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View Full Version : The jerky motion on silent films - present in the original technology?

tashirosgt
2010-Jun-11, 10:50 PM
Years ago on TV, I recall seeing some film of WW I soldiers marching. First it was shown as silent films usually are. The marchers had the typical jerky movement. Then the same footage was shown a different way and the marching look natural.

I'm trying to figure out if audiences of the silent era saw motion in films as being jerky. Or is the jerky motion that a modern audience sees due to the fact that the film is being shown with a modern projector instead of a projector from the silent era.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jun-11, 11:12 PM
It's likely due to different methods of upscaling the picture frequency.
Early movies had 16 pictures per second1, which can be a problem converting to the 25(PAL) or 30(NTSC) per second needed for TV.
That's not a nice simple ratio and doing something like simply doubling each picture except for every 8th will give 30 per second, but smooth movement will have perceivable jerks twice a second where a picture is shown half as long as the rest.

1) with lots of variation due to the earliest hand cranking and later spring driven.

Nowhere Man
2010-Jun-11, 11:13 PM
Frame rates. It's an attempt to adjust older films, shot at a lower frame rate, to modern projection devices. TV (analog, anyway) runs at 30 frames per second, motion pictures in theaters at (IIRC) 24 fps. So, to make up for the lesser number of frames and to keep the film from running too fast on modern equipment, every Nth frame is projected twice. If the old film's rate is low enough, the jerky motion becomes obvious.

Audiences of the time saw smooth movement, because the projector's frame rate matched the camera's.

Fred

Jens
2010-Jun-14, 06:02 AM
I'm trying to figure out if audiences of the silent era saw motion in films as being jerky. Or is the jerky motion that a modern audience sees due to the fact that the film is being shown with a modern projector instead of a projector from the silent era.

No, it's because people used to walk with jerky motions. The whole world was more jerky than it is now.

Source (http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/calvin-father-on-black-and-white-pictures.gif)

captain swoop
2010-Jun-14, 10:40 AM
and it was monochrome.

DonM435
2010-Jun-14, 02:09 PM
The silent actors behaved like jerks because nobody could hear what they were saying. To get into talking pictures, you had to clean up your act.

;)