Soulmates Stereoscopic 3D, Variable Frame Rate Film (2013)

Research conducted at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, with the support of TELUS, NSERC and National Research Council of Canada.

“Soulmates” is one of the very first examples of how the use of variable frame rates can influence a film’s aesthetic and influence viewer engagement. Filmed as part of an experiment for the VFR research in 2012, the video demonstrates a change between 24fps, 48fps and 60fps from scene to scene over the course of the film.

Movies have been filmed and also projected at 24 frames per second since the 1920’s, and it has become widely known as the ‘cinematic aesthetic’. However, due to the slower shutter in recording frames at only 24 per second, certain motion artifacts such as blur and light strobing are noticeable. Motion artifacts are of concern in stereoscopic 3D productions because they have been shown to increase viewer discomfort and lead to a less immersive experience, the opposite of what most S3D productions are trying to accomplish. Motion artifacts are greatly reduced at higher frame rates (HFR) resulting in a more comfortable viewing experience with hyper-real smoother images.

“Soulmates” is shot on RED Epic cameras on a motorized Kernercam stereoscopic 3D rig in both standard and high frames rates, we used the most recent advances in technology to investigate a question we have been studying for the past year: If technology were capable of capturing and displaying a complete narrative that incorporates variable standard and high frame rates, what are the creative benefits/drawbacks of doing so? Does the utilization of HFR as a ‘tool’ in this regard change the immersive experience for the viewer?

Synopsis: A return to the theatre results in an elderly couple suddenly revisiting their first meeting as youth. With one of them struggling with memory and mental function loss due to a progressive disease, they realize that once again through dance, they can demonstrate their love to one another.