Hi there,

  I've got some questions about frame rate (Frames per second). This kind of question makes my head hurt a bit, and I hope I can get some clarity here.

  I'm doing a stop-motion film, I use After effects to composite, add special effects, and edit my film. I'm animating my shots in 12 fps. This is fine for me because it scales for how long my movie is. (24fps would drag out this production immensely)

I use After effects to composite, add special effects, and edit my film. But I'm finding that some shots, such a flat composite shots with 3d layers, or a quick action shot, look better at 24fps. 

I've done tests with some comps running at 12fps and some at 24fps, and it seems like the marriage of the two can be jarring. What's your opinion of that? does it bother you? For instance, if you saw characters animated at 12fps, while the effects of fire/particles or moving shapes was at 24fps, would it stand out to you? Take you out of the moment?

This gets even more confusing to me because I'm not sure what my final rendered movie file should be set to. I plan on animation film festivals, which require a DCP (Digital Cinema Package) as a deliverable. What FPS will that require?  For this question, I'd like to hear from someone who has submitted to festivals using a DCP or other format.

Thanks, I hope this is a clear set of questions.

-Geoff

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Hi Geoff,

I understand your frustration and confusion. You can mix shooting on ones or twos within a short, I do not recommend mixing them within a shot. You will give yourself a headache! I am following your progress on Twitter and I recommend you pick one thing and stick with it - at least to get through this project. And based on the scope of your project, I would recommend shooting on twos (12 fps).

As for your final output - friendly tip - you should have decided this at the very beginning of the project. Frame rate, aspect ratio and codec should all be predetermined. In this case, your final render will have to be 24fps or 23.97fps. If you try to do your final render at 30fps or 29.97, it will be weird. Most film festivals do not require DCP, and you will be fine uploading your film to Withoutabox or Film Freeway and be done with it. Almost everything is digital these days. It's mostly the Academy Award qualifying festivals that will require a DCP. They are expensive, and I do not recommend spending your money on one unless you have been accepted into a film festival that requests it. I am speaking from experience, I have created a DCP and I have Academy qualified a short.

Good luck!

Dawn

Hey Dawn,

Thanks for this take on it. I will do some more tests to see how much work it would be to get a few 24fps shots in there without making some layers go on 1s and 2s in the same shot. I appreciate the feedback so far.

I did decide the fps (12), aspect (16x9), and highest resolution (1080p) at the start but investigating some shots at 24 seemed like it was possible.  

Does 1080p look good on the big screen? Obviously some people work in 4k now but that was not going to work for me storage-wise.

Thanks!

Hi Geoff,

1920 x 1080, 16:9 aspect ratio looks fine on the big screen. Go for it!

 

Hi Geoff,

Stick with 2s for your film.  If your CG effects are too smooth it is going to make your stop motion, which is really fun already, not look as nice.  That's my opinion.

DCP can be 24 or 30. It CAN'T be fractional (23.976 or 29.97)

Personally, I like animating characters at 10 or 12 fps. But camera moves must be at least 24 fps or they get really juttery.

So I recommend continuing to shoot stop motion at 12. Import to After Effects at 12 fps (look at interpret footage to make sure this is right). Then make a 24 fps comp. When you drop the 12 fps sequence into a 24 sequence, it will just double the frames and continue to play at 12. Anything else you do in that sequence like camera moves or particle effects will be at 24.

Thanks, Maddog. I didn't know that about DCP. In any case, I doubt I will need one but it's possible I will for festivals. We'll find out when I'm done, I guess.

  Camera moves are not an issue at 2's (12fps) because my linear slides are so small. Occasionally I scale up a comp to zoom in but it is a minor percentage so that it's not juttery. 

  A side topic, I just discovered that using Timewarp can give 12fps motion some OK motion blur. That's a game changer for some of my scenes with flying objects. Bonus!

Thanks,

Geoff

maddogmovies said:

DCP can be 24 or 30. It CAN'T be fractional (23.976 or 29.97)

Personally, I like animating characters at 10 or 12 fps. But camera moves must be at least 24 fps or they get really juttery.

So I recommend continuing to shoot stop motion at 12. Import to After Effects at 12 fps (look at interpret footage to make sure this is right). Then make a 24 fps comp. When you drop the 12 fps sequence into a 24 sequence, it will just double the frames and continue to play at 12. Anything else you do in that sequence like camera moves or particle effects will be at 24.

Bear in mind that if you animate in two's but move your camera every frame, then on alternate frames the camera will move but the puppet won't, so will appear to move backwards, giving a very unpleasant jerkiness. So the rule is, if animating with a camera move, do it all on ones.

I feel that frame rates are a crucial component in the overall style or feel of an animation. For example, LAIKA (24fps) vs. Aardman (24fps on 2s). I prefer to stick with one frame rate, usually 24fps on 2s, because it looks more animated or handmade to me...if that makes sense.

Mixing 1s and 2s (24fps & 12fps) is a common practice. You will see shots in feature films where the animators gracefully switch back and forth during a performance. Personally, I find mixing frame rates a little jarring, especially when computer effects are involved because it makes the CG so much more obvious

Something I'd like to point out that I think confuses a lot of people is that the frame rate of the animation doesn't need to adhere to the final output frame rate. You could animate a weird frame rate then spit it out at any frame rate you want. I once animated a 2D cartoon at 24fps to show at local movie theaters. When I was finished, the client needed the file to be something weird, like 65fps. I simply put that into my output settings and rendered it at 65fps. The computer adjusted the frames accordingly and it looked perfectly fine. The only time things might get weird is if you animated at a higher frame rate, say 30fps, and your final output is lower, say 24fps. This will cause dropped frames. In other words, the final output frame rate is something you can worry about later when you're ready for your final render.

This input has been helpful everybody, I appreciate it. It answered my question and at the root of it is: it's a style decision.

I've decided that it's best to stick with 2's for everything. I've found that generated effects, like fire, if at 24fps when the characters are stuck at 12 fps, really sticks out as weird. Kills the illusion.

Even with big studios like Aardman doing some 2's shots and some 1's shots, I'm not seeing a good Reason to ever go on ones. I have no fast runs (Williams says runs are always on 1's), or a huge vehicle (like the pirate ship shots from the Pirates band of misfits), I'll stick to 24fps on 2's.

And Scottie, thanks for this comment:

"You could animate a weird frame rate then spit it out at any frame rate you want."

I supposed this but never got around to testing it out!

Thanks,

Geoff

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