Film Debate: The Hobbit Filmed in 48 FPS


The Hobbit director Peter Jackson showed a ten-minute clip of his upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, and criticism followed for his choice of frames per second shot while filming. The director chose to use Red Digital Cinema cameras at a frame rate of 48 FPS, causing uproar from many film buffs. The movie, produced by Time Warner, is said to look completely different from the traditional film experience. Badass Digest's Devin Faraci said that the footage "looked terrible ... completely non-cinematic" and "the magical illusion of cinema is stripped away completely," according to The Huffington Post.

Avatar director James Cameron is an advocate of the newer technology, especially for use in 3-D movies because of the strobing and blurring created with the normal 24 FPS cameras. As Peter Jackson wrote in a Facebook post, "Looking at 24 frames every second may seem ok--and we've all seen thousands of films like this over the last 90 years--but there is often quite a lot of blur in each frame, during fast movements, and if the camera is moving around quickly, the image can judder or 'strobe.' Shooting and projecting at 48 fps does a lot to get rid of these issues. It looks much more lifelike, and it is much easier to watch, especially in 3-D," according to Filmdrunk.

One of the main complaints about the new frame speed is that the footage looks too realistic, and lacking the cinematic feel that is normally present in movies. Other notes were that the colors were either too bright or too dark, and that the contrast ratios were not calibrated well enough yet. The footage that was shown, though, was still "in progress," and full color-correction and visual effects will be featured in the final film, which will be released in December of this year.

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The shift from 24 FPS to 48 FPS will take some getting used to for moviegoers as more film companies will likely begin filming solely with the new technology.

Yet TheHobbit may not have too much to fear from negative criticism this early in the promotion: There are many die-hard Lord of the Rings fans that will not miss this film for anything (and one should never underestimate the power of fandom), and perhaps the criticism was overblown.

Given that, the film producer, Time Warner, may still report better-than-expected sales from the film -- something we have seen recently in The Hunger Games, a film similarly powered by a die-hard fan base.

So, do you think the shift is good or bad? Use Kapitall tools to analyze Time Warner and its competitors. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

At the time thisarticle was published Kapitall's Danny Guttridge owns no stock of the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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