Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Hobbit At 48FPS

In an article from /Film, it seems Peter Jackson is taking advantage of the studio mandate to make the film in 3D by going ahead and using the latest tech and techniques recommended by James Cameron, especially using 48fps second of filming which is currently not that common.
The basic gist is this: Cameron proposes that future movies should be shot and projected at either 48 or 60 frames per second. All of the digital film cameras are able to shoot at that speed, and all of the second generation digital cinema projectors (2010 on) should be able to project at that speed with a software upgrade. The result is a lot smoother movement, less of the strobing effect, which gives the impression of an enhanced resolution. And of course, the higher frame rate will help with the discomfort some experience with 3D. The footage I screened during Cameron’s presentation, shot/screened at 48 frames a second in 3D, looked incredible. The best way to describe it, is to quote Cameron: “If watching a 3D movie is like looking through a window, then [with this] we’ve taken the glass out of the window and we’re staring at reality.”

Our friends at Marketsaw have learned that Jackson is shooting The Hobbit in 47.96 frames per second with the previously reported 30 RED Epic cameras.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the film will be distributed in 48fps.Who knows if New Line/Warner Bros is going to pay to have the visual effects rendered at 48 frames per second (While some claim it would double the price of rendering, Cameron argued during the presentation that smart pipeline software could choose which motion heavy footage would require the extra rendered frames, resulting in only a 10% increase in price). And if the studio is on board, then movie theaters would need to make sure their equipment is upgraded for 48fps presentation.
As the article points out, many theatres are not equipped to handle 48fps film. It is possible that more will be up to speed by the time the first movie comes but I doubt it as theatre chains loathe to re-invest in their older theatres until they absolutely have too. Basically if you go to a theatre built in the last year or so then this is good news and if you don't then mostly meaningless. The main advantage as I see it is it will help "future-proof" the movie for whatever future distribution and home video means that may come available as all the data they need to present the best possible picture will be present and not have to extrapolated and cleaned up as is often the case for older films. (via OneRing)

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