Facebook invents a new time unit called 'Flicks'

Christopher Horvath

Latest commit f6fb9d9 Jan 16 2018 Christopher Horvath Initial commit

We already have a well-established way of representing time using years, months, week, days, hours, minutes, and seconds.

GitHub has called the flick, "the smallest time unit larger than a nanosecond", which is one-trillionth of a second. At least, that's the theory and Facebook is running with it. Flicks also works well with the most common audio sample rates (8kHz, 16kHz, 22.05kHz, 24kHz, 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, and 192kHz).

Facebook Oculus team invents a new unit of time - Flick to help multimedia developers and programmers better calculate frame rates. On Monday, Facebook released the source code to the developer community, GitHub. At 24 frames per second, or FPS, each frame is approximately.04166666667 seconds long, or 41666666.669 nanoseconds.

Interestingly, while Facebook might be celebrating the official introduction of a new unit of time, one of the main proponents of the same - Christopher Horvath is no more associated with the social media company. He was as surprised as anyone to see that his invention had made it into the real world.

Here's what he posted his Facebook page.

When creating visual effects for film, television, or other media formats, it is typical for the action to be broken down into single frames and looked at per second intervals.

The idea is that flicks can be used to measure the individual durations of frames in a video using integers (whole numbers to maths haters) rather than decimals to ensure the frames are all in sync. However, the highest usable resolution, nanoseconds, doesn't evenly divide common film & media framerates. Many people contributed and refined the unit, including Dan Goldman, Pascal Pincosy, Simon Eves, Kearsley Higgins, Francisco De La Torre, Benjy Feen, Eric Landreneau and Sebastian Sylwan, among others.

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