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24p or 30p?

jphoto

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Okay, then what if any are the sacrifices of shooting 60fps? Less dynamic range or IQ? I'm aware of the bigger file size, but if you are cutting down to 30fps it seems there is a benefit to shoot 60fps because you have the option to slow it down a bit.
The sacrifices to 60fps are file size (and the resulting challenges to editing hardware, software, and output rendering), compatibility with displays and content distribution (less a factor now), negative aesthetics for some content (it's pretty far from the "film look" that is desired for some projects). And possibly a stop and a half of low light sensitivity.

RE: aesthetics...I've already mentioned the 48fps feature release that didn't get positive response. There was "Showscan", a 60 frame, 70mm film format developed by Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey, Bladerunner, Brainstorm), who has argued strongly for higher frame rates than 24. He has a lot of good points. Google "great frame rate debate" for more. The short version is high frame rates result in more "reality", but that's also a negative for some content that doesn't desire "reality". The whole discussion is actually pretty interesting. Showscan failed, though for film, it may have been excellent. I saw it on a ride once, pretty amazing. And since we're now all doing digits instead of sprockets, it's a dead horse, though the frame rate debate continues.

I'm not cutting down 30fps, or any other frame rate. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. The "best" frame rate is always dictated by the final usage and intent. Yes, 60fps can be slowed easily. Many cameras will also now shoot high rates but embed a lower play rate in the metadata resulting in slow motion files without rendering. Since my days of shooting film, I've not found 1/2 speed particularly special, we more often went to 64fps or higher for display at 24, (in 16mm, and after that, or for 35mm, it took special cameras). But at least it's something.

You haven't lived until you experience a slow motion camera whipping through a load of 35mm film at 350fps! Yeah, and they did go faster...much...much faster than that.
 

Black Diesel

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The sacrifices to 60fps are file size (and the resulting challenges to editing hardware, software, and output rendering), compatibility with displays and content distribution (less a factor now), negative aesthetics for some content (it's pretty far from the "film look" that is desired for some projects). And possibly a stop and a half of low light sensitivity.

RE: aesthetics...I've already mentioned the 48fps feature release that didn't get positive response. There was "Showscan", a 60 frame, 70mm film format developed by Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey, Bladerunner, Brainstorm), who has argued strongly for higher frame rates than 24. He has a lot of good points. Google "great frame rate debate" for more. The short version is high frame rates result in more "reality", but that's also a negative for some content that doesn't desire "reality". The whole discussion is actually pretty interesting. Showscan failed, though for film, it may have been excellent. I saw it on a ride once, pretty amazing. And since we're now all doing digits instead of sprockets, it's a dead horse, though the frame rate debate continues.

I'm not cutting down 30fps, or any other frame rate. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. The "best" frame rate is always dictated by the final usage and intent. Yes, 60fps can be slowed easily. Many cameras will also now shoot high rates but embed a lower play rate in the metadata resulting in slow motion files without rendering. Since my days of shooting film, I've not found 1/2 speed particularly special, we more often went to 64fps or higher for display at 24, (in 16mm, and after that, or for 35mm, it took special cameras). But at least it's something.

You haven't lived until you experience a slow motion camera whipping through a load of 35mm film at 350fps! Yeah, and they did go faster...much...much faster than that.
Okay, I'm not worried about the extra file size or difficulty in editing. Let's say you had an opportunity to take your drone to Africa and film animals out in the bush. It's a bucket list trip. Would you suggest shooting 60p for slow moving maneuvers from above?
 

jphoto

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Okay, I'm not worried about the extra file size or difficulty in editing. Let's say you had an opportunity to take your drone to Africa and film animals out in the bush. It's a bucket list trip. Would you suggest shooting 60p for slow moving maneuvers from above?
It depends entirely on what I was trying to do and convey with the shot, what the end use is, and of course the capabilities of the drone itself. For example, if I'm releasing in 1080p, and I have an Air 2S, I could shoot 120fps, then I'd have all kinds of options. If I'm releasing in 4K the available frame rates are different, but I still might do a shot in 120fps 1080, if there was a point to it. Maybe my Mini 3 can shoot 4K/60. That might be fine, but if I miss a shot because I loaded my card, or I get bogged down in post, it's hardly worth having all that extra data.

Remember, most projects end up with a rather shocking use ratio, like 10:1 is doing really, really well (one shot used for every 10 takes), and most are way higher ratios than that.

What you're looking for is a single firm answer to a question with too many variables. Figure out first what the end video is to be in terms of format and usage, and back into the other settings with influence from the specific shot and the need for a specific image quality. Nothing is ever completely off the table.

Maybe my drone can shoot 4K/60. I might decide that my end formate is 4K/30, and I might shoot some shots in 60fps, but probably not all. I would pay more attention to color settings and exposure control (manual vs auto), and the correct codec for my enditing software. These choices will bite your entire shoot in post. You have to decide how much fiddling you want to do in post vs assemble the shots, lay in some music and transitions and make it watchable.

And, importantly, shoot some tests, and run them though the entire workflow including editing. That will tell you a lot about what to choose.

I did a very small, but very fast shoot a few years ago and had the option to shoot in 4K, finish/release in 1080p. I figured, heck, that'll give me lots of resolution to play with in post. But I had to shoot, edit, and show the finished video the same day. I couldn't run the footage back to the editor so clips could start rendering until the entire shoot was done. So I shot some tests, and saved my bacon by realizing that if I had to wait for all those clips to render to 1080 from 4K, I'd totally blow my time frame. Even if I cut in 4K, I still had to render just the project, and there was simply no time. I shot it in 1080p/30 and spent my time in post making more and better edit decisions.

Don't minimize what you have to do in post, it could be a deal breaker. Shooting in D-log means either putting up with someone's idea of a LUT, or grading every shot, sometimes changing mid-shot (because just using a LUT is only a starting point, and someone's opinion). Shooting in 60fps but working in a 30fps project means everything has to be rendered, like it or not. Shooting at 60fps, working in a 60fps project, then bumping some shots down to half-rate might be a better choice, but you have to think at least a little about where the project is going, and what the display chain might do to it. For example, 1080p/30, rec 709, always goes right through everything perfectly. 4K/60 rec 2020, not everything (actually, not much), and in a display chain the entire chain is adjusted to the lowest denominator thanks to EDID, so a 4K TV fed from an AVR that's not fully compliant will get the video flavor the AVR likes.

My "bucket list" trip to Africa gear would probably include at least two drones and controllers, and as many memory cards and batteries as I could afford and carry. I prefer more, smaller cards so damage or loss has less impact. I would also include the controllers with the brightest screens (because to me, that's THE big usage problem), and pack drones and stuff in separate bags so the complete loss of one bag wouldn't take me out of action. I'd also probably bring along a means to copy cards, and store the originals and backups in two different safe bags and locations reducing the chance of footage loss. I would most likely shoot in 4K30, with some 4K60, and test some higher rates at 1080p so I knew what to expect.

When do we leave?
 

Black Diesel

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Drones are pretty much prohibited where I'm going so I'm lucky to have a chance at bringing one in. I have to leave the Mavic 2 Pro at home and I'm only allowed to bring the Mini 3 Pro due to size and weight. I was planning on shooting 4k30 for most everything but maybe I'll shoot mostly 4K60 mostly with some 4K30 added in.
 
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