Why movies look weird at 48fps, and games are better at 60fps, and the uncanny valley

Simon Cooke

Let’s end this debate once and for all. Humans can see frame rates greater than 24fps (although plenty of people will argue that they can’t on the internet). I’ll explain more in a future post if necessary, but let’s take that as read.

Once you’ve accepted that fact, the next question is why do movies at 48fps look “videoy”, and why do movies at 24fps look “dreamy” and “cinematic”. Why are games more realistic at 60Hz than 30Hz?

The answer to all of this lies in two things – ocular microtremor, and center-surround receptive fields in the retina. And it predicts where the cut-off lies as well.

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Robochobo1395d ago

Framerate will always be more important than resolution. 30 FPS is the same thing as only using half of the alphabet when you spell or reading every other word of a book. In each instance you're only presenting half of the total information available at any given time.

Ranma11395d ago ShowReplies(5)
1394d ago Replies(2)
christian hour1394d ago

The people saying humans can't see more than 24fps are just getting their information fudged up. What they mean to say is we only need 24 frames a second for animation to fool the human eye. What about pigeons? They need 2000 frames a second to be fooled into seeing a moving image.

60 frames is a luxury, 30 frames is nice, 24 frames I can deal with, it's not going to kill a game for me, I've been playing at horrendous frame rates my entire life, its like those people bitching when the wifi on a plane goes down. Do you not remember how you dealt with this stuff before you got it?!

If a dev can't achieve 60fps or 30fps, I honestly don't care as long as they did waht they could to get the framerate STABLE, and deliver an aesthetically pleasing game with enjoyable gameplay.

This article was awesome though, a lot of stuff I already knew (maybe not the finer details about arcseconds etc) but it's great that some of this knowledge can get spread around n4g and hopefully prevent future flame wars in the comments section.

Volkama1394d ago

I spent days in Trafalgar Square with this awesome little flipbook animation that I drew, and none of the pigeons were into it. They just looked at me like I was some kind of weirdo.

Now I know why. I need to flip through 2000 pages a second to fool them. That poses a problem, as my flipbook only has 100 pages. It is hard to tell a good story in 1/20th of a second.

NarooN1394d ago


That was beautiful, amazing. Lmao thank you.

christian hour1393d ago

*bows before Volkama*

I'm not worthy. That was flippin' hilarious!

memots1394d ago

So last gen 98% of games used "half of the alphabet" ?

Seriously people need to stop acting like 60fps is all that matters.
Yes its nice but come on, Gears of war , Halo , God of War , Uncharted , the list goes on. All great games all running at 30fps and no one had any issue with it.

Neonridr1394d ago

and all the last gen machines ran games that were usually sub 720p and everyone had no problems. So why is a 900p game on the Xbox One or the PS4 suddenly such an issue?


blockcoc1394d ago (Edited 1394d ago )

@Neonridr Because the old consoles came out around 2005.Do you want to stay stuck in that time bubble?

DLConspiracy1394d ago (Edited 1394d ago )

That may be true. The problem is once you have tasted 60 frames or higher its very hard to go back. Much like going from fast bandwidth internet to a bit slower. Its tolerable but noticeable.


Same goes for frames too.

Zhipp1393d ago

God of War is 60...well, not quite 60, but it sure as hell isn't 30fps!

d3nworth11393d ago

actually God of war ran above 30fps. It had an unlocked framerate and ran from 34 to 50 fps.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 1393d ago
jb2271394d ago

I think a stable framerate is more important than a targeting a high one then ending up w/ peaks & valleys. Games can be tailored to whatever framerate they aspire to, and as long as that framerate is solid & stable then the game will play well. I personally don't subscribe to the 60 fps being the gold standard. It's fine if your game runs at 30, as long as it never dips or spikes. Resolution is also important…anyone who says otherwise can just grab a vhs copy of their favorite film, then a blu ray version of the same film & decide which experience was better. Doesn't mean that everything has to be 4k, only that it can be more visually appealing w/ certain games to have a higher resolution. Same goes for higher frame rate, it's a case by case basis & there is no "right answer" or foregone solution as to whether frame rate or resolution holds more importance.

bennissimo1394d ago

This article is such crap. You can't say "24hz is great for movies" and then say "Anything under 60hz is horrible for games". Some games aim for a more cinematic experience. Never mind the fact that higher framerates tend to come at the cost of other graphical assets like lighting, textures and environmental effects.

tee_bag2421393d ago

@ bennissimo

Clearly you have no idea about either genre. The whole 'cinematic' effect in games doesn't even exist. It's a buzzword some developers try to sell to fools when their games struggle to achieve a decent frame rate.

Movies are cinematic at 24fps because frames are blurred together as it's captured through the lens. This gives a smooth effect.
Games aren't made through lens are they? If blur is simulated blur it done after the frame is rendered which is will add even more lag. Fine if you're going to watch a cutscene..but not actual gameplay.

Do try and keep up.

bennissimo1393d ago

There is no blurring in 24hz film. You're thinking of something else. The whole reason films feel different and unreal is that they run at a framerate lower than our brains' native optical processing rate.

Watch any film other than the Hobbit 48hz stuff, and then watch a VHS home movie. You'll notice a huge difference in framerate.

