We’re all for advancing film technology and bettering how movies are produced and displayed, but for this writer, there is nothing more sleep inducing than the chatter surrounding the newly vaunted 48 frames-per-second holy grail of motion picture realism and clarity. With James Cameron and Douglas Trumbull announcing their next films are gonna up the frame rate from the musty dusty old and useless 24 frames-per-second to the new fangled faster format, Peter Jackson has now hit the web to confirm that he too is going with the zippier shooting method and he hit Facebook (via Collider) to talk all about it.
Here’s an excerpt of what he had to say about why they choose the format and how it will make the experience of watching “The Hobbit” even better:
We are indeed shooting at the higher frame rate. The key thing to understand is that this process requires both shooting and projecting at 48 fps, rather than the usual 24 fps (films have been shot at 24 frames per second since the late 1920’s). So the result looks like normal speed, but the image has hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness. 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. We’ve been watching HOBBIT tests and dailies at 48 fps now for several months, and we often sit through two hours worth of footage without getting any eye strain from the 3-D. It looks great, and we’ve actually become used to it now, to the point that other film experiences look a little primitive. I saw a new movie in the cinema on Sunday and I kept getting distracted by the juddery panning and blurring. We’re getting spoilt!
So a clearer, more defined picture and less headache inducing 3D? Fine, we’re all for it. But the most interesting part about all this tech talk? Not one mention of the story. Peter Jackson, James Cameron and Douglass Trumbull, who all have breathlessly and excitedly expounded on the topic have all failed to mention just how this fancy pants approach will improve their ability to tell a story. That’s why we’re here right? So before the rest of the industry falls over themselves to make everything at 48 or 60 fps (and then find a way to charge us more to watch it) can we just ask that it’s done in favor of films that will be best enhanced by the leap in technology? Probably won’t happen, but we thought we’d put it out there.
“The Hobbit” part one will land in December 2012.