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Settle something: 24p vs 30p

Discussion in 'Filmmaking' started by jpcairns, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. jpcairns

    jpcairns Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Background: I currently have a GH2 which I absolutely love. I'm about 50/50 for video/stills. I'm finishing up my last semester in university so I can only afford to have one camera setup. I have the GH2 and the PZ Vario X 14-42 lens.

    Although I'm satisfied with the GH2 and I know it is king of video, there are three main reasons I am wanting to switch to the OMD, and one thing holding me back. I do a lot of hiking/mountaineering, so weather-sealing is nice. Additionally, I can't find any primes (~20-30mm) with IS but a prime is all I want for travel and the PZ Vario X lens is a bit underwhelming IMO; therefore, IBIS is great. Last, as I do a lot of hiking and outdoor stuff, the DR of the GH2 is leaving a bit to be desired. So, the one thing holding me back is the 30p of the OMD.

    Forums everywhere praise 24p, but for overall quality would you even be able to tell the difference with 30p? That sought after "film" look is due to a combination of things - colour, lighting, motion - but many attribute it to 24p. Is this at all true? From what I understand, that motion look of film is more to do with the shutter speed (ie. shooting 24p at 1/50 will look the same as shooting 30p at 1/60). Is this true? Is the 30p an issue? I put a lot of effort into the videography stuff and am getting into it extensively, so I don't want to limit myself with a big downgrade, but from watching videos online overall quality between the two cameras is near-indistinguishable, and the upside of the OMD outweighs that anyway.

    TLDR: Is 24p really a noticeable difference from 30p? Isn't the motion look of film due to the shutter speed relative to the frame rate (ie. 24p at 1/50 will look the same as 30p at 1/60)?
  2. brianb032

    brianb032 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 10, 2011
    I'm currently using a GH1 and an OM-D side-by-side and after doing a few comparisons on my own, I can easily spot the differences in motion-cadence between the OMD's unconverted 30P and the GH1's 24P. (Well, that and the codec breakdown with fast motion too. Ocasionally the OMD footage turns into blocks and mushed detail in areas with too much going on.)

    Most of the time I never use the in-camera audio on personal projects though, so I often slow down the 30P video by 20% in Vegas. This is obviously a big no-no if you plan on using the recorded audio, but if you're just looking to match the motion characteristics of 24P, then the artificial slowdown does a great job. Heck, Act of Valor was shot in 30P and I didn't notice anything resembling a home-video look to it at all. (I believe the 5D IIs were all interchangeably shot between 1/40 an 1/50.)

    Have you tried looking at other alternatives? Sony is releasing the 35/1.8 soon. Since the aforementioned lens is stabilized, you could couple that with one of the NEX cameras and have 24/60P plus the DR needed for landscapes. However, you will miss out on the extra detail and sharpness from the GH1/2. You could also go with a cheap GH1 and a new E-PM2 or E-PL5. The latter two use the new OM-D sensor, so you can have your super-detailed video plus a great photo camera too.
  3. jpcairns

    jpcairns Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    You raise a good suggestion there. I actually heavily considered the NEX series but the one thing holding me back is the video quality. I don't need the best, but from what I have seen it appears to be a sufficient downgrade from both the GH2, and the OM-D. The one problem though is that few people have made any good-quality videos with the NEX series (that I have seen), so it's near impossible to compare image quality when you have professionals making videos using the GH2 and home-videos being made by the NEX line.
  4. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    OK, I don't shoot video but I think you'll find that the motion look of film is due entirely to frame rate.

    Shutter speed contributes to the exposure of each frame but what you get each frame is just a frame, no way to tell from anything within the frame what speed it was taken at. You just get a series of successive images which, if projected at a particular speed, give a particular sense of movement.

    30 fps is used for video and is faster than 24 fps, therefore gives a slightly smoother sense of motion. That's part of what contributes to the different "look" of video and film, and if you take a search on a lot of the home theatre/video sites you can find a fair bit of discussion of that.

    And for something a bit more extreme so not directly comparable, do a google search for reactions to the 48 fps teaser trailer that Peter Jackson released recently for "The Hobbit". There was a big negative reaction from movie people who wanted 24 fps because they didn't like the motion smoothing of the higher speed which they said looked too much like video and what they saw on TVs which interpolated frames to give the impression of a higher frame rate.

