It is possible that there is nobody who hold you in higher esteem than I. Having said, that, I must take serious umbrage with your answers on P.67-68 of “Straight Dope Tells All”. Your reason for the increase to 24 frames per second of movie film is that moviehouse owners wanted to cram more showings into each night, AND, that it was necessary for better sound reproduction.
Both assertions, sadly, are completely wrong. First of all, the greedy theatre owners. Let’s say I shoot a movie at 16 fps. ( I can do this, I am a professional cameraman, with a gob of credits, and 3 Union Cards. Honest. ). I make a lovely movie, although a wee bit on the long side. Say… Dances With Wolves. I PROJECT this movie at 16 fps as well. It will run 3 hours.IF I SHOOT IT AT 24 FPS ( or, 25 fps, the European standard, but let’s not get into THAT mess ), and project it back at that same frame rate? IT STILL RUNS 3 hours. You captured and replayed each second of images at the same rate. NO time is saved by the greedy owners, who had to show the prints at the speed at which they were shot ( nominally ).
Second. Sound quality being what it was then, there is absolutely NO difference in quality between sound played back at 18 fps and 24fps. Shall we say, no DISCERNABLE sound. My Great Uncle Raymond was a projectionist in the silent era, died of Gray Lung disease from the carbon arcs used to illuminate silent films. He worked for YEARS at the Reeves Sound Research Labs on Long Island. Trust me here, Uncle Cecil…
The reason to shoot and project at 24 is very simple. It is based on a theory called Persistence of Vision. That is to say, what amount of frames per second can be shown to a human where there will be LITTLE OR NO perceptible flicker? After years of easing upwards slowly, 24 fps was found to be the LOWEST speed useable. Why strive for the lowest possible speed? Because, Producers are MUCH cheaper than the aforementioned theatre owners. Raw stock costs a LOT of money. Shoot at 24fpt instead of 30 fps? You save…hmm…20% ?? Lotta dough there.Period. Sound has nothing to do with it, nor does greedy theatre owners.
There are systems out there ( Notably Douglas Trumbull’s ShowScan System, and IMAX ) that both film and project at a higher frame rate per second. The image SIZE is also MUCH larger.65mm Negative is used to photograph these films ( sometimes using the film horizontally instead of vertically ). The combination of a larger negative, and an increased frame rate gives the brain a MUCH larger amount of information to process per second of viewing time.Voila’- a “COOL” new process is born.
I do love your mind, but, oh god you dropped the ball here.