Attendees at this weeks CinemaCon, a convention for theatre owners, were granted a ten minute peak at Peter Jackson’s upcoming film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This was the first chance Jackson got to show off his new way of filming, the 48fps design which Jackson believes will enhance the movie going experience and create a whole new look to the way films are presented.
Films now are filmed at 24fps, this basically means there are 24 images, or frames, per second. Jackson wants to double this for the best possible picture, and has chosen to film The Hobbit at 48fps. While Jackson stands by this new technique, the response from those who saw the footage was less than positive, “terrible,” “jarring” and “it doesn’t look cinematic” were among the comments made. Not a good sign, but Jackson has responded to those comments:
“At first it’s unusual because you’ve never seen a movie like this before. It’s literally a new experience, but you know, that doesn’t last the entire experience of the film–not by any stretch, [just] 10 minutes or so,” Jackson tells EW. “That’s a different experience than if you see a fast-cutting montage at a technical presentation.”
He continued: “There can only ever be a real reaction, a truthful reaction, when people actually have a chance to see a complete narrative on a particular film,”
However, there were some positive’s from the negatives, with the same people complaining also praising a scene with Bilbo and Gollum, and here is what Jackson said in response to this: “A couple of the more negative commenters from CinemaCon said that in the Gollum and Bilbo scene [which took place later in the presentation] they didn’t mind it and got used to that,” Jackson said. “That was the same 48 frames the rest of the reel was. I just wonder if it they were getting into the dialogue, the characters and the story. That’s what happens in the movie. You settle into it.”
So there you have it, not a great start, but already there is proof that this new technology can be something we can get used to? Personally, I think its great that filmmakers like Jackson continue to move things forward, and there will always be negative comments when it comes to change, just look at how Avatar was slated before it was released. People struggled then at the thought of a film like that shot entirely in 3D, but look at how well it did once released.
Yes, it may take sometime to adjust to the way The Hobbit has been filmed, but this is Peter Jackson, and he hasn’t really let us down yet. However, some smaller cinema chains have spoken about the cost of converting their cinemas to be able to accommodate this new technology, saying it will cost them thousands. However, Warner Brothers have confirmed that the film will be released in both the traditional 24fps and also in the new48fps format.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arrives in UK cinemas 14th December 2012.
By Matt Wavish