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-   -   Frame or Normal Mode (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/techniques-independent-production/1483-frame-normal-mode.html)

Rick Banfield April 3rd, 2002 12:59 PM

Frame or Normal Mode
I am still confused as to whether and when to use Frame or Normal Mode, and how to make that decision. I can't see significant difference in footage. I am sometimes using 100-400L series lens for Wildlife as well as std lens. Can somebody help please?
Regards Rick Banfield

Bill Ravens April 3rd, 2002 01:15 PM

I ALWAYS use frame mode. I see no use for normal mode.
Ordinarily, normal mode is for production of NTSC based interlaced video. Interlaced video has terrible motion artifacts when viewed on a computer monitor.

Ken Tanaka April 3rd, 2002 01:55 PM

Hi Rick,
Although I don't shoot wildlife I'm inclined to agree with Bill in just keeping frame-mode active all the time. This is particularly true when shooting moving subjects (like 'roos <g>) where normal mode would leave you with frames filled with jaggies.

Jeff Donald April 3rd, 2002 03:13 PM


Use the frame mode unless you are going to go to film. Most of the top houses for this type of work are stating that for best quality use 60i . I think the reasoning is that going to film in and of itself will give you a film look. The frame mode looks more like an artifact when you go to film.

Jeff Donald

fargograf April 3rd, 2002 04:46 PM

Not that I'm doubting anyone, but it sure seems like when transfering video to film, 24 frames to 24 makes more sense than 60i to 24 frames. ?

What if you're going to broadcast the finished project on U.S. television? 30 frame-mode? It seems like this would have less jagged artifacts than 60i, but I've also heard the resoultion is lower. Anyone know?

Thanks in advance.

Joe Redifer April 3rd, 2002 04:57 PM

Use normal mode if you want your footage to look the news footage. It will have that "super-real" and cheesy look to it. Use the Frame mode if you want it to look closer to film (ie more fantasy-like).

Bill Ravens April 3rd, 2002 05:01 PM

ummm...not sure I understand what you say fargo. Canon frame movie mode is 60i in disguise. For TV broadcast, I'd stick with normal mode for the reasons you said. It's 60i, too, but, each field is a seperate acquisition in time. 3:2 pulldown works with this format.

Jeff Donald April 3rd, 2002 05:44 PM

The transfer of video to film is increasing in popularity. The two companies that are emerging as leaders in the field are Swiss Effects www.swisseffects.ch/ and Digital Film Group www.digitalfilmgroup.net/camerasetup.htm The use of Frame mode and Progressive Modes is specifically cautioned against if you are going to film. If your video is to be broadcast, then the use of Frame Mode may give your video a film look.

Jeff Donald

Chris Hurd April 3rd, 2002 06:07 PM

Howdy from Texas,

<< The use of Frame mode and Progressive Modes is specifically cautioned against if you are going to film. >>

Not *always.* It depends entirely on the particular transfer house. For instance, TapeHouse Digital Film in NYC specifically calls for PAL video shot in Frame Movie mode. See the four-part "DV to 35mm Guide" in the Articles section of the Watchdog.

Greg Matty April 3rd, 2002 08:24 PM

Are there any drawbacks to using one or the other?

I honestly have not experimented with frame mode and one reason is that those who claim to know, say that you won't get good pans or tilts. Can anyone substantiate this and/or explain why this is?

Greg Matty

Ken Tanaka April 3rd, 2002 09:55 PM


Try it out for yourself. Most often such reporters haven't taken the time to learn how to use the tool properly. In this case the person has probably kept the lens' image stabilizer active while panning/tilting with a mounted cam.

Nathan Gifford April 3rd, 2002 10:48 PM

Well this seems like a better thread on frame mode than the last one!
One the last frame mode thread I never really could figure out what the consensus of this group was. I think it seemed from my read that no one like shooting in frame movie. It seems like the opposite is true now.

I agree that the image stabilizer can give you problems in frame mode on a mounted cam.

On telecine, I wonder how important that will be in the future? DV is just too darn cheap.

Nathan Gifford

P.S. Now if I can figure out whether I want to get the 3X lens or not.

Ozzie Alfonso April 3rd, 2002 11:49 PM

I can only speak from personal experience. We began shooting a dramatic project we're now near completion in frame mode. After seeing the results of the first five days of shootiing we quickly changed to normal mode. We were alarmed at the obvious loss of resolution. I'm told this loss is not objectionable but it certainly was to us. We looked and compared images over 19" and 21" hires CRT monitors and waveform scopes and the differences were significant. The frame mode yields a significantly softer picture which, in my opinion and for our purposes, is inferior to us and to our clients. We've opted to soften the image, if necessary, in post production.

