I was about to hate the “flick,” a time unit just lately created by Facebook (technically the Oculus team); because I believed it was going to be really worthless like “the average time someone looks at a post.” In fact, it’s an ingenious way of apportioning time; that probably could make video and audio making much more friendly.
What’s A Flick?
So what is a flick? A flick is one seven hundred and five million six hundred thousandth of a second — 1/705,600,000 if you fancy the digits, or 1.417233560090703e-9 if you favor decimals.
And Why Is That Useful?
As a hint, here’s a list of digits into which 1/706,600,000 divides evenly: 8, 16, 22.05, 24, 25, 30, 32, 44.1, 48, 50, 60, 90, 100, 120. Observe a pattern?
Even if you don’t have links in media production, some of those figures seemingly look familiar. That’s due to the fact they’re all framerates or frequencies employed in encoding or recording things like movies and music. 24 frames per second, 120 hertz TVs, 44.1 KHz unit rate audio.
Many of those fractions settle into inconvenient decimal series, requiring shorthand or calculations. For example, the 1/24th of a second around which the whole film production is based on is similar to 0.0416666666666666… on and on always (even trying to use nanoseconds to show the duration ends up generating fractions of nanoseconds). So it may be shortened for convenience to 0.04167. More comfortable to remember, but not numerically accurate, and who knows when that “extra” value might split something?
On the other hand, using flicks around all these significant fractional frequencies change into nice accurate round numbers, no bars or calculation required: 1/24th of a second, for instance, is 29,400,000 flicks. 1/120th is 5,880,000 flicks. 1/44,100th is 16,000 flicks.
Those figures may not be simpler for you to remember, but it makes them a hell of a lot more straightforward for systems to harmonize with one another without forming some inter-format fraction that has to be solved with yet another adjusting frequency. Processors love whole numbers, and so do I.
Even the ominous NTSC numbers in use due to some technical limitations divide accurately. 23.976 (technically 24*(1,000/1,001)=23.976023976230 with the last 6 digits reoccurring) becomes precisely 29,429,400 flicks. It’s the equivalent for 29.97, 59.94, and any others like them. No more fractions or decimals required whatsoever! How fabulous is that?!
You can download, fork, or otherwise investigate the flicks format and code over at GitHub.