James Cameron to Shoot 'Avatar' Sequels at Higher Frame Rates, Aiming for 'Reality'
It may not sound quite as sexy as some other cinematic techniques that Cameron has pioneered, but, according to the 'Avatar' director, faster frame rates could dramatically enhance image quality across all film genres. Today, movies are shot at 24 frames per second (fps), which has become the industry standard. As Cameron pointed out, however, this standard was established in 1927, with the release of 'The Jazz Singer,' adding that a change is long overdue.
To demonstrate the visual difference in frame rates, Cameron screened and compared footage that he'd shot in 24, 48 and 60 fps. Though he openly admitted that he couldn't distinguish between scenes shot in 48 and 60 fps, Cameron emphasized the quality differential separating 24 and 48 fps.
In one scene, Cameron used a series of panning shots to illustrate this gap. At 24 fps, the images seemed to "strobe," creating a blurry, almost slow-motion quality. At 48 fps, on the other hand, the images were much crisper and clearer -- so much so, in fact, that the CinemaCon audience reacted audibly after viewing the comparison.
Cameron acknowledged that some directors might not want to shoot films with this kind of precision, and may opt instead for a more "stylized" aesthetic that slower frame rates can offer. But he's taking it upon himself to spearhead the movement, beginning with the 'Avatar' sequels.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Cameron is seriously considering shooting the second and third 'Avatar' movies at either 48 or 60 fps. With this higher frame rate, he's hoping to transcend 3-D, and move into an entirely new realm of cinematic reality. "When you author and project a movie at 48 or 60, it becomes a different movie," he said. "The 3D shows you a window into reality; the higher frame rate takes the glass out of the window. In fact, it is just reality. It is really stunning."