High frame rates - how it works

24 frames per second (FPS) has been the cinema industry standard because it was formerly the most cost-effective way to produce films. 24 FPS was the lowest frame rate that could support an integrated sound track. Increasing the frames per second FPS would increase each film print cost by 2 to 2.5 times.

High frame rates (HFR) of 48 or 60 FPS produce clearer and more lifelike images. With the move to digital technologies, the cost of distributing movies shot at higher frame rates is negligible. The cinema industry is now in the right place to move beyond the 24 FPS standard and present better and more immersive 2D and 3D content.


Digital cinema projector firmware & hardware upgrades

Today’s digital cinema projection systems have three main hardware components:
  • a digital cinema projector that drives images to the screen,
  • a Media Block that decrypts, decodes and formats content during playback, and
  • a storage device that holds the content (such as feature films, trailers, alternative content and related media).
To show high frame rates movies, exhibitors need to upgrade their digital cinema projectors with firmware that lets their projectors accept video content at higher frame rates than the traditional 24 FPS.

Existing digital cinema projection systems also need their media block upgraded to show feature films at high frame rates.

Integrated Media Block

The Christie Integrated Media Block (IMB) provides the most reliable digital cinema projection system design and unlocks the high frame rate and 4K potential in all Christie Series 2 Solaria projectors.

The Christie IMB puts the media block inside the projector - removing the bottleneck that today’s cabled content connections create. HFR content passes directly to the projector, completely uncompromised and using all the available color information for the movie.

>> For more information about high frame rates, download the High Frame Rate Technology Overview.

To learn how to upgrade your digital cinema projection system to be high-frame-rate capable, contact us today.



The Christie IMB introduction video

Don Shaw, Christie’s senior director of product management, introduces Christie’s IMB – the key to providing the most reliable projection system and unlocking the high-frame-rate potential in all Christie Series 2 Solaria projectors.


"The reason I went down that path is because I believe it makes for better 3D…There were lots of arguments for why 48 and why 60 [fps]. My feeling is if it is a software upgrade (for digital cinema projectors), do both. It doesn’t change anything at the projector; you don’t have to change the lamp house or the lenses. If you are uploading software you can upload it for 48 and 60 [fps] and let the filmmakers decide."

- “Avatar” director, James Cameron, in an interview on his advocacy of higher frame rates. Source: Filmonic.com