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More HFR showings for new Hobbit, but effect softened

16 Dec 2013 | Rasmus Larsen |

The first Hobbit movie was the first to be shot in the new HFR (high frame rate) format at 48 pictures per second instead of the typical 24. The Hobbit 2 has hit theaters, and there are far more HFR showings than last year. However, Peter Jackson has also decided to slightly soften the HFR effect and has toned down HFR marketing.

Jackson: HFR is here to stay

For decades, movies have been shot in 24 frames per second. That might sound strange in these modern times, but the slow frame rate is often associated with the “film look”. Most people agreed that the first Hobbit movie in HFR format had much improved picture quality and 3D effect, but there was still mixes feelings about the new format.

But Peter Jackson has not changed his mind.
- “The Desolation of Smaug is best seen in high frame rate, that’s all I can suggest to anyone who’s interested in seeing it,” says Jackson to Variety.

Peter Jackson concedes that there were lots of objections. The image might have been too sharp, says Jackson. That is why he and the team have made some changed during the color gradation process, making pictures a bit softer and more filmic. However, Jackson stressed that he has in no way returned to the traditional film look, just softened the look at bit in some areas.

More HFR showings, but marketing toned down

Despite objections Peter Jackson has no intentions to return to the old ways. HFR is the future, he believes, and he says that he has also received much praise regarding HFR and the 3D effect from the industry and “normal” folks.

In the U.S. HFR theatre showings have almost doubled from 462 last year to 812 theatres this year, and the international figures come in at around 2500 compared to 1669 last year. Peter Jackson chose early on to show the press and movie critics the 24fps version instead of HFR following last year’s pre-showings, where many ended up debating the format instead of the movie. Jackson wanted to avoid a repeat, instead keeping focus on storytelling.

- ”100 years from now films are not going to be at 24 frames a second. The technology is going to move in ways we probably can’t even predict now. 100 years ago it was 16 frames a second, black-and-white. 100 years from now it’s going to be different again. At what point does a filmmaker use technology to push things along?” says Jackson to Variety.

Have you seen The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in HFR? Did you notice a difference compared to last year’s Hobbit movie?

- Source: Peter Jackson, Variety

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