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Motion Cadencemo


Oliver Daniel

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When buying/renting a camera - most of us look for features such as resolution, dynamic range, bit rate, colour etc....

The first thing I actually look for is motion cadence. The way the image flows and feels in motion. It's such an important characteristic, I wish more attention was given to it. 

Modern TVs kill nice motion cadence. They run at 120hz or have this feature switched on called TrueMotion or SmoothMotion. The amount of TVs I've fixed (by turning the feature off) because friends are watching The Walking Dead like a cheap soap opera. 

It helps the motion when it's 1/50 shutter, progressive blah blah. But there is magic in there too. (Digital Bolex).

My opinion is (for film like motion): 

- Panasonic GH4 (poor) 

- Sony FS7 (average)

- Digital Bolex (the king!) 

Lovely cadence is a massive feature as it adds character, emotion and beauty compared to "poor" cadence where the image feels erratic and ugly. 

I also think lenses add to it. Cheap electronic lenses ruin the look of nice motion cadence as the image is vastly over sharpened, brittle and loses ounces of soul within the motion. 

I don't intend this to be a technical thread with boring mathematical numbers and nerdy bar charts/graphs and other snores. More what the "motion" of an image means to a camera and your own work. 

How do you see motion cadence as a feature? Is it important to you? 

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1. Because it looks better. 2. Because it suspends your disbelief.  3. Dreamy is a form of imagination. 4. Imagination can create great art.  5. Tell A DJ that vinyls are history. Now tell a filmmaker

​I love me some up-tempo pacing (I have the attention span of a 6-year-old), so I didn't mind it, really. Also, a lot of these cuts seemed motivated by the music. Now at first I was like: oh no, this

This is one of the first things I look for in a camera. It's almost as important to me as dynamic range. A crisp, pleasing motion cadence (similar to film at 24fps) helps induce that dreamlike state i

I don't intend this to be a technical thread with boring mathematical numbers and nerdy bar charts/graphs and other snores. More what the "motion" of an image means to a camera and your own work. 

Why would you ignore the specifications of the technology? Sensor technology and compression methods are what determines image 'cadence'.

If you understand what's happening 'under the hood', there are no guesses and you can't call it magic.

 

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Modern TVs kill nice motion cadence. They run at 120hz or have this feature switched on called TrueMotion or SmoothMotion. The amount of TVs I've fixed (by turning the feature off) because friends are watching The Walking Dead like a cheap soap opera.

​This is an interesting point of conversation. What you consider proper frame rate (let's call it that to avoid discussion of frame interpolation,) is simply your perspective.

There is a whole generation of people growing up who consider 30 FPS and greater to be 'filmic'.

 

Anecdotal point: I was dragged out to see the Hobbit. It was projected at 48 FPS. I thought it looked like a cheap soap opera. My nephew thought it was amazing, word for word: "that was the best!"

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This is one of the first things I look for in a camera. It's almost as important to me as dynamic range. A crisp, pleasing motion cadence (similar to film at 24fps) helps induce that dreamlike state in an audience that maintains the suspension of disbelief so that the viewer can enter the story. It's one of the reasons why I'm drawn to Canon cameras over Sony, despite the inferior feature sets. Canon DSLRs and C-series cameras seem to have a more pleasant motion cadence over Sony F-series cameras. And it extends all the way up to the pro-series cameras. Every time I see a trailer for a movie shot on the F55, I can't help but feel that it looks videoish, rather than filmic. The F65 solves this problem via a mechanical shutter. Maybe the mechanical shutter seems to do a better job at providing a proper motion cadence than the electronic global shutter in the F55. That said, I have looked closely at footage from an Arri Alexa Plus (ultra-fast rolling shutter) and an Alexa Studio (mechanical shutter w/ spinning mirror) and I can't tell the difference in motion cadence. Maybe it all comes down to the way the processor reads the data coming off the sensor.

This is all part of what I call "mojo". It's the inexplicable subjective feeling that's completely divorced from things like spec sheets and bit rates. If a camera feels right to you, use it. Who the hell cares if it doesn't have 4K or high frame rates?

