I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog writing about 24p editing because it’s so complicated and misunderstood. Last year I wrote about shooting 24p but editing 29.97 arguing that nobody is going to notice the difference. This year I want to write about the reasons to go through the trouble to shoot and edit 24p. And, as always, 24p = 23.98 fps
1) Blah, blah, blah, film blowups. My big pet peeve about 24p discussions is the obsession with film blowups. First there was the completely false idea that shooting 24p “advanced” was somehow better than 24p “regular” for doing film blowups. I hope nobody believes that anymore. As long as you use the right workflow, there is absolutely no difference in the end product. The more pervasive rumor is that the only time it makes sense to edit in 24p is when you’re going to do a film blowup. This is also false, for reasons I’ll get into below. And who the hell is wasting their money by blowing video up to film anymore?
2) Computers. Here’s my big reason for progressive 24p editing. A lot of video is made for computer displays these days, and computers and interlacing go together like two things that don’t go together. If you’re going to show your film on the web, it’s going to look a lot better at 24p than 29.97 with pulldown in it. And considering that a lot of web video is higher quality than DVD at this point, you’ll really appreciate the boost.
3. DVDs. If you make a 23.98 QuickTime and compress it to MPEG-2, it will play perfectly on any DVD player. If your DVD player can upconvert and output 24p via HDMI, it might actually play it that way on your 24p HDTV. If you play the DVD on a computer, you won’t see any interlacing. And, since DVD encoding is generally based on average megabits per second, the fewer frames you have in a second, the more data goes to each frame.
4. Educational. Editing 24p video has taught me so much about the way video works. I worry that computers are so easy to use these days that kids who didn’t grow up have to create config.sys boot menus in order to play Doom won’t really get under the hood of their computers and learn what they’re really doing. In the same way, if video just works (like it used to) then you could edit for years without really knowing what you’re doing on a technical level. I like to know how things work, and I think it’s valuable for more people to know. The proliferation of incompatible video formats may be infuriating, but it requires people to learn about technology in a really useful way. It also helps me pay my rent on time every month.