Reactions to the high frame rate (HFR) of 48 frames per second used for The Hobbit have ranged from love to hate, and everything in between. Now Pulitzer-prize-winning still photographer Vincent Laforet has weighed in. He undertook to see the film in 3D HFR, 3D, and 2D, all on the same day. He disliked the HFR version, preferring both the 3D and 2D versions at the normal 24 fps. Laforet’s blog post, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Masterclass in Why HFR Fails, and a Reaffirmation of What Makes Cinema Magical,” gives a detailed description of how he found it difficult to identify with the characters and have any emotional involvement in the story while watching the HFR version. The lighting looked bad, whereas it looked good in 2D–even though these are different versions of the same footage. The tiny flaws in makeup, sets, and special effects were visible in the HFR version but not in the normal version. Laforet explains why he thinks all this was the case, and although the essay gets a bit technical at times, it’s generally pretty clear. If you haven’t seen The Hobbit yet and are wondering which version to see, or if you’ve seen the HFR version and are wondering if the normal-speed version is worth seeing, check out what Laforet has to say.
By the way, he does like the fact that Peter Jackson is bold enough to test out new technologies like HFR!