That said, I wish that CCDs would make a comeback. They always had fantastic motion cadence. I remember fondly the days of shooting on the HVX200 with a depth-of-field adapter. Even though it was a pain in the ass to use, the footage always had tremendous soul. The Canon XL2 will always be one of my favorite cameras. A CCD sensor is one of the reasons why the Digital Bolex actually feels more like Super 16 film than the BM Pocket Cinema Camera, despite the fact that they both have the same size sensor. And I would bet cold, hard currency that there are more Sony F35s being used out there right now than F65s, despite the fact that it's a dinosaur, an ancient relic from even before the Red One. A Super 35-sized CCD sensor = Mojo to the Max.

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I also have found that movement looks a little off sometimes in my footage from the gh4. It almost looks like they are moving too fast even at 180 degree shutter. I dont use any modern lenses though and it doesn't always look as obvious as other times. maybe shooting at a little bit slower of a shutter speed could falsely correct this? maybe blurring the motion a small enough amount to make it seem like its smoother. Idk

 

 

 

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Firstly, I have no idea why j named the thread "Motion Cadencemo"... those last two letters just appeared! 

Next.... this is already a very interesting thread. By all means we can discuss why cameras differ and how we can get pleasing motion cadence from our tools - it is just more interesting when this is an emotional reaction rather than looking into algorithms and stuff. Do what you want really! 

Progressing the topic, I find it weird that so many people settle for this horrible fast motion on modern TV's. I see a friends TV set and I'm like "what on earth is wrong with your TV, this expensive film looks so cheap!". I correct it and it's like a revelation - they claim I'm really smart as though I've uncovered the meaning of life by realising the motion is wrong. 

I've held off the FS7 as a buy because of the URSA Mini, mainly just based on motion cadence. If I had the cash to spare, I'd buy a Digital Bolex on motion cadence alone. 

Just imagine it became a big selling point - "Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2 - 15 stops DR! Film emulated motion cadence!" 

Don't you think motion cadence should be a major attribute explored in cameras? The difference it makes on an image is far more staggering to me than DR and resolution. 

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Oliver Daniel => I agree with you, same for me motion cadence is so important, when I see video footage from two great cameras many times motion cadence will be what makes me go more towards one rather than the other. I also wish CCD would make a come back but I don't really think it will be the case, CMOS sensors are getting better by the year, and they have so many advantages that I think that's what is going to stay. 

Global Shutter is making CMOS sensor look very filmic, I can't wait to see new footage from the new Blackmagic 4,6k Sensor. 

About the motion interpolation, I know that some DP's are fighting it like Reed Morano, even though some people might like it, I think the majority don't like it. Same case with the 48 FPS of the hobbit, everyone I know hated it.

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Oliver Daniel => I agree with you, same for me motion cadence is so important, when I see video footage from two great cameras many times motion cadence will be what makes me go more towards one rather than the other. I also wish CCD would make a come back but I don't really think it will be the case, CMOS sensors are getting better by the year, and they have so many advantages that I think that's what is going to stay. 

Global Shutter is making CMOS sensor look very filmic, I can't wait to see new footage from the new Blackmagic 4,6k Sensor. 

About the motion interpolation, I know that some DP's are fighting it like Reed Morano, even though some people might like it, I think the majority don't like it. Same case with the 48 FPS of the hobbit, everyone I know hated it.

There is footage out of the 4.6k sensor and it looks amazing. Other than Alexa, BM motion cadence is the best I've seen other than maybe RED.

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This is one of the first things I look for in a camera. It's almost as important to me as dynamic range. A crisp, pleasing motion cadence (similar to film at 24fps) helps induce that dreamlike state in an audience that maintains the suspension of disbelief so that the viewer can enter the story. It's one of the reasons why I'm drawn to Canon cameras over Sony, despite the inferior feature sets. Canon DSLRs and C-series cameras seem to have a more pleasant motion cadence over Sony F-series cameras. And it extends all the way up to the pro-series cameras. Every time I see a trailer for a movie shot on the F55, I can't help but feel that it looks videoish, rather than filmic. The F65 solves this problem via a mechanical shutter. Maybe the mechanical shutter seems to do a better job at providing a proper motion cadence than the electronic global shutter in the F55. That said, I have looked closely at footage from an Arri Alexa Plus (ultra-fast rolling shutter) and an Alexa Studio (mechanical shutter w/ spinning mirror) and I can't tell the difference in motion cadence. Maybe it all comes down to the way the processor reads the data coming off the sensor.

This is all part of what I call "mojo". It's the inexplicable subjective feeling that's completely divorced from things like spec sheets and bit rates. If a camera feels right to you, use it. Who the hell cares if it doesn't have 4K or high frame rates?

