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Friday, May 4, 2012

48fps = FAIL?

The backlash has been hard and heavy. 10 minutes of footage from Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" was shown at CinemaCon a week or two ago. The big deal, aside from being a preview of the next of the Middle Earth films, was that Peter Jackson shot the film at 48fps. If that means nothing to you, basically all of the films that you've seen your entire life (and before) are shot at 24fps. Television, in America anyway, is presented at 29.97 frames per second. This is one of the reasons why, for example, the news looks different than, say, Iron Man or The Notebook, or The Sopranos or whatever. If you ask the tech nerds, 24fps is antiquated and horrible-looking. There has been a movement for a while now to start shooting films at 48fps-- the argument being that it would be much more realistic, and get rid of things like motion blur and whatnot...things that annoy film technicians...but things that movie lovers don't really have an issue with.

So Mr. Jackson has taken the bold step of shooting The Hobbit entirely in this new 48fps process. The reaction, however, has not been very positive. Many viewers of the 10 minute CinemaCon preview complained that the scenes that they saw looked like a soap opera. They said it looked uncinematic, and that the sets themselves looked fake and ridiculous. Basically, they're saying that The Hobbit looks like this:

It's kinda difficult from a computer screen to convey the look of something shot on video in the 70s, but that's basically what people took away from this "new technology". I have to say that saw this coming from a mile away. Now, I haven't seen any of this footage, and therefore I don't have a real opinion about the look...but I could speculate based on my experiences with film and video that footage shot at 48fps would NOT at all look like 24fps footage. Asking people to forget everything that they have come to expect from the look of film is a lot to ask. I can imagine it will be an incredible first. People may very well get swept up in the story enough to forget what it looks like. But I don't know. Considering how close minded people can be about things like this, I'm not sure if this will be success. One thing is certain-- when we go to see this film in December, it will NOT look like this:

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