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  • proper fps speeds

    Hello boys and girls! I have played with film and effects for a few months and want to now make a film. I am not going to try to find others dedicated to the project as I am, since I can't pay anyone. So, my film is being shot with miniatures mostly, with some CGI effects. To my relief, there are consumer grade and affordable high speed cameras now available. I have looked at the GoPro Hero3, that will shoot 120 fps. Also Casio Exilium line shoots, 24, 240, 480, and 1000 fps. I read recently on a film school site, that to shoot miniatures should be at about 300 fps. My question to the forum is what do the big boys use. What fps did ILM use for Star Wars? Or any other model filled feature. Also, how many different speeds were used. I'm sure larger models, or quicker effects needed faster speeds to slow them down. I'm trying to figure out which camera will give me the best all around tools. They are both the same price, and I like the Casio better. But will I ever really use the 1000 fps setting? Is there a formula or rule of thumb to know what speed is good for what effects? I know a long question right out of the gate, but I have been waiting for a long time for variable fps cameras to be available with out spending 5 figures! Thanks if anyone can help. Look forward to helping others in the future.

  • #2
    Interesting.. What will you be using the miniatures for? And where did you hear that you need 300fps to film miniatures? Normally fast fps is used when the shot will be slowed down, but for the "film" look you want 24fps. Little more info on what exactly you are doing would cool so we can look into this a bit more :)
    Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue

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    • #3
      Thanks for the response Nick. I am shooting a Red Dawnish type movie (the original). We get attacked, a small band of Americans gather, along with a hot shot pilot, and slowly rebuild and throw the infiltrators out. Old story line, but I wanted familiar action and props for my first time out. All the action, planes, tanks, scenery, etc is all being done with miniatures, (you should see the collection of models I have so far!) with a little CGI thrown in to round things out. I am still weighing between stop motion or CGI for the characters. Stop motion takes a lot of work, but I have a little experience and understanding on how it works. Also, this leads to a problem of articulation of the mouth and syncing to a script, which is a whole lot of work, from what I have found. CGI would be faster in the long run, my but since I have less experience and no idea how to build anything 3D on the computer, it seems less practicle. From the info I have gathered over the years, a faster fps slows the action down to "give them weight", or so they seem bigger. Like in Empire Strikes Back, the AT-ATs were shot at a fast speed when they blew up and fell over so they wouldn't look like models. Also, when I blow up a model of an F-4, it will look like a real F-4 instead of a 5 inch model. Do I have the correct thought? I forget where I read the 300fps. I was googleing so much to look for the info, and so many sites. They had it broke down into live action [at] 24-30fps, miniatures [at]300 fps, other action as high as 1000fps, along with a few other levels, but they didn't pertain to my project, so don't remember them. I would personally like the GoPro the more I think about it, but just want to make sure the 120fps will be sufficient. I have been watching videos in various fps speeds and trying to figure what is a good level, but I think each type, or size, of effect could warrant a different fps anyway. What do you think? Thanks again!

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      • #4
        I think the GoPro would be perfect for what your doing, its nice and small too, so it can fit in little places. I think the new one is even smaller. Do you have any pics or video of some of your miniatures? I would love to see what you got going on!
        Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue

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        • #5
          Go Pro. the new one of course. I just bought the Black Edition.

          Its quality is great, you can shoot up to 4k footage with it, but I stuck with the normal 1080, just because I was doing youtube videos and stuff with it.

          The quality is amazing, but you really need ot make sure your computer can handle the files, and be sure to use the converter that comes with the GoPro, it condenses the files down well.

          The 120 fps is pretty nice, wish they could have a higher frame rate though, 120 is still pretty nice, and if you use something like Adobe After Effects, using Twixtor with the 120 fps slows it down amazing.

          My only big problem with the GoPro is the low light settings, it isnt bad, and its actually really god for such a small camera, but its still kinda bad, so make sure you use lighting a lot if you are shooting outside shots.
          http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOnlyHavey

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          • #6
            Nick: Yeah, there is like a GoPro White, Black, and....Red ( I think). They all vary by a 100 or so in price, but have the same specs. I don't have any clips as of yet. Not sure I would show them, lol. My interest in films has been active since seeing Star Wars in theaters in '77, but haven't really played with it a whole lot. I am reeeeally green at this as of yet. I have 2 Canons, GL1 and GL2 that I have green screened and stop motioned a little, just to see how it all works. Now through the holidays, probably won't do too much. I have been waiting to figure out this issue! But I will show you some clips when I do get them done.

            Havey: Thanks for the tips. I was leaning the GoPro side. Didn't have a lot of faith in the Casio! Even though it boasts 240, 480 and 1000 fps! I have heard about the light issues with the higher fps, appreicate the heads up. Just have to go get one and play with it!

            By the way, either of you ever use any of the speech to text software, i.e. Dragon? Thanks again guys!

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            • #7
              From the info I have gathered over the years, a faster fps slows the action down to "give them weight", or so they seem bigger. Like in Empire Strikes Back, the AT-ATs were shot at a fast speed when they blew up and fell over so they wouldn't look like models. Also, when I blow up a model of an F-4, it will look like a real F-4 instead of a 5 inch model. Do I have the correct thought? I forget where I read the 300fps.

              ============

              Yeah, you have the general idea correct.

              I think, though, that the frame rate depends on the scale of the model being blown up.

              For instance, if the model is 1/6 scale, then the film speed should be 6 times regular speed [6 x 24 [or 30 if that's your project rate]].

              Don't know much about high speed shooting, but it's likely you won't be able to pick any old rate--will depend on your camera's speed options. They probably have a few options only.

              You can also slow stuff down somewhat in editing. If 300 fps seems too fast, slow the clip down in editing so it moves slower if it looks more real that way.

              Do some research on the Lydecker brothers online....they worked in miniatures [1940s-1960s] and had some guidelines about frame rate and scale.



              Kurt Hathaway
              -------------------
              VikingDream7 Productions
              Video Production & Editing

              khathawayart[at]gmail.com

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              • #8
                I worked for years in VFX shooting miniatures for Apogee, Boss, and ILM. The formula listed above is often proffered as the way to shoot any miniature. In my experience each camera is set to shoot as fast as it can. Nobody ever has used the formula. It isn't necessary. So if your camera does 120 shoot 120.

                Also, camera angle, depth of field and lens choice are often more important considerations. High speed is only necessary to add scale to movement, such as crashing a model, or when pyro or water is used. (Although water doesn't scale up nearly as well as fire.)

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                • #9
                  I am curious, did we find out if we need high fframe rate for miniatures?

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