS for a long time. Even after doing a bunch of tests at 30P, it seemed to be too smooth for cinematic camera movements. Then I saw a live action, handheld video shot with a high shutter speed. It looked very cinematic, but in more of a Saving Private Ryan, no-motion-blur kind of way.   It's harder to pull off the mind trick, but under the right conditions 30P can look like a movie. Without motion blur, camera work is not as smooth and requires almost as much care to not make it look jumpy. When I first started doing camera tests, I thought there was something wrong with my video card because a fast move jerked and didn't look smooth at all- even on ones. I was used to 60i, which had twice as much temporal information because of the interlaced fields of the 30 frames. My opinion about 30P has changed a bit since we last had the discussion on this board. It holds a middle ground between fantasy and reality...Especially in animation. And 30 on two's can at times look as smooth as 24 on ones with 9 frames of less work you have to do for each second if you're on two's (15 moves/sec). Some animators who started out on film absolutely swear by 30 on two's. It's being recommended in some of the newer animation books. When I was younger, I didn't listen to the advice, and spent more time needlessly for being a purist.  But now I'm taking it. It's less work for almost the same results and because I have more experience with 30, it's easier to work with, generally.

One interesting side effect of switching back to 24 after you've worked at 30 for a long time is that out of habit, you might find yourself making smaller moves (on ones or twos- just because of the nature of the faster speed which requires smaller increments all around). If you have spent a lot of time animating 24 and then suddenly made the shift, anything you shot at 30 might look sped up because you were used to making bigger moves. Especially if you watch it after drinking coffee. :)

Marnik said:

I remember when P. Jackson brought out the Hobbit at 48fps. I saw it in 24fps, and had read articles saying the 48fps was just too real - it didn't feel like a cinematic experience and I guess that's why it never caught on. 

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