Facebook's latest measurement may sound like an action performed with your fingers, but it has roots in technology. A flick, or a ‘frame-tick' equates to 1/705,600,00 of a second.
The ultra specific unit seems useless, but it could be vital for C++ developers. Longer than a nanosecond, it's designed to line up perfectly with video framerates.
“When working creating visual effects for film, television, and other media, it is common to run simulations or other time-integrating processes which subdivide a single frame of time into a fixed, integer number of subdivisions. It is handy to be able to accumulate these subdivisions to create exact 1-frame and 1-second intervals, for a variety of reasons,” says project head Christopher Horvath.
“However, the highest usable resolution, nanoseconds, doesn't evenly divide common film & media framerates. This was the genesis of this unit.”
Instead of producing messy fractions, Horvath method divides perfectly. Thirty frames per second can be represented as 23,520,000 flicks, while sixty is 11,760,000. However, a bigger target is 90 fps – the framerate of VR headsets.
By using the flick as an exact timing method, developers can ensure triggers are executed with complete accuracy. They can simply place a file named flicks.h alongside C++ header files and gain easy access.
The invention makes flicks the smallest amount of time that's larger than a nanosecond. Other units include a shake, which is 10 nanoseconds, and a microsecond.