One of the primary draws of last week’s CinemaCon was the screening of ten full minutes of new footage from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The biggest surprise of the new footage? Just how much it angered and disgusted fans.
Some context: Jackson chose to film The Hobbit at a rate of 48 frames per second, twice that of the normal 24 frames per second that most films are shot in. It’s a move that, according to /Film, made The Hobbit resemble “a made for television BBC movie,” because “it looked uncompromisingly real — so much so that it looked fake.”
While admitting that 48 fps “does take you a while to get used to,” the director simply feels that the audience did not see enough footage to adapt and process the higher frame rate. “Ten minutes is sort of marginal, it probably needed a little bit more…another thing that I think is a factor is it’s different to look at a bunch of clips and some were fast-cutting, montage-style clips. This is different experience than watching a character and story unfold.”
Jackson went on to say that “you get used to it reasonably quickly,” and that audiences will learn to adapt to the higher frame rate, which does produce an initially-unsettling “so real it’s fake” look. “We have obviously seen cuts of our movie at 48 and in a relatively short amount of time you have forgotten (the frame rate change). It is a more immersive and in 3D a gentler way to see the film.” Jackson also stated that once you go 48 fps, you never go back: in reference to the standard 24 fps, he said that “I’m very aware of the strobing, the flicker and the artifacts.”
As for what Jackson would tell fans who watch the whole film and still feel uncomfortable with 48 fps? “I can’t say anything…just like I can’t say anything to someone who doesn’t like fish. You can’t explain why fish tastes great and why they should enjoy it.”
The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey is set to hit theaters this December in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D, and in both 24 fps and 48 fps.
What do you think of the reaction to The Hobbit footage?