We originally chose to shoot in frame mode since some of the material will end up as still pictures printed in a text book. The frame mode is indisputably a better way to get good frame grabs from the video.

Charles Papert April 4th, 2002 12:57 AM

I am guessing that the reason that there has been caution about panning and tilting in frame movie mode is that strobing may occur (more visible in pan than tilt). It's just a function of less frames per second than standard video. The same is true in the film world at 24 fps. There is a particular range of pan speed that should be avoided--it sounds like a pain but it really isn't that bad, you get used to it.

I shot a short last year in Frame Movie mode, and in our preliminary tests the director and myself found the look more seamless than various AfterEffects plug-ins; in addition the overall softening that Ozzie referred to was actually a bit of a plus for dramatic work. As a result I opted not to use any diffusion. I have seen the short projected on a 30 ft screen, and it retained plenty of resolution as far as I am concerned. Of course it depends on the project. I thought the look lent itself well to narrative.

Ken Tanaka April 4th, 2002 01:30 AM

Indeed, Charles, frame mode will produce a strobing effect with fast pans. Rick, I'm sorry I overlooked that possibility in my earlier remarks. Haste makes...hooey.

John Threat April 4th, 2002 04:52 AM

I have done some experiments with Frame Mode. It looks gorgeous, but if you need critical focus on objects, it will work against you. The resolution loss make the image look soft at best.

Luckily there are other in-camera settings and post production work you an do to achieve the same look.

Ozzie Alfonso April 4th, 2002 10:48 AM

I have to add that the "softness" issue is a relative one. If you're used to looking at DigiBeta or BetaSP images shot with $50k cameras through $15k lenses, then the images will be soft, even when shot in normal TV mode. There's just no comparing the camera end of any sub $4k camera to a tip of the line broadcast workhorse. Something has to be lost in reducing the price and it's not just the housing.

On the other hand, if you're used to seeing Hi8, the softness is not even apparent. If you're used to the XL-1, the "softness" of the XL-1s is a definite improvement.

Bill Ravens April 4th, 2002 10:56 AM

This entire thing is probably rather subjective. I think the frame mode with +1 sharpness in CP and one step in sharpness in post(unsharp mask) looks just as good as any standard mode frame. By the time I de-interlace the standard mode frame, it's lost any advantage in sharpness it had over the frame movie mode frame. I'd be interested to see the results of an optical rez test on the two.

Charles Papert April 4th, 2002 11:05 AM

That's very true Ozzie, "softness" is purely a subjective term. But it doesn't necessarily always mean "low resolution" either. Film has many times the resolution of NTSC, and yet it is often described as having a "softer" look. Which usually means, "less harsh"!

I have seen on many forums, this included I think, that folks have passed around the wisdom that to make video look more filmic, ya just slap on a Black ProMist and shoot away. Certainly I have done the same (and nets on the rear element, etc. etc.) in an effort to smooth out the tendency of video to emphasize detail in places you don't really want it, like on faces. I think what I dug about the Frame Movie Mode is that as well as creating a pleasing motion dynamic, the loss of resolution seemed to do the job of a short stack of filters in buffing out the hard edges.

I'm up to shoot a feature this spring which is oscillating between Digi Beta, HD and Super 16. If the digital formats win out for cost reasons (and I think they will), I'm planning on testing a full range of filters to take the edge of the video look--as that is my preference.

Call me "Mr. Softy"...

Jeff Donald April 4th, 2002 03:45 PM

Are you sure you want to shoot it soft? If you are not going to up-res it to film I would shoot it soft. However, if the finished piece is going to film I would shoot several clips and start sending them out to various labs to judge their transfer methods and how your video holds up. The labs I've been talking to suggest turning the detail circuits off because of artifacts, not using filters and turning dynamic compression circuits on. The detail circuits cause a halo effect around objects which is very noticeable after transfer to film. The dynamic circuits tend to expand the contrast range of film. any softening can be added in post. Trying to sharpen an image that is too soft causes a hlo effect.

