Hi, I'm really new to stop motion and have been trying out various frame rates but am mostly sticking to 24p for no particular reason.  after my first couple of attempts I switched to shooting in/on twos (1photo for 2 frames) as I have read that a lot of animators recommend  this.

mainly I want to know if there are any advantages to shooting in 24 frames per sec on 2s or would it be just the same as 12 frames per second shooting in singles, I'm assuming it would be the same but I might be missing something?

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'Shooting on 2s' is a term used for animating on film really - when you're working digitally you just switch to 12 fps. On film the only way to do it is by actually shooting 2 physical frames each time you move things around. 

Of course you could work @ 24 fps and actually capture 2 frames each time, but that will use up a lot more memory with no real benefits. Or you could find a way to duplicate each frame after just shooting 1, but again, I don't know why you'd want to. 

There are certain situations in which it could be beneficial to actually capture each frame twice - like for instance some animators will animate camera moves on 1s and puppet action on 2s - example move camera, shoot frame -- move camera and animate puppets, shoot frame etc. 

But there are problems associated with that technique, and Im not sure why you'd want to mess with something so complicated. So unless you have some really pressing reason to capture duplicates of each frame, you can simply shoot on 1s @ 12 fps for the same effect. That seems to be about the low limit for animation where movement really reads as smooth and lifelike, below that it starts to look stuttery. 

The easiest thing, shooting digitally, is to just shoot  at 12 frames per second.  Then, in most editing and post production software  you can change the frame rate/double the duration up to 24 fps with each frame showing twice.  In the ones I use (After Effects, TV Paint, Final Cut Pro) and probably most editing software, you have the option of frame blending if you want it.  That gives you Frame 1, a mix of Frame 1 and Frame 2, Frame 2, mix of Frames 2 and 3, and so on.  It can smooth out some small moves, but if the puppet made a big move each frame you can see a  continuing double-exposure effect so you may not always want to.

With film there was a slight benefit in shooting twice, there was a bit of film grain bouncing around that changed for each frame, so it looked less static than copying each frame.  With DSLRs you should have a very clean image with no visible grain.  If you wanted to add some afterwards for a retro film look, double your frames first, so it is applied differently to each copy of the frame and reproduces the effect of shooting on twos on film.

I personally prefer shooting on ones most of the time, and always for "dynamation" type creature effects that will be combined with live action.  But it can feel right for the more cartoonier styles where there is a long tradition of shooting on twos to save time.  

From what I could see on Coraline and Paranorman, the approach was a mix of one's and two's (this is a tradition that started when the studio bore a different name and goes back 30 years). Fast stuff on one's, slow stuff on two's (or any time you couldn't get the puppet to move in small enough increments to shoot on 1's). I would never want to shoot at 12 frames per second, personally, because it limits how fast things can move. If you need something to zip into frame, and it's a close-up, it's not going to be very smooth unless you either slow it down by making the spacing closer together (and thus creating a stylized motion cadence), or find a way to digitally "dry-brush" the frames.  If you have really fast dialog, there are not enough frames in 12 frames per second to cover every syllable.

That said, if you want to shoot at a lower frame rate than 24, I would recommend 15. That works on just about everything but camera moves, and is compatible with 30fps reference footage if you like to have a visual "crutch" while animating. It looks almost as smooth as 24 on 1's, and the Robot Chicken guys and gals have made it something of an art form in itself. A great example they've done is the music video "Do Me, I'm The Best", for the band, Otafuku Rex in 2006. As a matter of fact, within that 30fps-on-two's video you can find examples of 24fps footage intermingled in the outside montages. Prior to shooting DMITB, the animators did a series of tests at different frame rates and posted them on the XOW! website which was also pushing their own frame grabbing software at the time.

The other reason it might to good to shoot at the same rate that you are going to release the work at, is that in post you have less frame mixing to disable in your editor. Most software NLE's are going to have that on by default. If you shoot some shots at 12fps and some at 24, you might not realize it at first, but all of the 12fps shots will have frame blending and the 24fps shots won't because they match the project frame rate the editor is set up at.

I agree, 15 fps (half the ntsc rate) is about the cut-off point for me, where it still looks smooth, but I can just see the stutter in 12 fps.  I don't use it because we don't use ntsc video in my country, we're PAL 25 fps or film rate 24 fps, but if you are in the US it makes some sense.  I shoot at 24 or 25, whichever the project will be.  The time savings of shooting on twos are not that great when I factor in the months of making puppets and sets, and the time it takes to set up and light each shot. Sometimes setting up takes nearly as long as the time to shoot it.  If it cut my time in half it would be worth it, but it really only saves about 1/6th of the time.  

