‘The Hobbit’ May Not Be Presented At 48fps At Your Local Theater
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With all the news about The Hobbit being turned into a trilogy spreading in the past few weeks, it was a little bit surprising not to hear director Peter Jackson address some of the issues and concerns about the film and its sequels being presented at 48 frames per second (fps). The projection rate was to have revolutionized the way audiences watched their movies. However, sneak previews of the film at 48fps failed to rile up any positive response. This left Jackson trying to pitch an encouraging spin for the new presentation format.

But that doesn’t seem to be working and now Warner Bros. is considering limiting the release of the 48fps version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected to only select locations. This could mean that major cities like New York and Los Angeles would get to see it in its intended format, while others will be left to watch the film at 24 fps.

In attempts to gain any positive reaction for 48fps, Variety reports that the people who have seen the film at the high-frame rate (hfr) in 3D say “the picture now looks vastly better than the test footage shown this April at CinemaCon, which had not yet undergone post-production polishing and got a mixed reception from exhibitors.”

The news may be encouraging to some, but I’ll take that quote with a grain of salt, considering the report doesn’t specify who exactly watched the film. Plus The Hobbit was presented at 24fps at the San Diego Comic-Con, which could mean that WB doesn’t believe the audience is ready to see this film at the hfr.

So the studio is doing all they can to protect the format by going forward with a limited release. Using the limited release would measure the reaction and help WB decide whether or not to release The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (and its sequels) in its intended format may sound like a smart move at first. But by doing so, it will disappoint fans who are interested to see what 48fps looks like. I for one haven’t seen 48fps in action, but considering that Los Angeles is just an hour or so away from me, I’d be willing to make the drive just to see it in its intended presentation. Not sure that I speak for everyone else though.

Since the film was already shot at the hfr, it would require some expense for WB to reduce the film to 24 fps, which is the rate that most theaters will play it. It isn’t a simple fix, as editors must add motion blur or risk the film looking extremely choppy.

What do you think about WB’s decision to limit the number of theaters presenting The Hobbit at 48fps? If you live in the general vicinity of one of the two major cities, would you be willing to drive out just to watch it the way Jackson intended you to see it?

[Source: Variety]

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  1. Well personally I would always like to see a film in its
    intended format no matter what that is, and I happen to be lucky enough to live
    right outside of NYC. I’m not tech savvy enough to understand the difference
    between 48 & 24 fps (but I’m willing to listen to someone’s explanation).
    The unfortunate thing I’m not really sure why WB and Jackson would have gone
    into this venture knowing that the majority of theaters were not properly set
    up to handle the format. Unless it’s WB’s way of creating a “special
    event” like buzz around those showings that will be in 48 fps.

    Comment by Joeybombstyle — August 8, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  2. As long as it still looks okay..
    Cannot wait.

    Who all hopes that it is a trilogy?

    Comment by Ekko Finch — August 8, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

  3. I don’t think WB is having to do anything special now for the normal (old fashioned) 24fps showings that most of the country will see. It was always the case that only “certain theaters” would be ready to project the NEW 48fps version; so they must have been preparing 2 versions of the film all along.

    Comment by Tony Romano — August 8, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

  4. I really hope there is a showing in Atlanta at 48fps! or else I will have an expensive plane flight to pay for o_o

    Comment by Andrew Pitman — August 8, 2012 @ 10:12 pm

  5. When you watch a movie, you are seeing a series of pictures, called frames, that are changing so fast it looks like motion. 48 frames per second means the pictures are changing twice as fast as they would for most movies, which play between 24 & 30 frames per second. the human eye and brain can see a difference in frame rates all the way to 60 frames per second, which means that 48 frames per second should look much more realistic than 24 fps.

    Comment by Andrew Pitman — August 8, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

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