Has the Cinemacon reaction to The Hobbit's 48fps footage soured the film?

With great anticipation, Peter Jackson (via video message) unveiled ten minutes of THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY to audiences at Cinemacon, which is shot at 48fps, doubling the frame rate from the usual 24fps.  Since Jackson announced his intention to up the frame rate we have all been curious to see the results.

And, now that they're in, it doesn't look so good. 

Apparently, the 48fps footage presented left those in attendance with an almost shocked feeling at just how off-puting the frame rate was.  The first shots shown were sweeping mountains that embodied the traditional "journey" shots from the original LOTR trilogy and were met with amazement, both in detail and scope.  However, it seemed like a ruse once the actual actors and sets were shown.

"There will be plenty for fans to savor. However, the richness of Jackson’s imagery, while beautiful, was marred because the 48 frames made each scene too crisp, if that’s possible. It looked more real, in fact — too real. Instead of an immersive cinematic experience, Middle Earth looked like it was captured as part of a filmed stage play,” said The Wrap.

A reporter from Bad Ass Digest said the footage looked like, "a hi-def version of the 1970s I, Claudius. It is drenched in a TV-like – specifically 70s era BBC – video look. People on Twitter have asked if it has that soap opera look you get from badly calibrated TVs at Best Buy, and the answer is an emphatic YES."  He went on to say, "The magical illusion of cinema is stripped away completely.”

The LA Times said, “It looked like a made-for-TV movie,” said one projectionist, who requested anonymity because of his affiliation with a competing studio. “It was too accurate — too clear. The contrast ratio isn’t there yet — everything looked either too bright or black.”

Lastly, Collider's report said, "The bad news is the 48fps is so jarring that I’m not sure casual moviegoers will enjoy it. While I figured the image quality would improve at 48fps, it’s like looking at real life on a movie screen and not in a good way. You no longer have motion blur. You no longer can hide stuff in the darkness. While watching Bilbo fight the trolls (which looked great), it looked like nothing I’ve ever seen projected on a movie screen. Granted the visual effects weren’t done and the lighting wasn’t finalized, but it was such a change that by the end of the presentation, I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch the entire movie in this new 48fps format. This is definitely not what I expected to say. Ultimately, it just didn’t look cinematic and it sort of looked like HD TV. Perhaps shooting at 48fps and then projecting at 24fps will solve my issues. Who knows.”

For those not in the know about the frame rate, here's a general walk through: Frame rate refers to the number of images displayed by a projector within one second. The cinema standard has been 24 fps for many decades.  With the advent of digital film, Jackson has decided to experiment with bumping the rate up to twice the size in order to capitalize on the new medium.

So, does this mean that THE HOBBIT films are in trouble?  Are audiences not ready for such a drastic change in frame rates?  I can remember seeing HDTV for the first time and being completely blindsided; however, now that I've adjusted, I wouldn't watch anything but HD.  Will we adjust to 48fps or will the standard 24fps stay in place?

I'll reserve judgment until I see the actual film, but I find the negative reactions by movie afficionados to be a little alarming.  Did Jackson show too much too soon, perhaps?

What do you guys think about this?

Extra Tidbit: Do people still buy DVD's? Whenever I see them at the store I think of CD's or VHS tapes, just hanging around until people finally just let them go and embrace the new hotness. Technology can be a bitch to keep up with, I suppose...
Source: Slashfilm



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