One fun thing, is if you like frame blending, you  can shoot at 29.97 in Dragon and convert to 30 exactly in your nonlinear editor, and that will also enable the feature because of the mismatch in frame rates.It will look more like a bad film transfer than native video and make camera moves on 1's look more organic and film-like.

Thanks for the help, I think I'm going to go for 15fps as I learn to animate, as I'll be able to create clips a bit faster till I can get my head round what I'm doing.  I think I will leave the frame blending and post production stuff for now.

On another note I want to thank all you guys for the responses, I only found this forum a month or so ago but the collective knowledge on here is just amazing as is everyone's willingness to help and answer questions.

Thanks again guys.

If you can locate a Kodak Zi6 and animate 30fps on two's (still effectively 15fps), you can coordinate any Zi6 live action reference footage you shoot  with your animation. To my knowledge, it is the only handheld point and shoot camera that drops its shutter speed in low light, causing everything it records in available light to move every other frame. Of course, you would want to only base your animation on that and exaggerate the poses and facial expressions, but it's very handy for learning timing when working at "15fps". Another thing that helps is to animate yourself as though it was a puppet. Your bones are basically a human armature. On Ether B and Storytime With Pram, I animated my own body doing what the character would do while listening to the audio frame by frame. It gave me tighter control than if I had shoot live action reference and I used whatever cues I could find in the audio track to give me an idea of how to move. If you shoot reference this way, you can snap the frames as quickly as you can move, but has the disadvantage of one hand having to be on the keyboard (unless you have a timed exposure in the framegrabber, as in time-lapse. But I learned a heck of a lot about pose-to-pose this way.

Yeah, if you want to do realistic Dynamation type animation then 15 fps is probably the low limit. I use 12 because I do a more cartoony type of animation and don't mind a slight bit of stutter showing on fast moves (though sometimes I'll do a fast move on 24). 

Strider- I still have memories of the blacksmith puppet walking across the set. That was 15fps, wasn't it? He looked very much alive. 12 will save you a lot of time, though, and I can see the argument in working that way to prolong the life of the camera. If you ever want to mix frame rates in a project, definitely keep notes on which shots have which frame rate! On my last big project, I didn't keep notes, and some of the shots which were done at 12fps ended up being compiled as 15. The animation didn't look noticeably different, but I couldn't figure out why the audio wouldn't sync and there were black frames between shots! According to one of the makers of stop motion software, someone had a similar problem on their film, and opted to leave the black frames in. This didn't affect the quality of the story, and in a way might have enhanced it. The short won an Academy Award.

Ben,

My apologies if you already know all this, but you did say you are a beginner and much of what has been said above is excellent advice but is above the absolute beginner level.

Whilst your computer can cope with a variety of frame rates, there are some standard rates that your final output video should always adhere to depending on your intended output medium and location. You can still shoot your animation at half the output rate to effectively shoot on twos, but should always stick to one of these standard options for the final output rate from your video editor.

24 fps is the standard film rate. Shoot at 24 (ones) or 12 (twos) but always output your video at 24 for this option. All modern HD TV sets should cope with 24fps from a computer.

29.97fps is the 'NTSC' (USA and Japanese) standard frame rate for TV and is the output rate you should use for a DVD in those areas.

25fps is the 'PAL' frame rate for TV in Europe and Australia. Again this is the rate you will need for a DVD but you can shoot at 12.5 but set your video editor to output at 25. It will double up on each frame and, depending on the program used, do some frame-blending as well to smooth out the jerks.

You will get the best results by choosing the correct rate before you shoot rather than trying to convert between standards afterwards.

Kit

Thanks. I had some armature issues so the puppet is going back to the drawing board any how. Luckily I have a lot of Lego kicking about so brick movie making at 12fps will be my next project I think that way I can convert up to 24fps without having to muck about much.

One of my biggest problems is that I come from a model making background and seem to use puppet creation and design as a way of procrastinating and distracting myself from actually learning to animate.  So Lego could be the answer to make me knuckle down and actually animate(the basics anyhow, as Lego is incredibly limited in movement).

24fps on twos is my favorite. I find that it's the fastest, easiest, and the look of it suits my animation style better than the higher/smoother frame rates. I do take two frames rather than animating at 12fps because I need to use ones every now and then to pull off quicker moves. Good luck!

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