Avatar was the first blockbuster movie shot in 3D. For the next three, James Cameron had considered jumping from 24 to 60 frames per second, but he now confirms that he has settled for 48 frames per second.
Avatar 2, 3 and 4 in 48fps HFR
For decades, movies have been filmed and viewed in 24 frames per second, a format that the industry calls "cinematic". Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey was the first movie to make the jump to smoother video playback with 48 frames per second – also referred to as HFR.
Expect the same for Avatar 2, 3 and 4.
- “My thinking at the time was that 60 might be a better segue to the video market. I’ll be plugging into a system that’s a little more mature, so it makes sense for me to do 48 frames at this point.” says James Cameron to Empire.
James Cameron has opted for 48fps because of wider support for this particular frame rate, whereas 60fps is still relatively uncharted territory in the movie world. The cameras used will also capture 4K and 3D.
- “They’re gonna be bitchin’. You will shit yourself with your mouth wide open.” says James Cameron when asked about the movies.
TVs can typically reproduce up to 60fps, but the current Blu-ray standard does not support HFR. The upcoming 4K Blu-ray standard, slated for late 2015, will include the specifications to make HFR possible. Netflix will also start streaming HFR content within a few years.
Mixed feelings about HFR Hobbits
Peter Jackson released the first two The Hobbit movies in the HFR format. Many moviegoers loved HFR, but many others hated it saying that the movies and acting looked too "realistic".
Peter Jackson toned down the HFR elements a bit for the second movie, but both have been available to watch in cinemas in the old 24fps format. The third movie will also be released in the HFR format.
Avatar is a certainly a different movie genre and it will be interesting to see the reaction to HFR in Avatar 2 when it hit theatres in December 2016, followed by Avatar 3 and 4 in 2017 and 2018.