Animation of a single photograph is stuttering at 24fps

edited June 2016 in Express Support

I'm using Hitfilm 4 Pro.

I have a photograph what is 3000 x 4000 pixels.

Now I want o show it in a 1980 x 1080 window by letting it glide smoothly from the lower left corner to the upper right corner through the frame. This in a time frame of 10 to 15 seconds.

No matter it I just animate the photograph itself via it's position properties in the transform tab, or if I use a camera in 3D space (what is an utter pain b.t.w.), the result isn't smooth. Even if it is subtle it is not smooth enough.

It doesn't matter if I watch it in the viewer within Hitfilm or export it. It looks unprofessional.

What is noticeable on a 27" screen will absolutely be noticed on a 10 ft cinema screen.

I hope there is some help out there. 



  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Basic question--what interpolation settings are you using for the keyframes? 

  •  @Triem23

    I don't don't know. Where can I find that?

  • I found it by right-clicking on the key-frame. 'Linear' is checked.

  • Setting it to smooth only changes the speed of the start and the end.

    This is probably why it's called temporal interpolation.

  • edited June 2016

    What frame rate are you exporting it at, how beefy is your PC, and what compression Bitrate  settings are you using?

    Reasons for questions: 25fps will look jerky on anything other than a TV. If you're showing it on a big monitor, go 60fps.

    Each frame will be 100% different to the last - OK, the compressor will attempt to figure out that things just moved diagonally and deal with that, but it might not do it perfectly and so it's got to refresh more data than just a couple of talking heads. This leads into your PC's power and what the compression settings are. If you noticed blockiness and turned up the bitrate to deal with that, then you might be asking your PC/GPU/HDD to deal with a high enough bitrate that it stutters.

    But, if I had to pick one, I'd say: try a faster framerate.

    If you do some maths: going from top right to bottom left, you're moving sideways by 4000-1920=2080pixels (and vertically by 3000-1080=1920 pixels, but let's just stick to one axis.)

    15 seconds at 25fps = 375 frames. 2080/375= 5.54 pixels per frame, which is enough to be visible.

    10 seconds is 2080/(10X25)=8.32 pixels per frame, which is very visible.

    15 seconds at 60fps = 900 frames. 2080/900 = 2.31 pixels per frame, which is a lot less noticeable.

    So either up the frame rate, or move less, or extend the time.

    Also your monitor probably refreshes at 60Hz, 70Hz or even higher, which means  at 25fps it's holding each image for several frames, but not the same number each time, 60/25 = 2.4 = jerky motion.

    I just tried it at both speeds: 25 was awful, 60 was buttery smooth.

  • And you only have a start and end keyframe? I know- stupid question.  :^)

    Have you tried parenting the picture to a point and key framing the point?

    Are there any other elements in the scene?

    Last one- is the picture layer set to 2D or 3D?

  • OK, here we go. it's for a feature with 24fps. (23.792)

    AMD FX 4300 Quad-Core
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 730 (2 GB)
    16 GB RAM
    Hitfilm is running on a 120GB SSD
    Project is on a 1TB SSD

    Should be beefy enough to handle sliding over one image.

    With compression bitrate I use do you mean what I choose when I render?
    Then I set it to 15.000 and 20.000

    The weird thing is that a couple of month ago I did something more complex wit mountains in the background and trees in the foreground (altogether 5 or 6 layers) with some distance between them and moved the camera in 3D space from the lower part of the imagery to the higher part. The end-result after rendering wasn't stuttering at all.

    Therefore my frustration that it doesn't work with a single 2D image just by moving it as described. I will now try it in 3D space to see if this works better. The frustration here is that the handling of the camera is pain in the bum and it will not show the portion of the image that I pointed it on. put the camera exactly on the lower left corner it doesn't look right as soon as I'm in the editor. It will then in the first seconds show the portion outside of the frame (checkboard).


  • OK  I did a quick test, well three quick tests.

    I reduced a photo to 4000pix long end and moved it using three different ways.

    Way 1 24fps keyframe photo smooth   kb 1

    Way 2 30FPS Changed photo to 3d and key framed camera smooth kb 3

    Way 3 Composite set to 60FPS Keyframed Photo Render @ 30 FPS kb260 30


  • Here is how it looks like when I do it in 3D space with camera. You can clearly see that the camera is not outside of the picture:

    Here is how it looks like in the editor (Don't mind the letterbox and the applied LUT)

    Besides all this, the camera is moving in a curve. I just want to move it straight away. Planar so to say.

