I think you have some of the


I think you have some of the theory and practice a bit mixed up.

Dance (something I’m involved in) is fluid, beautiful if done well and above all, graceful. It can also be rather fast. Cinematic really worries me, because nobody ever defines it properly. Gone with the Wind, The Big Country, and perhaps 2001 a space Odyssey could be described as Cinematic, at least in my definition book. However, the term, has been hijacked and distorted to become something more ‘arty’. Very often by blurring the background, reducing depth of field, and introducing blur. All things that work against dance, unless for effect.

This daft notion that Cinematic =24fps is lunacy. It depends on what the subject material is. I view TV as TV, and huge screens with huge amounts of content as Cinema.

Now the dance specific problems.

Software can now convert almost anything to anything. If you shoot dance in 60fps, and can replay that in a 60fps capable chain to the end display, that’s brilliant in definition terms. Arms legs, people – they will all be moving in dance. Arms in particular, and feet in ballet, can move damn fast. Lets say a movement is quick, and lasts 4 frames in 60fps. The software has to try to make that fit a 24fps timeline? So that’s less than 2 frames of the 4 shot. In most cases, it will be 1 frame, with a few duplicated every now and then to make the 24. So that wonderful graceful arc, is now a sequence of jerks, with an added stutter every few frames to make the maths work. 60 down to 30, or 50 down to 25 is less obvious, because the stutter is missing, and the jerkiness consistent. so is 60 frames, all slightly different better than 30 frames, all more different? I think 60 wins every time. The result with film was a softening of the images because of the shutter exposure time. So called ‘cinematic’ settings fail on sports and fast moving art subjects – they destroy the fluidity. Add any conversion to frame rates not mathematically linked and it’s even worse. Low frame rates can work with some styles of dance – but the usual result is a lack of sharpness. Success with dance is more to do with smoothness – you will improve the result far more with an upgraded pan/tilt head than with fiddling with shutter speeds. Following dance is very similar to shooting showjumping OBs with broadcast cameras. You don’t shoot centre frame as a constant. You have to take into account what dancers call ‘travel’. This means panning forward, allowing the viewer to see the space they are going to move into, then as the action is about to reverse, you need to predict it, so on the turn you have looking room. This looks so much better. If you are shooting on stage, with theatrical lighting and staging, then slightly wider angles, full depth of field, and ultra smooth camerawork will look far more ‘Cinematic’ that any silly frame rate conversions – which always are downwards moves in quality. I see little point capturing image data, then throwing 60% of it away.

Best Products

Camera Support Buyer's Guide

The best advanced camera support for video — 2021

While the camera will always be at the core of your production setup, using the best camera support is vital in getting smooth cinematic shots.