    So, as I said, I think the issue is purely frame rate so if you want to get the look of film, I think you have to go with 24 fps.

    Note: that says nothing at all about whether or not 30 fps looks better or worse than 24 fps, or whether slowing the speed later will work or not. I think the first issue, the look of 30 fps, is a subjective preference and I have no experience of making and manipulating video. I have played around a little with home theatre, however, and I've seen a fair bit of argument and dispute about frame rate and no one from either side of that debate has ever suggested that it's the combination of shutter speed and frame rate that is important. The argument has always been purely about frame rate.
  5. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I don't think the Sony cameras are a video downgrade from the Olympus. Might be better, actually. The Panasonic is clearly head and shoulders above the Sonys in controlled conditions, though.
    I don't think that test should be taken seriously. First of all, Jackson showed the audience ungraded footage, which is just a bad idea period. Second, movie people are very much stuck in their ways, and it takes a visionary director to break a lot of things open sometimes. Whether Jackson will eventually succeed I don't know, but one poor test with scattered reports is not the way to judge.
  6. ftwphoto

    ftwphoto Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 12, 2011
    With the exception of IBIS for primes, have you considered the GH3? It seems like the best solution for all your needs.
  7. jpcairns

    jpcairns Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    The more I look into it, the more I might consider the NEX-5n with either the 16-50 or 35mm that are coming out in a few months, as they are both incredibly compact.

  8. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    If you're serious about shooting video, you're likely to use an external display with focus peaking and other "helpers" and afaik in the mirrorless world this is only possible with Panasonic GH bodies.
  9. jpcairns

    jpcairns Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    "serious" is far more than what I am. I enjoy doing it and am getting more into it, but this is still for things like travel videos, etc.

    Never ever would I use an external display, etc.

    I'm looking into the NEX-5R now but on sony's canadian website it doesn't have it listed yet with the new 16-50 lens, but it has it listed on all other country's sites. Hrm...
  10. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    I'm a complete amateur.... and I used to think so also, but after shooting a little more with my OMD I found that shutter speed certainly contributes significantly to the 24p cinematic look. shooting with a 1/50 or 1/60 shutter speed on 30p already yields a look that won't be mistaken as camcordery. and I recently read a critique/defense of Jackson's HFR hobbit that explained the "unnatural" soap opera look was due to the necessarily high shutter speed he was forced to use.

    motion blur is apparently the key to producing the cinematic look. i assume that is why ND filters are used so frequently in lighting controlled productions. to achieve low shutter speeds on well lit sets.
  11. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Unless you are going for the "movie" look then 30fps is fine. I use 30fps for all documentary type shooting. I use 24fps for cinematic story shooting. Although frame rate often dictates your shutter speed{to avoid light flicker}, it is the frame rate that gives the "movie" look and not the shutter speed. Adjusting your shutter can be used for adjusting motion blur but it isn't the same look. I say go for the E-M5 if it will work better for you.

    Here are a couple of links that I hope will help you understand shutter speed and frame rate better.



  12. powderbanks

    powderbanks Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 7, 2012
    north carolina
    To most people, the difference between 24 and 30fps is so subtle that it is barely noticed; if it is, no attention is paid to it. The big difference, is motion blur between frames. As others have said, shutter speed is a factor, but what really contributes to the motion blur between frames is the shutter angle. I won't go into the details of it, because it's not really necessary; but suffice to say the standard shutter angle is 180 degrees. High end digital cinema cameras (ARRI alexa, RED, BMCC, etc) have global shutters, where the shutter angle and shutter speed can be independently changed. Nearly every other digital camera with video capabilities is stuck with a rolling shutter; and the only way to control the shutter angle is through the shutter speed. Rule of thumb is to use a shutter speed that is the inverse of double the frame rate. 24fps @ 1/48, 30fps @ 1/60, 60fps @ 1/120. For the GH2, 1/60 is the only 'normal' shutter speed, for 24fps I like 1/40 and for 60fps I use 1/125. When you are exposing for video, forget shutter speed, only use aperture and ISO to control your exposure. Someone already mentioned it, but an ND filter is hugely helpful for any bright situations. Not only can you keep your relatively slow shutter speed to preserve the shutter angle, but you can also keep your aperture more open to give you shallower depth of field; another debatable 'key' to the 'cinematic'/'filmic' look. As to your situation, why not the GH3?
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