Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thoughts on 48fps High Frame Rate

This weekend watching THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY in the High Frame Rate (48fps) format was bittersweet. I loved every minute of it (with the exception of characters in the foreground appearing to be moving in fast-forward from time to time). Everything on screen looks real! The mountains of gold inside Erebor is a sight to behold.

My biggest compliment to HFR & 3D is that while you do have to wear 3D glasses, the image is so crisp and clear that it seems like you are not wearing glasses at all. No blurring effect from the 3D at all. The movie had moments of focusing in and out but that was probably only to give the presentation more of a film quality to it. The HFR also brings out the best in CGI. Nothing can take you out of a film quicker than CGI. With HFR I found myself continuously wondering what was computer generated and what was miniature.

Director Peter Jackson loves to do both and here it is seemingly flawless. The best example I can give is that there is a scene in his King Kong film where a bunch of people are running away from dinosaurs, if you don't remember I'm reminding you that it looked like crap. Everything about that scene was flat and blurry. In THE HOBBIT a similar scene takes place as our band of merry Dwarves and Gandalf are running for their lives in Goblin Town. The action is flawless and no blur whatsoever.

Here's where the bittersweetness comes in; I love film, I love 24fps it has a realness to it whereas 48fps looses that “look” we movie lovers all appreciate. I think the trick is and what ultimately makes THE HOBBIT shown in 48fps work is that the movie is still cinematic, very cinematic. A lot of kinks in the format need to be fixed and more than likely will as technology moves forward. This format won't be for every genre and I hope Hollywood sees that, sadly they won't so choose your HFR movies carefully.

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