A group of industry professionals spearheaded by JayDee Vandenberg, Director of Post Production at Walt Disney Animation Studios, is calling for the electronic display industry to begin to phase out support for fractional frame rates over time so that content can be displayed at its intended frame rate. According to the people behind the request, “this should include displays, recorders, play back devices, and cameras among others.”
Here are some of the issues created by fractional frame rates:
- Increase in cost of production and mastering to account for both frame rates.
- Increase in cost of distribution (storage, QC check, transfer, …) as all the assets have to be stored in both formats doubling the needed storage.
- The fractional frame rates in use have an infinite set of repeating decimals digits resulting in different values being used in practice (e.g. 23.98 or 23.976 is in reality 23.976023976023976023976023976023976023…)
- Inaccurate frame rate is indicated on some recording and playback devices (reported as 24fps while, in reality, running at 23.976fps), which introduces a mismatch in editorial and out of sync issues down the line.
- Creation of two extra timecode systems: drop-frame and non-drop-frame.
- The 0.1% slow down propagation down the pipeline, which creates even more fractional frame rates (e.g. 59.94fps).
- Slowing down adoption of HFR (High Frame Rate) technology because of the cost and complexity of supporting fractional frame rate as well.
The majority of media travels from DF countries to NDF countries. Disney, one of the companies at the forefront of the initiative to eliminate DF, has a vast media empire. In fact, it has the highest revenue stream of all media companies, partially attained through many television networks such as ABC, ESPN and the Disney Channel. Its media division generated revenue of 28.39 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, an increase from the 16.21 billion U.S. dollars of revenue generated in this segment in 2009. So, it looks like Disney could end up forfeiting the most switching to NDF: or benefitting the most, as it’s unlikely Disney hasn’t already done a cost/benefit analysis showing the longterm savings that would emanate from the measure.
What they are proposing
- We believe fractional frame rate is a technology of the past and should be phased out over time.
- We invite the manufacturers to use non-fractional frame rates (e.g. 24fps) and accurately indicate the correct frame rate for each device.
- We invite the industry to transport and display content at their intended frame rate.
- We invite all stakeholders, content creators, industry leaders, Television and Movie executives, editors and mastering? Artists? to agree on a timeline upon which fractional frame rates will no longer be supported by newly released equipment.
Their goal is for the content creation and distribution chains to remain at its intended frame rate and to convert content only for legacy formats and devices.
Join their social media campaign to modernize frame rates.