Saturday afternoon, Peter Jackson returned to Comic-Con to promote The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The director answered some tough questions about the prequel, specifically his decision to shoot at 48 frames per second. He also discussed the use of 3D and the difference between The Hobbit and his previous Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The Hobbit is broken up into two parts. Could a third be on the way?
Peter Jackson: It’s very premature. I mean we have an incredible source material with the appendices because The Hobbit is obviously a novel but we also have the rights to use this 125 pages of additional notes where Tolkien expanded the world of The Hobbit published at the end of Return of the King and we’ve used some of it so far and just in the last few weeks as we’ve been wrapping up the shooting and thinking about the shape of the story. Fran [Walsh] and I have been talking to the studio about other things we haven’t been able to shoot and seeing if we persuade them to do a few more weeks of shooting, probably more than a few weeks actually, next year. And what form that would actually end up taking, well the discussions are pretty early. So there isn’t really anything to report but there’s other parts of the story that we’d like to tell that we haven’t been able to tell yet.
What’s the difference in tone between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings?
Peter Jackson: It was all together a lot darker and more serious than what is written in The Hobbit. And also to be honest I want to make a series of movies that run together so if any crazy lunatic wants to watch them all in a row there will be a consistency to it, a consistency of tone. I don’t want to make a children’s story to go into The Lord of the Rings so we are providing a balance.
Why did you opt to shoot the film using 48 frames per second?
Peter Jackson: 48 frames per second has the potential of being an important moment for the film industry. We have to provide a theatrical experience to bring audiences back to the cinema. We’re in an age where there is dwindling attendance particularly amongst younger people. I think we have to look to the technology that we have to try to figure out ways to make this cinematic experience much more spectacular, more immersive.
But the footage you showed in Hall H was standard 24 frames. Why is that?
Peter Jackson: You know Hall H is not the place to do it. And nor is 10 minutes of footage. Literally, I’ve seen a lot of 48 frames for second over the past year and a half, and it’s fantastic. It’s an incredible thing. But I didn’t want to repeat the CinemaCon experience where literally people see this reel and all they write about is 48 frames per second. I mean why? That doesn’t do us any good. To accurately judge that you really need to sit down and watch the entire film and that opportunity is going to be there in December. I wanted the focus to just be on the footage, the characters, the performances.
How do you feel about the use of 3D in films?
Peter Jackson: Everyone’s used to seeing 3D now. We have filmed in 3D. We’re not doing a post-conversion , which I think is a much more immediate and realistic look at 3D. It has been surprisingly easy too. The cameras and the rigs that were available to us. The thing that we have to get now is the laser projectors, which are on the horizon probably next year where the light levels of 3D will be radically increased two or three times what it is now.
Check out our coverage of The Hobbit’s Comic-Con panel.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in theaters December 14.