  • BobDiMarzio 

    Thank you for your effort!

    Changing the frame rate isn't an option though, as the movie is in 24fps.

    As I said I had made a animation in 3D space that wasn't jerky at 24fps. I'll try it again just now. The problems are depicted in the comment above. The handling of the camera in 3D space will bring me heart attack one day.

  • So I tried it in 3D space with the camera and the result is jerking as well.
    I think I ditch the whole idea and will have a look if Davinci can handle this in some way.

    But first I will go out and have some beer. Thank you very much for the guidance StormyKnightBobDiMarzio

  • edited June 2016


    On the second video I used the 3D camera.    I only changed the photo to 3D. then used the camera's position controls to position and key frame the camera.  So instead of Moving the photo I only moved the camera without changing the photo's position in Z space.  I also use Smooth

  • BobDiMarzio

    Just tried Davinci. It sucks as well.

    When you say you use smooth, you mean the keyframe thingy, right?

    When I'm back from having a booze, I will try it again.

  • I was curious and just tried the same. Not sure but what you see might just be a problem  watching  the footage  on a monitor and-or player issue.

    Because when i play with VLC player  for example  sometimes it stutters and sometimes not and sometimes only in some parts of the video especially at the beginning. Not sure of course.

  • I used motion blur by the way. Not sure if you used it too.

  • 2D or 3D will make no difference to the number of pixels it has to move per frame, assuming you're moving at a constant speed, which @BobDiMarzio 's test videos weren't; they slowed down at the end, which will obviously look smoother.

    Motion blur will smear it and hide some of the juddering if you have to go at 24fps, which is film speed, i.e slow, which is why movement in movies is always really blurry.

    4000-1920 = 2080 pixels in 10 seconds at 24fps = 2080/240 = 8.667 pixels per frame. A blind man could see that juddering. :)

  • @Palacono   Yes I used the smooth Interpolation on the key frames.   By using the 3Dcamera to sweep the image it would be analogous to using a real camera doing a slow pan of a wall etc.  On should not expect any stuttering.  In all my tests even at 24fps I get no jutters or stutters on play back of the rendered video using VLC Media Player.  Windows Media Player is almost as smooth.  However If I play the same video using the Quick Time Player there are stutters.

    edited June 2016

    Does Windows automatically perform frame doubling?

    On blu ray you have to enable that in the player, and the display have to support it as well, so 120 Hz display.

    My player and display is taking 24p content, 23,976 * 5 = 119,88 Hz and there's no stutter during slow pans etc.

    I'm guessing trying to solve this in the program is a bad thing once it's being played back like in the cinemas?

    I'm mentioning that, because while I'm recording in 24p on my camera, the playback is absolutely horrible, until I view it on my projector. 60 Hz and 120 Hz display is night and day here.

    Am I talking about something completely different, or what?

  • OK, I'm back and tried the smoothing with the keyframes as well. I also tried motion blur. I tried it in Windows Media Player, Quicktime and VLC. Stuttering all over the place. I just ditch the idea and add another thing to my Hitfilm frustrations.

    I don't know if any of you had a look at the screenshots I posted earlier. The camera is clearly pointed on the image and in the timeline it shows a portion that is out of the image. This is a pain!

    All technical aspects and computer specs aside, this sweep over a photograph is something that every low budget or even free dia show program can do without problems. I get really angry right now and believe that it is better to shut up. But I'm tired of having to search for solutions for the most simple and basic things somewhere else.

    I'm far from a veteran user, but I think that the only thing that is pro in Hitfilm 4 Pro is the name of the program. There is nearly not a day where I not get annoyed. At this moment I really regret that I bought it and start to falling out of love with it. If I had to make the choice of purchasing it today I would rather pay three time as much for another program and would surely not recommend it to a friend. In a brick and mortar shop I would already have gone to the owner and demanded my money back.

    I really can't imagine that I'm the only Hitfilm 4 Pro user who feels that way. I still love the staff though, I really do. Their engagement is one of the reasons I bought the program in the first place, but come on guys, really?

    It seems sometimes that the main focus is on the Express version and the Pro owners are like stepchildren. In the end we are the ones who effing pay for the whole thing. This is a way of creating buyers resentment. I really hope that there will come a massive update very soon, otherwise I just forget about the money I've spent on it and wipe it from my computer.

  • edited June 2016

    I feel your frustration, Mario.

    I tested out this very simple thing (large image in a composite shot, two key frames at start and end with different positions) and did a frame-by-frame step in VLC.