Artificially limiting a game's fps in order to instill the same sensibility as one gets from watching a film is an easy way to make a game feel more "cinematic".

Notice how none of my words were condescending. This means I'm objectively a better person than you.

Happy Holidays!

ShottyGibs1393d ago (Edited 1393d ago )

@ bennissimo

Have you ever paused a movie? Notice how the frame is blurred? There is your answer! That's the result of film being captured and frames blurred together by a lens. It gives the illusion of smoothness which can't be done on video games without introducing post effect lag.

It's not that hard. You've just bought into the feel good phony "cinematic' BS PR.

Happy holidays! Perhaps you can learn how things work on your time off :)

ChrisW1393d ago


The Hawaiian alphabet only uses 13 letters... I don't see your analogy having much validity.


+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 1393d ago
Hellsvacancy1395d ago

The gen we're in now I think both are just as important

Ranma11395d ago (Edited 1395d ago )

Can someone tell me whats the difference between 30 fps and 60fps ??

DigitalRaptor1395d ago (Edited 1395d ago )

No need to tell you. I'll show you:

It's pretty straightforward really. FPS = frames per second. 60fps games output double the number of individual frames per second, although that is more taxing on the hardware and often comes at the cost of a sharper image (on consoles that is). Motion is smoother, and more responsive.

christian hour1394d ago (Edited 1394d ago )

You should add a disclaimer that if your PC/laptop/tablet SUCKS then that link isn't really gonna show you much as your pc struggles to play the media. I'm beginning to think thats the problem for all the people who don't notice the difference, it's the media playback on their computers maybe? Some people just don't have an eye for detail though, the same folk that claim theres no difference between dvd and bluray.

"(on consoles that is)" <--- jsut wanted to point out, same thing goes for PC, if your specs suck (like mine do), gotta lower those textures and what not if you want a smooth frame rate ;)

*edit* Just noticed theres a disclaimer on the link itself :P

DragoonsScaleLegends1394d ago

Those gifs suck you should have given him a link to a youtube video with 60fps vs 30fps.

NarooN1394d ago


Those aren't gifs, they're mp4 vids. And YouTube only supports 60fps on certain browsers, in 720p and above only, and the video has to be properly recorded and rendered at said resolution. Having embedded mp4's directly on the page is a lot more convenient and practical.

Volkama1394d ago

But not very accurate...

Bathyj1394d ago

Actually it's completely accurate. All emotion, all opinion removed, that's what it comes down to.

1 frame at 60fps is 16 thousands of a second, a time so short that if I fired a 44 magnum from 10 meters away it wouldn't have time to hit you.

So think about that if you think a game at 30fps slows input to much. A consistent frame rate is more important than a fast one for a smooth experience.

Volkama1394d ago (Edited 1394d ago )

Well sure but I'm pedantic. The difference is 0.017 of a second per frame.

You could make an argument that you were talking rendering budgets, so rounding 0.016 recurring upward takes you over budget. That would satisfy my inner pedant. Say that.

Ju1393d ago (Edited 1393d ago )

How about 0.01666666 :) There. More accurate. (1f/60f)

Point being is, those 16.6ms can be very relevant if you do sophisticated animations and physics. And TBH, all those 60fps games take short cuts in that respect to satisfy the 16.6ms frame budget. And with that said, I, subjectively, don't like that. There is something which feels totally artificial to a 60fps game. As long as motion blur and animations follow a 30 (or even 24fps) target, the render frequency isn't that important - as long as it doesn't lag and doesn't tear. Input can still be responsive at a virtual frequency, but simply rendering everything at a higher frequency doesn't solve the problem. Technically, the effort to do proper motion blur at a higher frequency is much higher than doing it at a lower frequency.

All you guys moan about is "twitchiness" of a game, but not visceral fidelity, which most (if not all) of the (pur) 60fps game lack. Renderspeed has nothing to do with twichiness if done right, though.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 1393d ago
jambola1395d ago

I'm pretty sure we got on perfectly fine without it for a long time

clouds51394d ago

If you care about these things you should get a PC. It's the only place where you have control over settings like fps and resolution.
I'm playing alot of the crew atm. I couldn't imagine playing that game at 30 fps. It actually is harder to play with half the frames available. Less responsive etc. There are some games which I never even think about the frame rate and even dips to 25-30 are acceptable. But fps and racing games need constant 60fps otherwise it just doesn't feel right.

MRMagoo1231394d ago

This is something I dont get "I couldn't imagine playing that game at 30 fps. It actually is harder to play with half the frames available. Less responsive etc" the difference in response when playing a game between 60fps and 30fps would be in the milliseconds not even close to being a problem at all unless you can react faster than .01 of a second or something stupid like that.

iiorestesii1394d ago

Dude its double man. Double the frames. It makes a difference. It feels more responsive. Higher frame rate is better. Locked frame rate is best. 30 is better than unstable. But don't try to argue that theres no difference. Simple.

andrewer1394d ago

I sometimes get a light headache from playing @30fps, but when it's @60fps it's OK. At 30fps there's half of the frames per second, meaning greater distance between them, meaning greater work your brain has to make to put them together to look like it's moving. At 60fps it's easier on the brain, thus the "smooth" sensation.