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Will The Hobbit Look Like a 70s Soap Opera at 48 FPS?

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It seems Peter Jackson's upcoming film, The Hobbit, is causing a stir among those CinemaCon goers who have been treated to a 10 minute preview screening of the film. And it's not joyful stir. Viewers complained that the movie looked too real, that it had that look of low-budget television. Yikes.

The reason for the retro slickness? Producer Peter Jackson decided to shoot The Hobbit at 48 frames-per-second, as opposed to 24 fps which has been industry standard pretty much since the dawn of time. E! Online quoted Jackson as saying that the higher frame rate makes the 3D picture "much more gentle on the eyes, without the strobing or as much flicker, and much less eye strain."


That's all well and good, but Jackson seems to have overlooked the fact that decades of watching movies at 24 fps makes any change in that paradigm extremely disorienting, especially given that higher frame rates are typically used for things like home video, soap operas, and reality TV.

If you have ever watched TV on a set that has some kind of "smooth motion" feature enabled, you sort of know what this looks like. It's a subtle change, but one that makes a huge difference. Your favorite shows all of a sudden look like amateur productions. It is very unpleasant.


With the decision to shoot at this higher frame rate, Jackson might be going one step too far in the name of 3D. People are already on the fence about 3D movies bastardizing the traditions of cinema. Take away their beloved 24 fps, and they might revolt. [EOSHD & E! Online]