Fractional frame rates (e.g. 23.976 frames per second) were developed with the advent of color television as part of the NTSC standard. See the ‘History” section for more details. Their continuous support is creating numerous issues and extra cost for the content creation and distribution industry.
We are 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. 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.
What We Propose
- 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.
Our 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.
With the emergence of streaming services, the distribution chain has simplified. Unlike with broadcasting, a program can be encoded in 24fps only and played back directly by the consumer’s device at that cadence. This makes supporting fractional frame rates superfluous. Some may argue that the fractional frame rates are needed for legacy formats and displays. However, in the rare event that a legacy display does not support 24fps or 30fps, the content can be converted to the adjusted frame rate by a playback device instead of at the source.
How can I help?
Agreeing to make new content in one standard frame rate will save many hours of manpower, storage space, and capital. Join our social media campaign and lets modernize frame rates.