Report: How varying, and higher frame rates, can reduce 3D viewing discomfort

Research conducted at Emily Carr University of Art + Design's stereoscopic 3D centre is probing the use of variable frame rates on 3D content viewing patterns by producing a short film, Soulmates 3D.

Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver may have settled on the root of motion illness by some viewers of 3D content: frame rates.

Research conducted at Emily Carr’s stereoscopic 3D centre is probing the use of variable frame rates on viewing patterns by producing a 3D short, L’ Âme Soeur (Soulmates).

The centre’s research into variable frame rates suggests that the choice of frame rate can influence a 3D film’s narrative, and so viewer comfort.

“As the film and broadcast industries move toward higher frame rate 3D productions, it is important that researchers look at the implications both on a technical and perceptual level,” Dr. Maria Lantin, director of Emily Carr’s stereoscopic 3D centre said Thursday in a statement.

“With this research we specifically address the notion of using frame rate as an additional component to storytelling and audience engagement,” she added.

Cinema traditionally has been filmed at 24 frames per second.

At the same time, 3D content benefits from including scenes shot at 48 or 60 frames per second, not least as the slower shutter in recording in the standard 24 frames per second rate produces motion artifacts such as blur and light strobing.

And those motion artifacts can encourage viewer discomfort.

For Soulmates 3D, Emily Carr researchers captured footage using RED Epic cameras, capable of capturing images at up to 60 uncompressed frames per second.

Each scene was filmed at 24, 48, and 60 frames per second.

And the filmmakers were able to swap scenes with varying frame rates to reduce motion artifacts, and so increase the chances for an optimum viewer experience.

The result is varying frame rates used to tell better stories, not least by using higher frame rates to make 3D characters more lifelike.

Photo: still from video explaining HFR S3D research