That said, I wish that CCDs would make a comeback. They always had fantastic motion cadence. I remember fondly the days of shooting on the HVX200 with a depth-of-field adapter. Even though it was a pain in the ass to use, the footage always had tremendous soul. The Canon XL2 will always be one of my favorite cameras. A CCD sensor is one of the reasons why the Digital Bolex actually feels more like Super 16 film than the BM Pocket Cinema Camera, despite the fact that they both have the same size sensor. And I would bet cold, hard currency that there are more Sony F35s being used out there right now than F65s, despite the fact that it's a dinosaur, an ancient relic from even before the Red One. A Super 35-sized CCD sensor = Mojo to the Max.

​the sony f35 is on ebay for like 8k - join the revolution - I have two of them - one man's dinosaur is another man's lovely lovely beast.  I have shot 10 projects on them this year - hopefully one of those will win an Emmy.

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​the sony f35 is on ebay for like 8k - join the revolution - I have two of them - one man's dinosaur is another man's lovely lovely beast.  I have shot 10 projects on them this year - hopefully one of those will win an Emmy.

​I went to Arri CSC recently. They had an Arri D21 for sale for 6 grand, 10 grand with an S.Two recorder. It's got a 4:3 sensor based on Arri's laser film scanner technology, so it's designed to emulate film's exposure curve as closely as possible. Ready to go for anamorphic. Spinning mirror viewfinder from a 435. Not saying I wasn't tempted, but especially with the S.Two hung off the back (an EOL piece of gear), it's a heavy beast, but hey, you won't find Arriraw available for less.

NAB0901-2338_zps8gdkc85r.jpg

I'm just looking forward to the day when Alexas hit the four-figure price point as well. We're just now seeing first-gen Alexa EVs touch 30K. It's got all the mojo you could ever want, but it's a bit more practical than the first generation of digital cinema cameras (F35, D21, Origin, Genesis, Viper). One thing Arri learned from the D21 program is that users wanted internal recording. Thus the SxS module on Alexa (and now the Codex inside the Alexa XT). And of course the F35 also requires a solution, somethings besides that giant SRW-1 that usually comes with it.

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I don't intend this to be a technical thread with boring mathematical numbers and nerdy bar charts/graphs and other snores. 

​Of course not. You know why? You can't quantify it. It's much easier to just say "this is magical" than actually prove it with numbers / snores.

There is no "motion cadence" magic (except rolling shutter). F35 looks great because the image is very milky / low contrasty. You add that contrast back in and it'll look exactly like any global shutter cam. Also professionals use it, GH4 is in the hands of amateurs = not so great "motion cadence" i.e they are not using dollies.

Same applies to Alexa. "Great motion!" = "low contrast". You ask what's actually better, the only answer is "magic".

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We had a similar discussion about this last year with some examples posted: http://www.eoshd.com/comments/topic/6657-camera-cadencemotion/

Other than a camera being free of distracting artifacts/moire, motion cadence is the most important characteristic of a camera for me as well. What is frustrating is that not everyone can see it (kind of like watching footage from certain digital projectors has been known to make a select few people feel nauseous; I am one of these people), and this seems to turn most discussions on the topic into a "believers" versus "non-believers" debate, with a lot of people making claims that "it's because of THIS", "no, it's because of THIS", "no, you're wrong"... etc.

I've heard many possible explanations for pleasing motion, and I am not sold on any of them as THE answer just yet. I'm happy to call it "magic" for now and I'm more interested in discovering new contenders that deliver excellent motion cadence. What affordable cameras do pleasing motion cadence? Perhaps there is something already on the market that we have overlooked.

Anyway, in the sub-$10K category, the D16 looks the best to me. Digital Bolex have picked up on what people are saying about the superb cadence of their camera, and they have been using it as a selling point:

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The Digital Bolex to my eye certainly has the most pleasing motion cadence on the market - that CCD sensor might have something to do with it. 

I do agree that there is a unique characteristic in the motion that makes them more pleasing, but would be interested to find out what attributes quantify it. 

Lenses are also a factor and in my opinion can destroy it, or improve it. Why do you think this is? 

 

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Did anyone ever do a test to compare motion cadence between different cameras?
I don't really care for the mathematics, numbers and graphs either, but I can't really compare when just watching random clips of random cameras.

 

 

 

​In this clip you can see the difference between the A7s and the F35 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DY59GQ1Hu70

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