Thorin Oakenshield Over at a talented fellow named Michael Sanders has used some nifty video trickery to interpolate what the Desolation of Smaug trailer might look like at 48 frames per second. It’s a very interesting experiment.

Several TORn staff have compared the Sanders’ 48fps interpolation and the 24fps rendition initially released by Warner Bros. side-by-side — and we feel that even Sanders’ “amateur” (and that word seems unfair for something that looks so good) interpolation reduces picture blurring blurring from camera panning and fast movement.

The scene we’d particularly draw your eye to is the one where the barrels drop down the chute from the bowels of Thranduil’s underground stronghold into the river. There’s a noticeable increase in clarity there.

An aside: It’s even clearer in this version that the lids are not on the barrels as they roll down the chute from Thranduil’s cellar, and drop into the water. So: no lids. Sorry folks.

The Desolation of Smaug trailer in shiny 48fps

Anyway, you can watch Sanders’ 48fps version of the trailer directly below. Then, if you’d like to compare it against the original, head to Warner Bros.’ original trailer release which we’ve handily embedded at the bottom of this post. After all, there’s nothing better than comparing apples against apples, right?

Have a look at both, and let us know your thoughts below!

Desolation of Smaug trailer in 48fps. If the embedded player cause trouble, download the full file (Size: 86 megabytes).

A couple of notes from Sanders on the work that went into his HFR interpolation, and how he accomplished it:

Faster actions scenes proved somewhat problematic, but overall it turned out pretty interesting. I may improve on it later. The true frame rate is 48fps, but the actual video file is rendered in 60fps, since many players (including VLC) can have trouble with 48.


I used Adobe After Effects CS6. For each cut, I would try both AE’s built-in pixel motion and Re:Vision’s Twixtor plugin, and use whichever one had better results. For some pieces of the cuts where the warping and ghosting artifacts really got out of hand, I just used plain old frame blending which just layers the previous frame over the next frame. At 48fps, it goes by so quick you can generally get away with it in very short spurts. however, I plan on revisiting these cuts in particular with Twixtor using tracking points and/or foreground masks. And of course, the most important thing is you always have to separate out the first and last frame of a cut and leave it un-interpolated so you don’t get a real nasty “morph” between cuts. That’s probably one of the more time-consuming parts with really fast trailers with lots of cuts.

TORn Staffer Mr Cere adds this thought, too:

48 fps doesn’t need to be with 3D, but the studio choose to make it so, which is a bad decision IMHO. They could release a non-3D 48 fps but never did. BIG loss for this consumer.

Warner Bros. original Desolation of Smaug trailer.