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HFR 3D: Peter Jackson explains what and why

November 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm by Demosthenes  - 

ANDREW GORRIE/The Dominion Post
Confused about HFR 3D? Not convinced it’s the thing fr you? Peter Jackson explains what it is, why he’s chosen to employ it, and why he believes you should check it out in this short question and answer article.

QUESTION: Why did you shoot The Hobbit Trilogy using the High Frame Rate (HFR) format?

PETER JACKSON: We live in a rapidly advancing digital age. Technology is being continually developed that can enhance and enrich the cinema-going experience. High Frame Rate shooting for a mainstream feature film has only become viable in the last year or two, and yet we live in an age of increasing home entertainment. I started shooting The Hobbit films in HFR because I wanted film audiences to experience just how remarkably immersive the theatrical cinema experience can be.

QUESTION: What is the history of frame rates and why do you think the time has come to increase them in the theater?

PETER JACKSON: Silent movies were shot at somewhere between 16 and 18 frames per second (fps) with hand-cranked cameras. In 1927, when sound came along, the industry needed to agree on a motor-driven, constant camera speed. 35mm film stock is very expensive, so it needs to be as slow as possible. However, the early optical soundtrack required a minimum speed to achieve fidelity of the sound. 24 fps was decided on, and became the industry standard for over 80 years, with cinemas all around the world installing mechanical projectors only capable of projecting at 24 fps. 24 fps was a commercial decision — the cheapest speed to provide basic quality — but it produces movement artifacts, like strobing, flicker and motion blur.

Now, in the digital age, there’s no reason whatsoever to stick to 24 fps. We didn’t get it perfect in 1927. Science tells us that the human eye stops seeing individual pictures at about 55 fps. Therefore, shooting at 48 fps gives you much more of an illusion of real life. The reduced motion blur on each frame increases sharpness and gives the movie the look of having been shot in 65mm or IMAX. One of the biggest advantages is the fact that your eye is seeing twice the number of images each second, giving the movie a wonderful immersive quality. It makes the 3D experience much more gentle and hugely reduces eyestrain. Much of what makes 3D viewing uncomfortable for some people is the fact that each eye is processing a lot of strobing, blur and flicker. This all but disappears in HFR 3D.

QUESTION: Having shot the film using HFR technology, what are your thoughts on the experience?

PETER JACKSON: I think HFR is terrific. As a filmmaker, I try to make my movies immersive. I want to draw the audience out of their seats, and pull them into the adventure. That is the experience I hope to offer moviegoers no matter which format they choose at the theater. While I personally prefer watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in HFR 3D, I can assure you that every format will provide you with an incredible and immersive experience.

HFR 3D is “different” — it won’t feel like the movies you’re used to seeing, in much the same way as the first CDs didn’t sound like vinyl records. We live in an age when cinemas are competing with iPads and home entertainment systems. I think it’s critical that filmmakers employ current technology to increase the immersive, spectacular experience that cinema should provide. It’s an exciting time to be going to the movies.

Posted in Director news, Hobbit Movie, Peter Jackson, Production, The Hobbit on November 19, 2012 by
Source: Peter Jackson

10 responses to “HFR 3D: Peter Jackson explains what and why”

  1. MaraBackman says:

    Sounds good. I dislike 3D because of what a gimmick it became almost immediately. But my main beef with 3D is how painful it can be for my eyes, so I’m glad if they have been able to fix that.

  2. Dawnthewhovian says:

    So happy I got my advance tickets for 3D Knowing this now makes me even more excited!

  3. Cody says:

    Very cool! I like Peter Jackson. He’s willing to do what others will not and so far, he’s succeeded (LOTR: 3 films shot simultaneously). I’m excited to see the film and if it’s as awesome as Jackson says it will be, I hope more film-makers follow suit.

  4. Matthew Hall says:

    Looking forward to seeing it in this format. The few experiences I’ve had (playing games) with high frame rate 3D makes it easier on the eyes.

  5. Mike Garcia says:

    I disagree with Peter Jackson.
    I like and prefer the slower 24fps film speed.
    The faster speed (such as video tape at 30fps) lacks the same feeling of fantasy.
    Motion blur is a fact of human vision.
    Unless you are focused on the moving object directly, and not looking at the overall scene, will you not see much motion blur. Try waving your hand in front of your face or watch live sports, anything with fast motion has blur to the human eye.
    In fact, motion blur is added to animation to give it a more realistic feel.

    I don’t like the 120mhz television sets either. It looks unnatural. It makes a film feel like it was shot with a home video camera or on a stage, it loses the feel of fantasy and dream-like vision.

    I’m also worried about PJ’s decisions on the Dwarf designs…Thorin looks way too human…so do Kili and Fili.

    The other Dwarves look too comical. Like Dori, Nori, and Ori -with the bozo hair.
    They are also too well dressed and fresh looking for a people with no home nor money.

    I enjoyed PJ’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy but I think he’s got it all wrong with “The Hobbit”.
    The previews that have been presented make it look like a slapstick comedy with one-liners.

    I will watch it, but with deep reservations.

  6. themuIe says:

    That’s your opinion, your taste.

  7. rhans107 says:

    I love Peter Jackson and am very excited for the Hobbit, however reality is not necessarily something that fits with the hobbit universe considering it is an old time fantasy; a story set in an alternate world. I don’t want to see every single blade of fake hair, or every piece of prosthetic, or blotch of makeup on a mythical character. Film does a better job at hiding those things and making the world feel more cinematic. Hyper-realism isn’t always the best approach and that shouldn’t always be the goal – it’s a case by case basis. If this was planet earth or a documentary than maybe a higher frame rate would work better. But in a strange way, hyper realism looks more fake in this regard because middle earth is not real, therefore using a medium like 48 frames only embellishes the details that we know in our minds don’t actually exist.

  8. Ethan Howard says:

    they still have motion blur. 48fps would still look choppy with zero motion blur. We see motion blur but not to the dratic amounts 24fps has needed to create a smooth picture. Peter Jackson posted the details of his shutter speed, etc. earlier. There will be less motion blur, but not none.

  9. Brian says:

    I couldn’t agree more with everything you just said. I’m glad there’s someone who sees it like I do. I can’t stand the new high fps look. It looks awkward and honestly unrealistic, when they were going for a more realistic look. And yeah I’ve been saying that the dwarves look too much like the animated versions of themselves. It looks like they’re going for a more comical feel for this trilogy which could be unfortunate, but we’ll see. But yeah you said it all better than I could have

  10. Tim Fowler says:

    Like the difference between vinyl and CD? Really? That much worse…..

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