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Peter Jackson defends filming techniques used in 'The Hobbit'

Director addresses new frame-rate critics

By Parallel Universe on MSN Dec 11, 2012 12:33PM
'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'/Warner Bros.Director Peter Jackson has defended the new filming techniques he uses in "The Hobbit" trilogy after critics slammed the format following early previews.

Jackson has shot the movies using 48 frames per second, rather than the usual 24 frames per second, which has been the standard rate of images projected since 1927. Critics who have reviewed the film have dismissed the increased number of frames as "kitch" and "fake", but Jackson is adamant filmmaking has to move forward to prevent movies from looking outdated.

Bing: More about 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' | More about Peter Jackson

He tells the BBC, "24 frames is jarring to me now. It looks primitive. Change is good, it takes people some time to get used to it. Ultimately, it's not critics who are going to decide if this (the new format) is going to be adopted or not, it's the audience. (There will always be) people who have a particular strong feeling that film should be unchanged and that we got it right in 1927, just like there are people who play vinyl records still, whereas most of the world has moved to CDs and we got used to that."

Related: Who's who in 'The Hobbit' | 'Hobbit' 101

Only a small proportion of cinemas carrying the first installment in the trilogy, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," will be able to use the 48 frames version, which is designed to improve picture quality.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is out in theaters Friday, Dec. 14.
Dec 12, 2012 12:14PM
It's not just the "paid critics" who are complaining. Not everyone who has seen the film came away in awe of this new technique, and some have even complained that it takes away from it and makes it look like it was filmed on cheap video tape like the old soaps. And this new technology is also goingto translate into high movie prices as the theatres have to spend more for equipment and extras like special glasses and I guess the stupid virutal reality helmets will be next. Secondly, how will this translate on BluRay at home? Again, it would be one thing if it were answering a need, but to create a need to fulfill your own need to play with cool toys, yeah, not buying the "it's for your own good" argument here.
Dec 12, 2012 12:10PM

Higher frame rate means truer to life. Classic cinema wonks will complain because it's different than what they're used to, but in reality, 24 fps is more "fake" because the human eye can perceive a "frame rate" in excess of 150 fps when viewing the world around us.


I say it's about time cameras are getting rid of some chop. 24 fps jerkiness drives me nuts, especially in panning scenes.

Dec 12, 2012 12:06PM

Ok, I can understand the "looking dated" rationale if EVERYONE was doing this, but it sounds more to me like he's creating  the need, not fulfilling it. So what if a movie looks "dated "- you only have to worry about that if the story and acting and direction were sub-par. People still love "Gone with the WInd," The Godfather," "Citizen Cane," oh, hell, even a chick flick like "DIrty Dancing." No one is going to stop watching these movies just because we've made advances in filming techniques.

Dec 12, 2012 11:55AM
Critics always have to say something (too often in the negative vein) to maintain their 'superiority' in the ability to tell what is art and what is good.  I guess that is why I so frequently find their opinions and mine are so diametrically opposite.
Dec 12, 2012 11:51AM

Too Fast for comfort! It makes you nauseus along with a headache!


How about 28 frames per second instead so that people can watch and follow the actual story.

Being too fast as well as causing the deaths of too many animals adds up to poor directorial choices and a poor movie------they ruined a tremendous story through lack of respect, lack of professionalism and greed!

Dec 12, 2012 11:44AM

To make a comparison between frame rate and the transition to sound and color is silly. It isn't groundbreaking at all - we've experienced higher frame rates from television since it's inception (29.97 fps).


I think a more adequate comparison would be aspect ratio (widescreen vs 4:3, etc). In the end, it's another tool the artists can use or not use depending on the effect they are trying to create. Just as 3D doesn't always translate to a better storytelling experience, the same will be true of higher frame rates. Heck, if we learn the lesson from "The Artist" or "Schindler's List" - we find that color isn't always necessary either.


Just like how "The Wizard of Oz" made creative use of both black and white and color - I think we'll find hybrid production that utilize high frame rates when it makes sense, and lower when it serves the creative needs of the production.


I think what the critics don't like about high frame rates, is that it reminds them of television - especially pre-digital television (with 29.97 frames interlaced, you had an effective frame rate close to 60fps) - and most lower-budget television shows pre-2000 shot at the native 29.97fps interlaced (soap operas, game shows) - while bigger budget shows utilized a film frame rate and upconverted. So when a critic (or general audience member) sees that type of smooth motion, it reminds them of lower budget productions). The trick will be to break that mindset.



