The Hobbit footage first premiered during CinemaCon, Las Vegas, with mixed reactions. Many felt that it was too detailed that the set looked really fake. Others mentioned that it reminded them of the “Soap Opera Effect” that you see on the newer HDTV sets. It turns out that the technology Peter Jackson is using to shoot the film isn’t the problem. The issue is with the viewers not being able to adjust to it. He assures us that once we’re use to the film, we will be more immersed.
“It does take you a while to get used to,” he said. “Ten minutes is sort of marginal, it probably needed a little bit more. Another thing that I think is a factor is it’s different to look at a bunch of clips and some were fast-cutting, montage-style clips. This is different experience than watching a character and story unfold.”
Because of that, he isn’t planning to release a 48 fps trailer for the movie. “I personally wouldn’t advocate a 48-frame trailer because the 48 frames is something you should experience with the entire film. A 2 1/2 minute trailer isn’t enough time to adjust to the immersive quality.”
Jackson himself has grown accustomed to watching 48fps imagery. He watches dailies in 48 frames every day, sometimes two hours worth.
“You get used to it reasonably quickly,” he said, commenting that now when he views traditional 24 frames footage, “I’m very aware of the strobing, the flicker and the artifacts.” “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.”
So are the critics wrong for bashing the Hobbit footage? The debate on whether 24 FPS in film is better than watching something with more frames has been raging on ever since the introduction of the 120 and 240 HZ HDTVs. The people that support more frames argue that 24 frames is old school and looks jittery. The other camp doesn’t like the “cheap” made-for-TV look. As for me, I’m just used to watching film in 24 FPS. It just adds to that cinematic feeling. I’ve watched videos with 60 FPS and it looks too weird. The only time I’m okay with higher frame rates is when playing video games, since games tend to have a lot of action in it. Then again I can’t really knock on the new TV sets because I’ve never watched a movie from beginning to end with higher frame rates.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey finds adventure on December 14, 2012.