Intra-scene variable frame rates’ effect on viewer engagement in a scene

With the advent of 360 degree video and virtual reality, a large issue is designing/framing a scene where a viewer’s attention is to be driven. In regular cinematic scenes that utilize high frame rates (HFRs), there is however still an issue with directing viewer attention on the flat screen. It seems compulsory to find out how a variation in frame rates within the very frame may be able to influence where a viewer gazes, without negatively affecting the aesthetic of the scene. Filmmakers largely wish to avoid an audience member regarding a scene as looking like ‘sped up television’ or ‘video games’ and retain its cinematic look, but also wish to capitalize on the overwhelmingly positive outcomes of HFR to the viewer’s visual system. In answer to this problem, this study attempts to explore the effect of selective variable frame rates within a single scene (intra-scene) on viewer gaze attentional synchrony. 78 participants took part in the study, and the study is to be published in a peer reviewed journal in 2016-2017. Results will be available at this time.

Research funded by TELUS and NSERC, conducted at Emily Carr University of Art + Design with collaboration by Simon Fraser University. Contributions by Dr. Christopher Pack (PackLab, McGill University), and Douglas Trumbull (Showscan Digital).

Key Objective: Determine the likelihood of a viewer’s gaze and attention motivated by higher temporal information (higher frame rates) within a video. Process derived from results may lead to improved processes of filmmaking/virtual reality with frame rates as a storytelling device; medical application for fatigue tests; virtual reality application through customized software; improved projection and streaming for cinema and television. This research may benefit the understanding of human cognitive and vision science as it applied to flicker frequency threshold, emotional engagement and enjoyment. This research may assist in improving the experience of viewing stereoscopic and virtual reality material, through the elimination of motion artifacts and reduction of flicker; also the directing of viewer attention to assist in special awareness.