Jeff Donald

Ozzie Alfonso April 5th, 2002 12:08 AM


I have always discouraged DPs from using Promist filters to create the "film look." All they seem to do is give that 1940s Veronica Lake look to closeups. They add nothing, in my opinion, to the video image. Sometimes a few DPs use a slight diffusing filter to soften harsh contrast like a bright window in the background. In instances like that I can see the benefit, especially with high end hi-resolution cameras. With the small chip cameras we're talking about it seems hardly necessary.

In the project I just completed (tonight we finished principal photography, but that's a story for another time) our DP originally opted to use a 1/8 promist on the XL-1s just to match it to the softer XL-1. I think that was a mistake and it compounded the softening we were already getting by going to film mode. We stopped using all difusing filters and switched to "straight" shooting and the images are very acceptable. We now have full control over the images in post. I'd rather have details I can soften than softness I can sharpen at the expense of increased noise.

Adam Wakely April 5th, 2002 02:29 AM

My 2 cents...

I do mostly weddings and I use frame mode for the photo shoot and the post reception. All other footage is in regular mode. The 2 looks show "reality" and "party-mode" The frame mode to me is an "effect" (video look/film look). That's all. It's a "feeling" to me when I see it on TV.

What if we watched a movie like "The Terminator" in the "video look" it would probably suck. And the "live news" in the "film look" it would probably suck too. We seem to all be "adjusted" to this for some reason, yet it could of been the other way around I guess. Too late now! :)

Todd Mattson April 8th, 2002 09:19 AM

One thing I discovered back last summer is that frame mode footage can be converted back into interlaced footage using RE:Vision's Twixtor in After Effects. What this program does is interpolate new frames in between frames for video and film, much like a 3D program like Bryce 3D does when you ask it to "tween" frames, not like the plain old frame blending in After Effects. It does an exceptional job at this, and has been used in major motion pictures for the purpose of super slo motion, say of the car crash segments in "The Fast and The Furious". I was able to take in the 30p footage, "tween" the frames and come out with 60p footage. Then with the 60p footage take and interlace those frames together into 30i, and viola, it looks like you shot the footage in normal (movie) mode in the first place. Hopefully this information will help those wafflers decide, and put and end to this discussion once and for all.

Vic Owen April 8th, 2002 09:41 AM

Nah, no way it will put the discussions aside -- without them, these boards would have no reason for existence! Personally, I like all the interaction and varied opinions. :)

Good info, though.......thanks for the post.

Todd Mattson April 8th, 2002 10:01 AM

You're quite welcome, Vic. Like Kevin Bacon's character said in JFK, "The people gotta know." Later.

Jay Henderson April 20th, 2002 04:22 PM

i think dvfilm.com has a program, either "dv film maker," or "atlantis," that can interlace and de-interlace video shot in normal or "progressive/frame movie mode," to make frame video from interlaced, or interlaced from frame video.

Todd Mattson April 21st, 2002 11:56 AM

I own "DV filmmaker", and it is for selectively deinterlacing interlaced footage, dependent on motion. It does a decent job, although I prefer shooting in frame mode. It is not capable of reinterlacing frame mode footage. The only product I've found that is capable of doing that is Twixtor as I described in a previous post.

Shawn McBee May 26th, 2002 04:36 AM

All the Frame/Interlaced discussions seem to revolve around whether you're planning on going to video/tv or to film...

Well, does anyone have a suggestion for those of us that don't know? For example, I'm getting ready to shoot a dramatic feature. Ideally, it would rock at Cannes and take home the Palm D'Or and get distributed by Mirimax on 1500 screens in the U.S. (and while I'm dreaming, I'd like a pony). However, the fact that the project may never see the emulsion side of a strip of polyester is definitely in my mind and if someone wanted to show it on IFC or the Sundance channel or even do a straight-to-video/dvd release, I sure as hell wouldn't scoff at them.

So, any suggestions on the best way to shoot so that it can be transferred nicely to film (in a perfect world) but can still have a nice filmic look if it stays in video?

Also, any opinions on the Cinelook plugin if one is planning on video/dvd distribution?

-Shawn McBee

James Fortier July 24th, 2002 12:33 AM

Frame or Normal Mode
So what if a doc is shot with this in mind: a film transfer down the road for real film screenings at festivals,and maybe theatrical dist, but it will also have a life on broadcast or cable? Frame mode or Normal mode?

Ken Tanaka July 24th, 2002 12:52 AM

Consult your transfer service BEFORE you shoot. Some want interlaced footage, others may want frame-mode.