    Indeed, it's jerky.  The problem appears to be that HitFilm isn't doing subpixel interpolation on the pan.

    Edit: Mea culpa. See below.

  • Thank you very much for your reaction and testing this @tack.

    I'm already looking for a newer version of Sony Vegas or something in that range. I used it in the past and was very pleased with it actually.

    But this time I will dive very carefully into it before spending one dime on another piece of software that promises a lot. I even consider 'borrowing' it on the Internet and testing it on an older machine before purchasing. 

  • edited June 2016

    My apologies @MarioKluser and everyone else.  I need to retract what I said. 

    I tried this in Premiere too and had the same results.  This time I used mplayer to frame step and it's actually smooth with HitFilm (as well as Premiere).   VLC was to blame for broken frame stepping and I arrived at a faulty conclusion.

    I changed the start and end positions to be quite close to each other across 10 seconds and confirmed that indeed it is doing subpixel interpolation.

    There's plenty to be frustrated about with HF, but maybe this isn't one of those things.  I'd rule out your playback chain, and find something (like mplayer) that can do frame-by-frame stepping.

  • tack I will put it on a stick and try it on my TV tomorrow.

    I think using different players shouldn't be necessary. I'm sure that I have watched films where something like this is done and it should just work. Imagine it worked on my TV but not on another and I have to say "Oh wait, you have to buy this model TV before watching."

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator

    I have some questions:

    What are the full specs of the image? Format, bit depth, dpi etc.

    Is your frame rate really 23.792? If so that needs to be fixed. You want 24.00 or 23.976

    Can you post a sample of what you consider to be unprofessional?

  • edited June 2016

    It's 23,976, I typed to fast in my earlier comment :-)

    The image is a simple JPG with a 24bit color depth, 180dpi and with it measures 4000 x 3000 pixels.

    I can't post a sample but I consider the slightest stuttering unusable.

    The weird thing is that I had done something similar to Simon's example in this video in the past:

    The 3 second clip I created, that was more complex, didn't stutter at all. Therefore my frustration that swiping over a single photograph doesn't work out at least as smooth.

  • edited June 2016

    Unless you're moving the full distance in the same time, all other tests are irrelevant. Simon's test above was barely moving, if you look at the number of pixels it moved per frame. You're moving a lot more pixels per frame.

    Low contrast images will also look smoother because of a smaller amount of persistence of vision by your eyes and less obvious changes at colour boundary positions. If you want a real test of what looks smooth and what doesn't, use a checkerboard black and white image at the various speeds and resolutions.

    If you want a really, really simple way to fix it, render it out at 1280x720p. That'll reduce the number of apparent pixels moved because your monitor will interpolate them up to the full width of your display and the image will have been antialiased down to only 1280 pixels wide by Hitfilm, which will have smoothed out the image and spread colour boundary pixels over a wider area,.

    Want it smoother still? Lower the resolution to 480p,

    You can either have sharpness and a higher frame rate, or blurriness and a lower frame rate, pick one or the other.

  • Palacono this makes sense. I will try it with a shorter distance and 3 instead of 10 seconds. Then I use 3 different images and put this sequences in a row. Rendering out lower than 1080p isn't an option though.  

    But since the shorter one I referred to in the Simon example, worked smoothly, it will probably not be a problem.

    Thanks again!

  • Try exporting exactly the same project at 1080p and 720p and see which looks better before you decide what's not an option. Often not a lot in it, especially after a few feet. ;)

  • edited June 2016

    OK, with a setting of 1080P,  this time I used a high contrast image,  5200 x 3000.  Converted the image to 3D, set the 3D camera to the bottom left of the image, key framed,  Moved Camera to the upper left key framed.  key frame set  to linear.    Even when I display it on a 50" (HDMI splitter)  I do not see any stuttering.

  • @MarioKluser hang on, I just reread what you wrote. :)

    "I will try it with a shorter distance and 3 instead of 10 seconds."

    You need longer time, as in @BobDiMarzio 's 30 second long video above, or shorter distance, not both.  If you reduce the time to 3 seconds, but also reduce the distance to a third, the speed will be the same

    Just do the maths and work out how many pixels it is moving per frame.

    (total distance in pixels to move) / (time in seconds x25)

    The lower that number the smoother it will be, or, you need to motion blur it a bit. Actually, adding a slight blur to your original image would help too, as would using a smaller image scaled up, as edges will be less sharp.

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