Peter Jackson has been forced to defend his decision to film 'The Hobbit' at 48 frame page second after critics gave it a mixed reaction.
Some people who saw a special ten minute preview at CinemaCon in Las Vegas last week reported the higher frame rate to be distracting. Also the increased lifelike picture made the film look like a made for television BBC movie and that it felt like watching behind the scenes footage.
Coming Soons Edward Douglas said:
"Everything looks crystal clear but it also looks a little too perfect and lifelike and because of that clarity, the fact that we're looking at sets and actors in costumes and make-up seems much more obvious.
Director Ang Lee (Ice Storm, Brokeback Mountain) put forward his concerns by saying that it makes movies look too realistic and that he has mixed feelings about it;
"I don't think 48-frames solves everything. Each time you solve a problem you can bring in others -- because you make the problem look more clear, maybe."
Films are usually shot at the industry standard of 24fps (frames per second). At that speed, you get a little motion blur that gives movies at the cinema that film look.
If you use 48fps, you loose most of the motion blur and it makes the picture much clearer and lifelike while its claimed that it removes eye strain from watching the film in 3D.
Peter Jackson said that he made the choice to switch to 48fps because;
"Movement feels more real - it's much more gentle on the eyes".
And in a response to critics who said that the change made The Hobbit look too realistic and not in a good way, Jackson said;
"Nobody is going to stop. This technology is going to keep evolving. At first it's unusual because you've never seen a movie like this before," "It's literally a new experience, but you know, that doesn't last the entire experience of the film; not by any stretch, after 10 minutes or so. That's a different experience than if you see a fast-cutting montage at a technical presentation. "There can only ever be a real reaction, a truthful reaction, when people actually have a chance to see a complete narrative on a particular film. A couple of the more negative commenters from CinemaCon said that in the Gollum and Bilbo scene they didn't mind it and got used to that. "That was the same 48 frames the rest of the reel was. I just wonder if it they were getting into the dialogue, the characters and the story. That's what happens in the movie. You settle into it."
Warner Bros have given their support to Jackson using 48fps and James Cameron, who always likes to bee seen as film tech pioneer, has said that the two sequels to Avatar will be filmed at the higher 60fps.
Cinemas will have to upgrade their projectors to accommodate the higher frame rate at a cost of thousands of pounds per projector.
We will have to wait until this December to see what all the fuss is about when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is released in six formats, 3D, 2D and IMAX 3D in both 24fps and 48fps. If you want to see what effect changing the frame rate has on the human eye, check out this great demonstration by Bo Allen.