Thread: Documentary Frame Rate - BMPCC 6k

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  1. #1 Documentary Frame Rate - BMPCC 6k 
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    Hi there! I'm going to preface this by saying I'm more than likely just overthinking it but I wanted to get some advice from people who primarily shoot docs. I will be starting to shoot a True Crime style documentary next week. All the gear is purchased and we're ready to go. And though I have a more narrative focused background, I have worked in news in the past (that had a very specific set of settings for broadcast). Keep in mind we're not going for a "reenactment heavy" style for fear that it might just come off looking silly and also present the information in a false light. All that being said my instinct is to shoot in 24FPS. We already plan on shooting in Black Magic Raw 4k DCI 4096 x 2160 (in case we have to 'punch in' or edit around certain parts of our interviews) and down rez as needed. The end goal here is festivals and eventual distribution (of which there is already interest in the story). Upon doing some research I've noticed that some places like Discovery or Natgeo require 60fps - my guess is this is because of the smoother motion in nature videography, but I could be wrong.

    So like I said, I feel like I'm over thinking it. I'm curious to see what other documentary filmmakers do. Any advice is appreciated.
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  2. #2  
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    Personally, I would choose 24p and worry about the rest later.

    I don't know about Discovery or National Geographic only accepting 60p documentaries...is that a fact?

    Because they also definitely accept other content at the 'normal' framerates.
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    I assume you're referring to 23.976. There is a big difference between true 24 and 23.976. Most of the professional editors I know refer to 23.976 as "23". And 24 means true 24. Most content of this type is shot at 23 and converted to 24 for DCP, since 99% of the consumption is either online, web, tv etc.

    Whatever you choose, people always look better at 23 or 24. I would stick with that and choose 59.94 for anything I wanted slowmotion. However, if I were filming nature or animals I would choose 59.94, but you said it's a True Crime theme.

    It also depends on if your delivery is going to be PAL or NTSC. PAL doesn't have these issues
    Last edited by GeranSimpson; 09-28-2019 at 08:32 PM.
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  4. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeranSimpson View Post
    I assume you're referring to 23.976. There is a big difference between true 24 and 23.976. Most of the professional editors I know refer to 23.976 as "23". And 24 means true 24. Most content of this type is shot at 23 and converted to 24 for DCP, since 99% of the consumption is either online, web, tv etc.

    Whatever you choose, people always look better at 23 or 24. I would stick with that and choose 59.94 for anything I wanted slowmotion. However, if I were filming nature or animals I would choose 59.94, but you said it's a True Crime theme.

    It also depends on if your delivery is going to be PAL or NTSC. PAL doesn't have these issues
    In 12 years, I've never heard anyone call it "23" anywhere in the USA, but I guess you can always learn something new.

    (Which part of the world are you located in?)

    IMO, barely anyone even knew this framerate existed before Blackmagic started making cameras (and that's because 99% of people were not using ARRIs, REDs, higher-end Japanese systems or shooting on film). It's universal knowledge that 23.976 or 23.98 is referred to as "24p". And it's very rare anyone shoots 24.00 besides people at high levels of production for certain purposes.

    It also doesn't make sense to call it 23...why would you round down if it's practically 24 frames per second? If anything, I have heard people spell it out; 23 - 9 - 8, to be clear.

    It's the same for 60p. 99% of the world is shooting 60p and calling it 60p, but it's 59.94p.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorBro View Post
    It also doesn't make sense to call it 23...why would you round down if it's practically 24 frames per second?
    It makes sense if you deal with both and don't want to spell out the whole 23.976. You would be surprised how many people shoot 24.00 in error not thinking about post workflow because they "thought it was less complicated" or "I heard them say 24 fps" or something. Then the editor and sound mixer have a potential problem waiting to blow up in their faces if it's not corrected early on. It's all about the post workflow.

    24.00 is for film cameras, and if you are mixing digital cameras with film. The problem is that everyone refers to 23.976 as 24, and all the inexperienced shooters out there hear that and set their cameras to shoot at 24.00.

    What will really bake your noodle is that a lot of cheap cameras (like cell phone cameras) say things like "30" fps and you think it's going to be 29.97 but then it actually recorded at 29.87 because they suck and now you have to convert the clip to an image sequence and re-conform it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeranSimpson View Post
    It makes sense if you deal with both and don't want to spell out the whole 23.976. You would be surprised how many people shoot 24.00 in error not thinking about post workflow because they "thought it was less complicated" or "I heard them say 24 fps" or something. Then the editor and sound mixer have a potential problem waiting to blow up in their faces if it's not corrected early on. It's all about the post workflow.

    24.00 is for film cameras, and if you are mixing digital cameras with film. The problem is that everyone refers to 23.976 as 24, and all the inexperienced shooters out there hear that and set their cameras to shoot at 24.00.

    What will really bake your noodle is that a lot of cheap cameras (like cell phone cameras) say things like "30" fps and you think it's going to be 29.97 but then it actually recorded at 29.87 because they suck and now you have to convert the clip to an image sequence and re-conform it.
    Gosh! That sounds like so much fun! I just got finished with some court ordered punishment, where do I sign up for some of yours?
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeranSimpson View Post
    It makes sense if you deal with both and don't want to spell out the whole 23.976. You would be surprised how many people shoot 24.00 in error not thinking about post workflow because they "thought it was less complicated" or "I heard them say 24 fps" or something. Then the editor and sound mixer have a potential problem waiting to blow up in their faces if it's not corrected early on. It's all about the post workflow.

    24.00 is for film cameras, and if you are mixing digital cameras with film. The problem is that everyone refers to 23.976 as 24, and all the inexperienced shooters out there hear that and set their cameras to shoot at 24.00.

    What will really bake your noodle is that a lot of cheap cameras (like cell phone cameras) say things like "30" fps and you think it's going to be 29.97 but then it actually recorded at 29.87 because they suck and now you have to convert the clip to an image sequence and re-conform it.
    As far as the choice/error, this is maybe the case where you live (and only in the last few years) as I imagine it's mostly a Blackmagic thing because a lot of inexperienced people use Blackmagic cameras (no offense to the true pros that use them too).

    Many prosumer cameras didn't have 24.00 over the years and the non-Blackmagic ARRI and RED individuals aren't making this mistake.

    But I do know about other devices' framerates not being accurate or consistent (this is probably known by many in the tech universe too).
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    The Nikon Z6 lists frame rates as 60, 30, and 24, but in reality they are 59.94, 29.97 and 23.976 (23.98). This info is listed in the users manual.
    Cheers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denny Smith View Post
    The Nikon Z6 lists frame rates as 60, 30, and 24, but in reality they are 59.94, 29.97 and 23.976 (23.98). This info is listed in the users manual.
    Cheers
    That's purposely made for consumer to them to easily pick frame rates without caring the details. Unfortunately, it doesn't do any good for editors who have to sync frames with other cameras.
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  10. #10  
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    I'd highly recommend 24.00fps as the most distribution friendly capture frame rate.
    It's the most versatile frame rate for later converting to other deliverables with different frame rates.

    It goes pretty seamless to 23.976, 25 or 29.97.

    I've done a few feature docs and I always go that way.
    Last edited by theorib; 10-13-2019 at 07:28 AM.

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