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The Hobbit shot at 48fps - what a bad idea. The preview footage disappoints!
Posted by Michal
April 27, 2012, at 1:53 AM

Cinema is all about 24fps, we all know that. Sometimes, if something looks too natural, it loses its magic. If you ever watched a movie on your TV set with the "MotionFlow/Motion Plus" feature turned on, you probably realized that something was wrong and that the movie looked cheap. This is why it is hard to understand why Peter Jackson decided to shoot The Hobbit at 48fps (on a RED Epic in 3D). Many who had the possibility to watch a 10 minute preview that was recently shown at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, were not impressed. Here are some reports (via NoFilmSchool):


LA Times Blog:

"Indeed, the footage shown did seem hyper-realistic. An opening aerial shot of dramatic rocky mountains appeared clearer than the images in most nature documentaries. But the effect was different when applied to scenes with actors dressed in period costume, whose every move — and pore — was crystal clear. Such realism put off some trade show attendees, who complained the footage didn’t feel enough like a traditional film."

And here's another report, this time by the popular service IGN Movies:

"I didn’t go into CinemaCon expecting to write anything less than great things about The Hobbit, but the very aesthetic chosen by Peter Jackson has made me very nervous about this film. It just looked … cheap, like a videotaped or live TV version of Lord of the Rings and not the epic return to Tolkien that we have all so long been waiting for. I still have hope for The Hobbit, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say my expectations for the film have now been greatly diminished."

Let's hope that after these opinions producers will decide to release a 24fps version of this movie. If not, it might be a big disappointment. Marden Blake, a NoFilmSchool reader posted a nice comparison of 24fps @1/48 and 48fps @1/64 RED footage. You can download it here.


April 27, 2012
But shouldn't 48fps be twice as good as 24fps? LOL :)
Szymon Masiak
April 27, 2012
It doesn't look good at all :)
April 30, 2012
My suspicion is that after we all get used to watching higher frame rates, we will beging to see the obvious flaws in lower frame rates. Right now we associate higher frame rates to the look of a camcorder. once we are used to higher frame rate movies, 24p movies will look choppy, blurry in motion, and generally poor. Kudos to Peter Jackson for starting a revolution in image quality. I will argue that a 720p 60fps image is superior to a 1080p 30fps image everywhere except motionless or near motionless videos.
April 30, 2012
Personally I don't agree. It's not about image quality etc. it's about the feeling of the movie. At higher framerates the movie will look exactly like theatre. Just watch any "making of" - you will see that actors, their gestures, their whole acting looks amateur. But in the movie it looks professional. Why? Because the movie is in 24p, the making of at 50/60p. This is not something you will get used to. It will always look cheap.
S3D Sister
May 1, 2012
Humphrey your logic comparing a finished film to the 'making of' is flawed. The frame rate has nothing to do with the 'professionalism' of the actors, the reason a behind the scenes looks amateur is because it isn't the hero camera that is being lit, the actors and set are not staged appropriately to the BTS camera. Just those items as an example. There is much more to it. I think sproesser is right on, all the HFR footage I have seen to date has made it difficult to view 24p again.
May 30, 2012
well its not supposed to be like old film is it.... wow people.