This week’s post takes a look at Peter Jackson’s latest big budget film as it garnered much attention this holiday season but it wasn’t on the film itself, but rather on the technology used to shoot it. That’s right folks, we’re talking about 48fps (frames per second).
Before we get into the logistics of this new technique, let’s take a look at frame rates and how they have changed with the transition from analog to digital. With the introduction of digital motion cameras and HDTVs, the language used to talk about shooting, editing and viewing films and shows has changed. The current norm for filmmakers is to shoot at 24 frames per second and to project the film reel at the same rate. In reality, a film is just a sequence of still images. By placing 24 still images in a second, our eye perceives movement. However, in other mediums like cartoons and anime, some of the frames are repeated twice or even three times and our eyes can still see the movement. This PCMag article gives a good rundown of how the standards have changed.
So what does this all mean for Peter Jackson’s newest release: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey? In theory, more frames shown in a second means more information for our eyes to see which should result in a better image. The debates surrounding Jackson’s new film shot at 48 fps proves that maybe this isn’t the case. In many reviews, the critics were not swayed by Jackson’s experiment, saying the technique gave the film a too-good-to-be-true feel, while some say the images are clearer and crisper. Here’s another article from PCMag that delves in the frame rate debate of the film.
For a more visual portrait, here is a video from The Escapist that gives you The Big Picture on frame rates in The Hobbit:
If HFR 3D (High Frame Rate 3D) tickles your fancy, check out 48fpsmovies.com for a full theatre list and other fun facts about 48fps.
I think it’s great to see some progress in the techniques that filmmakers can use. Directors have always been taking chances. Even though this attempt might be far from perfect, it still deserves some credit for trying something new. As Jackson said, he wanted to give his viewers a more immersive and magical experience, which, in my mind, isn’t something I would turn away from.
Well, now it’s your turn to be the judge: 48fps – yay or nay? Let’s have a chat below, just comment and I’ll respond or tweet me at @warriorrenaud.
Banner image courtesy Michel Banabila