In April of 2011 director Peter Jackson announced on his Facebook page that he was shooting the upcoming Hobbit Trilogy at 48 frames per second.Using the Red Digital Cinema Company’s Epic Camera, Jackson intended to shoot the film at 48 frames per second, instead of the usual 28 frames per second.
He’s not the only filmmaker to be doing this, as director James Cameron has announced that he will be shooting the Avatar sequels at 60 frames per second. This raises a few questions; namely why they are doing this? What are they trying to do with these high frame rate movies? Why are they filming The Hobbit trilogy at 48 frames per second and the Avatar sequels at 60 frames per second? And finally, where you can get a look at this higher frame rate film yourself?
To begin with, the standard for filming movies for the last 80 years or so, has been at 24 frames per second. Movie studios needed a standard that was both economically viable and of relatively high quality. There have been people who have tried to film at higher frame rates, but there was never an economically viable way to film said movie, or project it at that same frame rate. What Peter Jackson is trying to do is not only film his Hobbit trilogy at 48 frames per second, but also project it at that same rate onto a movie screen. This means that not only will these films be in 3-D, but they will be high frame rate 3-D. According a Q and A that Jackson did on Facebook about The Hobbit, he decided to film the movies at 48 frames per second to demonstrate “how remarkably immersive the theatrical cinema experience can be”. He goes on to say that the higher frame rate “hugely reduces” eye strain during 3-D viewing. He also acknowledges that in an era of increasing competition for people’s entertainment dollar film studios have to invent new ways to bring people to the theater It would seem that higher frame rate films are the next big advancement for that purpose. Only in the last 2 years has filming in higher frame rates actually been feasible for movie makers and movie theaters And that is also why you should expect to pay more when it comes time to see a 3-D high frame rate film.
If you want to read more on the decision to film The Hobbit movies at a higher frame rate they you can check out the Facebook interview Jackson did in the link below. If you want a demonstration as to the differences between normal frame rate film and higher frame rates, engadget.com decided to compare what a higher frame rate movie might look like compared to a normal frame rate in an editorial linked below. Inside that editorial they have 2 identical clips. One clip is shown at 25 frames per second while the other one shown at 50 frames per second. That should give you a pretty good idea as to what to expect with these movies. As for me, I will take a wait and see approach. Though I doubt that the format will be adopted universally, I believe that we will see more and more film makers attempt what Jackson and Cameron are trying to do.
Clifford Taylor Hofferd is a University Graduate living in Prince George. He thought the latest James Bond movie was overrated.