Warner Bros. Teases Fast-Frame Hobbit Footage at CinemaCon

  • On Tuesday at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas, Warner Bros. screened 10 minutes of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit,” which was shot at 48fps. The film will become the first shown in 48fps 3D when it debuts in December.
  • In a video message from New Zealand, “Jackson implored theater owners to project his new film at 48 frames per second,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “The new speed, he said, gives the ‘illusion of real life, where movement feels smoother, and you’re not dealing with strobing.'”
  • Reactions to the footage were mixed: “…the wide vistas were pretty breathtaking,” said one of the exhibitors in attendance, also noting concern regarding close-ups. “It will take some getting used to, for sure.”
  • While some theater owners are anxious to show the film in its 48fps format, not all will be equipped to do so. More recent digital cinema installations are already capable, but others will require software upgrades or new hardware.
  • James Cameron plans to shoot the “Avatar” sequels in either 48 or 60fps. In a test screening with Cameron’s team, “images that would normally appear adequate abruptly look fuzzy by comparison, as if the moviegoer had been wearing glasses with the wrong prescription but now could suddenly see straight,” according to Wired.
  • Reportedly, Thomas Edison’s early experiments showed that 46 frames-per-second was the ideal frame rate as “anything less will strain the eye.” But the need to save celluloid and cut production costs led to 24fps becoming the standard for the past 80 years. In the 1980’s Douglas Trumbull attempted to get interest in his Showscan system which ran at 60fps. Interestingly, he’s now shooting 3D test footage at 120fps.

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