Dec 12, 2012 11:42AM
And when we moved on and "Got used to CD"s) we got used to listening to garbled computer language.
Dec 12, 2012 11:38AM

The real issue here is that the movie looks like Video and not like Film. If you like to turn on that feature on your LCD Flat Panel then you will love the look.


Me personally I like the look of film and I think most people will be disapointed with 48fr.

Dec 12, 2012 11:30AM
Dec 12, 2012 11:22AM

I play video games on the pc at a minimum of 100 48 is nothing. smoother is better, How many FPS does  your see in real life? Infinite?

Dec 12, 2012 11:11AM
The industry should dedicate its efforts to produce 3D without the need for viewers, using something like persistence of vision, the method of making pictures move.
Dec 12, 2012 10:54AM

I'm not really sure what 48 frames per second looks like, so I couldn't specifically comment on it just yet.  What I can say is that I think watching High Def TV (Movies or sitcoms) suck.   It's so clear, it makes it look like watching a live "on the set" version.  I want to watch a movie, not imagine I'm on the set or watching a play.  (I wonder if anyone gets what I'm saying?)  It doesn't have the right feel for me.


On the other hand, High Def TV (sports and live events) are awesome because it makes you feel like you are watching them live, like it's supposed to be.   So if 48 frames per second make the movie "feel" like it's High Def at home, then it's going to my opinion.



Dec 12, 2012 10:44AM
If it is anything like the motion flo or 240hz LED TVs, then it will look too unrealistic. Judging by what was posted about the advanced screening, it sounds that way. I hate those effects on the TV. I don't use them on mine. It looks like a home video or Soap. 3D is growing on me though. I saw Life of Pi and it was much better than previous 3D films. Everything actually had believable depth. It still needs work on the motion and focusing though. If the 48fps helps this, then maybe it will work.
Dec 12, 2012 10:34AM
Sure who need High Definition the old way was just fine.  What?  What the Helll? How could 48 frames not be better than 24 frames?  What is the beef?  I suppose it is possible since the human eye has a limit as to the nuber of frames per second that it can "see" and therefore 48 might not actually be better than 24, but it can not be a bad thing.  This is a bizzare story.
Dec 12, 2012 9:49AM
James Cameron  has said the 3D sequels to “Avatar” will be shot at HFR. Film-technology buffs are speculating “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3” will be shot at 60 FPS. So, 48HFR is already out-dated.
Dec 12, 2012 9:48AM
I am interested to see it for myself, not so interested in what the critics are saying.  But, I am disturbed that Mr. Jackson has chosen to make 3 movies out of ONE Tolkien book, incidentally the shortest of the four Tolkien works he has filmed.  Seems like just trying to cash in to me.   So I'm definitely reserving judgment on the new format as well.
Dec 12, 2012 9:46AM
Leave the man alone.  Let him make the movie the way he wants to.
Dec 12, 2012 9:28AM
Paid critics usually simply couldn't succeed in the business they are judging so their opinions should only count for less than 1/10 of 1/10 of a percent anyway and this "Hobbit" controversy seems more of minor tech tweek than a true messing with something fundamental like the colorization of black and white movies controversy. In regards to that, it isn't archaic, conservative thinking or luddite aversion to technology to voice the idea that new isn't always truly an improvement. And it is not true that most people have automatically accepted colorized black and white movies as better. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, It's A Wonderful Life and other films are better in their original versions. Some of the colorized versions of Humphrey Bogart performances look more like some bad stereotype of a low level pimp than the classic tough guy or world weary cynical private eye and sorry but the original cartoon versions of How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Disney's 101 Dalmatians were 100 percent better than any live action versions. New isn't automatically better and preferring the original of something doesn't mean a stick-in-the-mud mindset either.
Dec 12, 2012 9:25AM
It was the critics who said the wizard of oz and gone with the wind where bad movies.  I don't believe in critics because they don't know me and what I like and 9 times out of 10 I love a movie the critics have slammed. 
Dec 12, 2012 9:17AM
I don't know. Does everything have to be 48 fps and 3D to boot in order to be a good movie now? I go to see a movie for the story. Not for the director to preach to me that his method is better than everyone elses. If I want a director to tell me how brilliant he thinks he is I'll watch a Cameron film, cough *Avatar* cough.  Something happened to Jackson in between Lord of the Rings and now where it isn't the story that matters, its 3D. Its almost like he's obseessed with it and demands everyone share that obsession or else they are "old" and "not with the times".
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