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Facebook invents new unit of time known as a Flick

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An engineer working for Facebook has invented a new unit of time known as a flick. It is available on GitHub now after being publically unveiled on the Facebook Open Source Twitter page yesterday. The new unit should have practical applications for those working in the visual effects industry.

According to the GitHub post the idea was first floated in early 2017 as part of a public question on the social media platform. From there many others have contributed to getting the unit where it is today.

Derived from “frame-tick”, a flick is described as being “the smallest time unit which is LARGER than a nanosecond”. It is equivalent to exactly 1/705600000 of a second, which is crazy small for most applications. Flicks were created specifically for use by visual effects artists working in film, TV and video.

Previously artists had to work in nanoseconds to achieve the desired effect. Unfortunately nanoseconds don’t convert well into standard frame rates which leads to some ugly maths and extra coding. This new unit breaks down to a single frame for 24hz, 25hz, 30hz, 48hz, 50hz, 60hz, 90hz, 100hz and120hz as well as the 1/1000th divisions of each. Flicks are also able to support the majority of digital audio formats.

Once downloaded from GitHub, Flicks can be added to any C++ project by including it in the header.

Flicks was released through the Facebook owned Oculus Rift brand usually associated with VR. Whether this means VR films is going to be a direction of focus in future remains to be seen.

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