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High Frame Rate movies gaining momentum

02 Apr 2024 | Rasmus Larsen |

Unlike earlier failed attempts at High Frame Rate such as The Hobbit, a new wave of cinematic HFR movies is gaining momentum, with Warner's Godzilla x Kong serving as the latest example.

In the West, James Cameron was first out the gate with a new approach to HFR (High Frame Rate) in movies, utilizing it for the 3D presentation (48 frames per second) of Avatar: The Way of Water in premium cinemas.

This new approach, sometimes referred to as cinematic HFR, is enabled by a new tool called TrueCut Motion, developed by Pixelworks. In technical terms, it involves motion grading that enables filmmakers to fine-tune motion scene-by-scene to reduce judder and avoid the dreaded "soap opera" effect of past HFR releases like The Hobbit.

A higher frame rate (than standard 24fps) is required not only to maintain resolution in motion (temporal resolution) but also to mitigate the distracting effects of judder, which worsen as the picture becomes faster and brighter, hindering HDR (High Dynamic Range).

 Also read: Why 24fps is not enough for HDR movies


Building momentum

In January 2024, Disney dropped the major news that Avatar: The Way of Water would be available in 48fps HFR at home for the first time, although exclusively on Apple Vision Pro, as part of a multi-year commitment to release movies in TrueCut HFR. Since then, FlatpanelsHD has reported on additional theatrical releases in the TrueCut HFR format, including Argylle and Kung Fu Panda 4.

Godzilla x Kong

The new Godzilla x Kong is screened in 48fps HFR in a few premium cinemas. Photo: Warner Bros

We have now learned that Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is also being released in 48fps HFR. It will be screened in 48fps at all Cinity cinemas starting April 3. It marks Warner's first release in TrueCut HFR. Unlike earlier releases, Godzilla vs. Kong: The New Empire will not be screened in HFR in Dolby Cinema. Also read: HFR – The one UHD technology you rarely hear about That is three releases so far in 2024. Compare that to the past decade of HFR releases, where the three The Hobbit were released in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively, followed by Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk in 2016 and Gemini Man in 2019. With Apple, Disney, Universal and now Warner backing it, HFR is gaining momentum. Currently, the HFR versions of the movies are, or will be, available for home viewing exclusively on Apple Vision Pro. However, as previously reported, Pixelworks is planning to introduce a logo certification program for TVs and other consumer devices to ensure native playback of movies in the TrueCut HFR format.

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