Friday, July 13, 2012

SDCC 2012: Peter Jackson's Post on Con

Peter Jackson is on his way to the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con. Before he hopped on the plane, he added a surprising long post to his Facebook page (below) about his visit. He starts by letting us know that a new trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey can be expected sometime in September and that a new production diary is being prepped. The diary may include footage from the reel that he is showing at Saturday's The Hobbit Panel indicating the reel will not be released online afterwards. The main topic of the post was to address his decision to show The Hobbit reel at the 'Con, citing how bad press undermined his attempt to show off the movie, not the new filming technology.
Just about to jump on the plane to Comic Con

Looking forward to giving fans a glimpse of the Hobbit, answer questions and share a few stories about our return to Middle-earth.

For those of you who won't be attending Comic Con, we have several things in the pipeline to share with you over the next few weeks. Our new video will be ready very soon - in fact our video blog crew has already left for Comic Con, and we'll be capturing a behind the scenes look at our experiences there. We're talking about possibly including a few clips from our Hobbit reel in the blog.

We are also working on our next trailer, which you should expect to see sometime in September.

Lastly, let me give you more detail about my decision to screen the Hobbit Reel at Comic Con in 2-D and 24 fps. My LA Times quotes are brief and the topic deserves a little more detail than that. We have conducted many private screenings of Hobbit footage in the US and several international territories, running the same reel twice - once at 24fps, and secondly at 48fps. This has allowed distributors and exhibitors direct comparison of the two formats. The response has been universally strong for the higher frame rate of 48fps.

When we screened only the 48fps reel at CinemaCon a few months ago, some bloggers focussed stories, not on the content, but on their negative reaction to 10 mins of high frame rate footage. This reaction convinced me that the only fair way to experience 48fps, is to sit down and watch a complete feature length movie, with a narrative, not quick trailer cuts. Do I want the ComicCon Hobbit stories to be all about 48 fps? Of course I don't. I want to present footage from a movie we're all proud of, with terrific performances and I'm looking forward to seeing what you think.

I've always been happy to bet on myself, and for me the experience of watching the full Hobbit movie in 3-D and 48 fps is something really special. Fully immersive, like stepping into Middle-earth. The screen disappears, and you enter the world of the movie in a vivid way. I love it.

The subject of high frame rates has serious film industry implications, and it's important that it's judged in the fairest possible context. I'm afraid that a presentation of a short clip reel in a huge convention center is simply not the way to do it. I'm sorry if people attending Comic Con were hoping to see a glimpse of 48 fps, but let me say that in December, if you choose to see the Hobbit in a great cinema, projecting the higher frame rate, you will be in the best place to make up your own mind. And you will have the choice - there will be plenty of cinemas screening both versions.

Here's my prediction: this time next year, there will be several movies shooting at 48 fps. As an industry, we have to push the current technology to provide more spectacular and immersive experience in the cinema, on a nice huge screen.

Peter J

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