During my early fansub days, I was particularly paranoid about the frame rates of the videos I download, especially in one specific example – Chobits. This anime actually runs smoothly when the screen slides and pans, and this can be evidently seen if you get a Chobits video that runs in 29.97 or 30fps. There are some fansubbers/raw providers though who only provided it at 23.976 or 24fps, which means it loses the smoothness during screen pans and introduces judder or jittering.
Nowadays I see a curious feature in HDTVs called Motion Interpolation. It tries to insert middle frames on a video in the hopes of making it smoother. A best way to describe it is to take your traditional cinema/film and make it look as if you’re watching a soap opera (Soap Opera Effect). LCD TVs with 120Hz or higher refresh rates have this feature built in. Let me explain though that this is an acquired taste. Personally I don’t like to motion-interpolate live-action videos because I’m very used to the cinema/film effect. Also, this will not be as the original makers of the video intended it to be, because the feature is trying to add information that wasn’t there in the first place. It’s a bit similar in concept to upconversion, where you try to add more pixels in the hopes of making it look sharper and clearer (cue CSI enhance-enhance lol).
For anime and PVs though, this is a pretty awesome idea! I find that I enjoy the viewing experience tremendously when I take advantage of this! Of course, while I don’t have a 120Hz display because they are still expensive, I am able to simulate the experience by either converting videos to 60fps or decoding them on the fly as I watch. Both the guides I linked are pretty techie so be forewarned, also you need a pretty souped rig to decode on the fly. My Core 2 Duo 3GHz rig starts to cough at motion interpolation if I give it a 1080p video.
It’s pretty hard to explain without actual samples so I prepared one to best illustrate this how this would look. I have encoded the first To Aru Kagaku no Railgun OP, one in its original 24fps form and the other motion-interpolated to 60fps. The difference is incredibly noticeable in this video. It wouldn’t be nice in YouTube because it caps all video at around 30fps so I will provide download links.
Apologies if it looks grainy because I tried to keep the file size low, but what the heck, I will share another one! This is the incredible Bad Apple PV in 960×720 60fps glory:
What do you think? Does it look better to you with the additional smoothness in motion? For me it certainly does, at least for anime, MADs, PVs and other animated videos. I’m in the process of converting a lot of my videos to 60fps. As I said, this is an acquired taste, and it’s not what the original video makers intended, but it still looks awesome.