First it was digital projection. Then, 3D. And now James Cameron has set his sites on a more subtle—but possibly more important—innovation in film: frame rates. While the industry has been stuck at 24fps since the Roaring 20s, Cameron believes that by bumping that up to 48fps, or even 60fps, Hollywood can dramatically change our cinematic experience.
According to the LA Times:
He used a number of cinematic techniques in the footage to illuminate what he called the gravity of the gap between, say, 24 and 48 frames. One scene set at a dinner table included a number of panning shots, so the crowd could see how a 24 fps shot caused the image to "strobe" — which is when an image looks blurry, almost as if it is appearing in slow motion, seeming out of sync.
While even the filmmaker admitted that he was only able to notice a slight difference between a 48 fps and 60 fps, the audience audibly reacted to the increase in quality between 24 fps and 48 fps. The footage shown at 48 fps was far clearer and also had a much more realistic tone to it. That might be an issue for some filmmakers, Cameron acknowledged.
Most projectors are already capable of handling higher frame rates, and Cameron plans to shoot his Avatar sequel at at least 48fps. [LA Times]