Peter Jackson talks about shooting The Hobbit at 48 frames per second

Adapting literary works once considered impossible to adapt, making them back-to-back, and satisfying both critics and the millions of fans of the source material wasn't ambitious enough for Peter Jackson.

So as he follows the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, he's aiming for even greater advancements on THE HOBBIT movies. We already heard he was shooting them on RED's 3D digital EPIC camera, but that's not enough, so he's shooting at 48 frames per second.

What's that going to mean to the average viewer accustomed to seeing everything in the standard 24 frames per second? As Jackson explains on his Facebook page: "The key thing to understand is that this process requires both shooting and projecting at 48 fps, rather than the usual 24 fps (films have been shot at 24 frames per second since the late 1920's). So the result looks like normal speed, but the image has hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness. Looking at 24 frames every second may seem ok--and we've all seen thousands of films like this over the last 90 years--but there is often quite a lot of blur in each frame, during fast movements, and if the camera is moving around quickly, the image can judder or "strobe."

Shooting and projecting at 48 fps does a lot to get rid of these issues. It looks much more lifelike, and it is much easier to watch, especially in 3-D. We've been watching HOBBIT tests and dailies at 48 fps now for several months, and we often sit through two hours worth of footage without getting any eye strain from the 3-D. It looks great, and we've actually become used to it now, to the point that other film experiences look a little primitive. I saw a new movie in the cinema on Sunday and I kept getting distracted by the juddery panning and blurring. We're getting spoilt!"

Jackson talks more about the history and differences HERE, and claims that the current digital projectors in theaters will just need a firmware upgrade to showcase the power of the 48.

"Warner Bros. have been very supportive, and allowed us to start shooting THE HOBBIT at 48 fps, despite there never having been a wide release feature film filmed at this higher frame rate.  We are hopeful that there will be enough theaters capable of projecting 48 fps by the time The Hobbit comes out where we can seriously explore that possibility with Warner Bros.  However, while it's predicted that there may be over 10,000 screens capable of projecting THE HOBBIT at 48 fps by our release date in Dec, 2012, we don’t yet know what the reality will be.  It is a situation we will all be monitoring carefully.  I see it as a way of future-proofing THE HOBBIT.  Take it from me--if we do release in 48 fps, those are the cinemas you should watch the movie in. It will look terrific!"

Shooting is currently underway with stars Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Martin Freeman, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, Rob Kazinsky, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Ian McKellen, Graham McTavish, James Nesbitt, Mikael Persbrandt, Andy Serkis, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, and Elijah Wood (whew!).

Extra Tidbit: Is that the silhouette of Bilbo on that monitor?
Source: Facebook



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