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Peter Jackson defends 48fps Hobbit

TheHobbit.jpgThere's been a lot of talk about the footage that was shown from The Hobbit at CinemaCon and a lot of it has been critical of the new frame rate of 48 frames per second, with films having been shot and projected at 24 frames per second for so long this leap is intended to allow the viewer to see more depth, detail and far less motion blur fiving a far more realistic image.

However a lot of the negative comments coming from the preview screening have been along the lines of it looking too real, not cinematic enough or more like HD video than a film. Well Peter Jackson has something to say about that.

The two films for The Hobbit are both going to be filmed in 3D and also in 48 frames per second, double the frame rate of existing film and of the rate film has been shot and projected at for a very long time.

This desire to shoot and project at double the frame rate is another call to arms for the immersive visual experience that cinema can offer, along with those shouting about 3D being the next evolution of cinema, 48 frames per second seems to be the next leap too. Currently Peter Jackson is filming the two parts of The Hobbit and when James Cameron gets going he'll be filming both Avatar sequels in the higher frame rate too.

However at the screening of some preview footage from The Hobbit at CinemaCon a number of people started commenting on the negative aspects of the footage saying things such as it was too sharp, too bright, too realistic and not cinematic, too...etc.

Peter Jackson has come back and openly defended the footage saying that it is different and will take some getting used to, but it was too short a clip for the audience to get accustomed to the style of the double frame rate, especially as there were a number of montages in there that didn't give everyone enough time to get used to the experience.

That does ring true, but at the same time it feels a little strange that you would have to take so long to get accustomed to a format that gives you more depth and detail in the movement of the images, after all did we all look at high definition and complain about it, commenting on how we couldn't get used to it? No, as far as I remember I marvelled in it as did all the people I know.

Jackson has one key point to make to people who complained about the cinematography of the film though; it hasn't been through the Post Production process yet. Now that is a damn good comeback because there is a lot of work to do in Post Production on a film like this, and not just with the big CG work but with everything from lighting and colour correction onwards. Jackson feels that there's a lot of work that was accomplished in his Lord of the Rings films in Post Production and The Hobbit films are no different.

To me that sounds more like a reason than the audience not being able to get used to it. Mind you if that really is the case then the viewing experience sounds as obtrusive to the experience as 3D and glasses do.

We won't be seeing a 48 frames per second trailer for the film though according to Peter Jackson through The Hollywood Reporter as in just two and a half minutes we won't get used to the footage, and this would be footage that would be through the Post Production process for the trailer.

"You get used to it reasonably quickly...We have obviously seen cuts of our movie at 48 and in a relatively short amount of time you have forgotten (the frame rate change). It is a more immersive and in 3D a gentler way to see the film."

What about in 2D? I'm still concerned as to why we need to get used to the frame rate, I would have thought that it would have immediately looked like the leap from SD to HD and looked glorious, and that preview footage would have been put through some Post Production since it is the first time media have seen 48 frames per second in action and footage from The Hobbit.

I'm not convinced by all that is being said about this on both sides. I find myself thinking that we should be totally sold on the frame rate and yet so many people aren't, do we have to really get as used to it as we have to with 3D? Another obstruction to the viewing of a film that we're being told we have to like? Or is it all down to the Post Production of the film and that we need to get used to it?




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Comments

It is quite an interesting change and I feel it is being driven by the need to iron out problems with 3D (less headaches?).

I am not a fan of 3D so I'll need to reserve judgement until I've seen it. However, I like the current way that film has a "look" which differentiates it from normal telly.

I wonder if the key benefit of 48fps is more acceptable 3D. Doesn't matter to me though, I still find it hard to watch and I'm not sure that a faster frame rate will improve them for me and my astigatism.

That's a great point Dave, film does look very different to television and it's the loss of that cinematic quality that I feel most people are having problems with.

If cinema starts to look like television then that's another reason to go to the cinema lost surely? We have 3D at home, pretty soon we'll have 48fps, so what does cinema have to offer us now?

Not better sound that's for sure and in a lot of cases not better picture. Atmosphere? Well just get some strangers off the street to sit next to you munching crisps, chatting, kicking your chair and looking at their phones and get someone in the adjoining room to turn up the bass on their television so you hear it booming through the walls and finally join the most expensive film rental service you can find.

Really the only reasons I still go to the cinema are to see films first, for the cinematic experience, and the huge screen, If 48fps makes the cinema picture look like television then that seems like one reason nearly gone for me.

If 48fps ends up looking like 120hz LCD often do then I'm not sold. That's probably not the case though and I'm curious to see the difference.

I'm like you, I go to the cinema despite all the annoyances of sharing the room with a crowd of ill mannered strangers, the crappy sound, the overpriced (though delicious) popcorn/tickets and the terrible seats for the sake of seeing a movie at release on a 20+ foot screen... The 3D is something that actually keeps me away from theaters so if the 48fps in the end allows for a better picture overall I'm all for it.

Hey David, do you mean that if 48fps makes 3D look better you're more liable to go and see 3D?

Yes, I should've re-read myself, that wasn't clear I know lol.

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