Don Donatello July 24th, 2002 10:56 AM

to make it more clear ...

if you shoot PAL - some houses prefer interlace - others progressive ( maybe frame mode)

of you shoot NTSC - today all houses prefer interlace - NO NTSC house prefers frame mode/ progressive ... they will work with it but ALL will tell you to shoot interlace ( if you haven't started shooting)

Nathan Gifford July 24th, 2002 12:02 PM

Is there a preference on TV or DVD?
Does anyone know the scoop on frame vs. normal for TV or DVD production.

Nathan Gifford

Doug Thompson August 10th, 2002 07:19 AM

Re: Is there a preference on TV or DVD?
<<<-- Originally posted by Nathan01 : Does anyone know the scoop on frame vs. normal for TV or DVD production.

Nathan Gifford -->>>


Depends on the application. I shoot news footage interlaced and documentary footage in frame (we do our own post for documentaries so translation is not an issue).

Most of our DVDs are produced in frame mode with good results. Again, doing your own post makes the decision easier. But some clients want a video look and we use interlaced for that.


Vinson Watson October 7th, 2002 11:50 PM

Re: Is there a preference on TV or DVD?
<<<-- Originally posted by Nathan Gifford : Does anyone know the scoop on frame vs. normal for TV or DVD production.

Nathan Gifford -->>>

I've heard it's best to not use the frame mode. See if you use frame mode you have only frame mode footage, but if you shoot good solid video you can do all kinds of tweaking in the computer and with effects. Trust me on this, there's tons of ways to get the film look with DV and a good computer.


Josh Bass October 8th, 2002 02:53 AM

There is a free program called DVfilmmaker that will deinterlace your footage for your, giving you the frame mode look, at a supposedly higher resolution, and without the jerkiness of frame mode pans/tilts. I still haven't tried it myself. If you shoot interlaced, you have the option of keeping it that way, or using this program, frame mode-ing it.

Here's the link


Jay Henderson October 9th, 2002 07:38 PM

the program isn't free, last time i checked. they have a version of it you can download for free to test it out, but it burns their logo onto the processed footage.
i bought and use one of their other products, "dvfilm atlantis," which transfers pal interlaced or progressive (canon frame mode in my case) to ntsc progressive. it works well, and basically was the thing that enabled me to go ahead and get a pal camera, knowing that i would need to end up with ntsc footage.
you can also "add grain" and do a few other "film look" effects to your footage if you choose to with this program.

Josh Bass October 10th, 2002 02:21 AM

Damnit, that's right. Sorry, other guy. DVfilmmaker's only $100 or so, though, right?

Keith Luken October 10th, 2002 09:43 PM

I'm still a rather newbie, but have been playing with taking normal interlace and going to "progressive" aka "frame" look on the final post conversion. I have tried DVFilm meaker and also the capabilities built into TMPGENC. Both work wekk, TMPGENC give you much more control over how you want the conversion to non-interlaced handled, but both have some minor trade offs introducing some jerliness on fast pans. DV Filmmaker seems to get it better more often, I suspect that is becasue they have fewer user options, wehre as TMPGENC is so customizable that you really have to play with it a while to learn the pros and cons of each setting. My testing so far is FRAME original of FRAME added in post will still have some issues with fast pans and certain oan like movements.

Vinson Watson October 12th, 2002 07:24 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by jedibugs :

However, the fact that the project may never see the emulsion side of a strip of polyester is definitely in my mind and if someone wanted to show it on IFC or the Sundance channel or even do a straight-to-video/dvd release, I sure as hell wouldn't scoff at them.

-Shawn McBee -->>>

Frankly Shawn more people would probably see it if it went to cable. Seriously.


Ron Pfister October 13th, 2002 03:23 PM

Maximizing Resolution...
Hello all!

A poster mentioned earlier in this thread that he thought that Frame mode had lower res than interlaced mode. I seem to remember the same from a previous thread (I think the poster might have been Chris Hurd).

However, I don't find the Frame-mode resolution specs in the manual of my XL-1s PAL. If anyone has the real figures of horizontal and vertical res in interlaced and frame modes for both NTSC and PAL versions of the XL-1s, I'd very much appreciate the info.

If it is in fact true that the res is lower in frame mode, I'd suggest shooting in interlaced mode, and to de-interlace as a last step in post.

I'm on the Mac-platform, and have fiddled with de-interlacing a bit. The QuickTime 5 de-interlace filter plainly sucks (haven't tried QT 6 yet). Discreet's Cleaner 5 will do very well, though. Anyone know of any other tools?



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