The UHD Blu-ray standard includes support for up to 60 frames per second, allowing mvoies to be presented in much clearer and sharper motion. ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ will be the first UHD Blu-ray release to take advantage of 60 fps.
For much smoother motion
While many in Hollywood consider 24fps part of the “cinema look” it is undeniable that it introduces significant motion blur to the picture. To film in 24fps the camera needs to smooth out motion by introducing motion blur between frames. This is very easy to confirm: Just pause any movie at any point during an action sequence.
"In an industrywide first, the 4K presentation of the film is displayed at 60 frames per second "
Several fronts have proposed solutions to this. Peter Jackson doubled the frame rate to 48fps in ‘The Hobbit’. This is sometimes referred to HFR (High Frame Rate) but there is disagreement over the term. The broadcast industry considers only 100+ fps HFR whereas Hollywood considers basically anything over 24fps HFR.
Regardless of the definition of the word, there is reason to be excited about HFR. It will usher in a new type of movies by giving giving the movie creator an even wider palette. Combined with other advances such as 4K and HDR, HFR will take (some) movies to new heights.
That is why we are also excited to learn that ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ will be the first UHD Blu-ray release in 60fps HFR. Not only that, it will be presented in 4K and HDR, too, as well as in Dolby Atmos. A HD 3D version will also be available in the box. Furthermore, the disc will include a ‘Technology as Art: Changing the Language of Cinema’ featurette about how the high frame rate technology was implemented.
- “In an industrywide first, the 4K presentation of the film is displayed at 60 frames per second (FPS), versus the standard 24 FPS, offering a first-of-its-kind, unique, and immersive viewing experience,” Sony Pictures Home Entertainment confirmed.
We have not yet seen the movie but no matter how good or bad it is, it should - visually - represent a significant step forward for home entertainment. The disc will be released on February 14.
UHD Blu-ray shortcomings
However, at the same time ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ brings attention to some of the shortcomings in the UHD Blu-ray standard.
The movie was actually shot in no less than 120 frames per second and 4K 3D but none of these two elements will make it onto the Blu-ray release.
Only two cinemas in the US were capable of screening the movie in its native format at its debut. Viewers who have seen it in HFR say that it is “absolutely spectacular”.
Of course, current TVs are not capable of handling 120fps either but going forward it will be an area where streaming may actually leapfrog Blu-ray.
We had expected LG to release a 100/120fps HFR-capable OLED TV at CES 2017. The company demonstrated the technology back in autumn 2016 at the IFA show in Berlin. We asked for an update on the matter and LG told us that it will happen in 2018 at the earliest.