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Facebook has invented a new unit of time called Flick. While Facebook might have developed a habit of pushing features that nobody asks for, Flick (for frame-tick) is something that sounds really useful. It’s developed by Facebook’s Oculus team.

The GitHub page of Oculus defines flick (frame-tick) as a very small unit of time. “It is 1/705,600,000 of a second, exactly.”

Flick will turn out to be particularly useful in video and audio production. It’s slightly longer than a nanosecond, which is 1/1,000,000,000 of a second. Flick can be used to represent a single frame duration for  24hz, 25hz, 30hz, 48hz, 50hz, 60hz, 90hz, 100hz, and 120hz in integer quantities. In other words, 1/705600000 divides these framerates for encoding frequencies evenly.

It’ll allow eliminating the inconvenience associated with using the decimals and help one represent the exact value without any estimation or bards.

The NTSC variations (~29.97, etc) are actually defined as 24 * 1000/1001 and 30 * 1000/1001, which are impossible to represent exactly in a way where 1 second is exact, so we don’t bother – they’ll be inexact in any circumstance,” according to Facebook.

Defined in C++, this open source unit will ensure that your video is in sync while still using whole integers. For example, at 24FPS, each frame is 29,400,000 flicks. Similarly, 60FPS is 11,760,000 flicks long.

The work behind this time unit began after a question posted on Facebook by Christopher Horvath in early 2017. Since then, many others have contributed to the unit and helped it achieve its current state.

Available publicly under BSD license, you can read more about Flicks here on GitHub.

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Adarsh Verma
Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]