We won't know for sure how the moviegoing world will receive The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in HFR (or 48 fps) until the film officially hits theaters next week. The word from most critics, who I feel tend to reject major technological changes when it comes to the world of filmmaking, is that it definitely takes some getting used to. Some hate it and think it removes the ability for an audience member to lose themselves in the movie because everything is so clear and real that it feels like you're watching actors on sets and not characters in Middle-earth. Others, most notably those from a younger generation, are welcoming the change and excited by the prospects of what's to come. So... what's to come?
In a great interview with our buddy Mike Ryan at the Huffington Post, Hobbit director Peter Jackson admits that the next movie you're likely to see in 48 fps is his Hobbit sequel, due out next year. From there we imagine other filmmakers are waiting to see the general reaction from moviegoers, though we already know one man who's pushing forward with 48 fps regardless: James Cameron. According to Jackson, Cameron -- who's already gone on record promoting the higher frame rate -- is "definitely" shooting his Avatar sequels with the higher frame rate.
"Yeah, Jim is definitely going to do Avatar in a high frame rate -- for Avatar 2 and Avatar 3. But, you know, the interesting thing is that we've got the first 48 frame movie, but we're also going to have the second. Because even if it takes off and 20 people start shooting movies in 48 frames next year, no one is going to get their movie done before the second Hobbit movie comes out."
It'll be interesting to see how the higher frame rate looks with a movie dominated by computer-generated characters and environments. Will it feel more immersive than live-action, therefore winning over more people? It's certainly possible. One thing it won't do is make you vomit, as some reports have claimed. Warner Bros. has issued an official press release firing back at those who say the higher frame rate is nauseating.
"We have been screening the full-length HFR 3D presentation of THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY extensively and feedback has been extremely positive, with none of thousands who have seen the film projected in this format expressing any of the issues described by two anonymous sources in media reports. We share the filmmakers’ belief that by offering filmgoers the additional choice of HFR 3D, alongside traditional viewing formats, they have an opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking advancement in the moviegoing experience and we look forward to having audiences everywhere share in this new way of storytelling.”
Is it the future of cinema, or is it hard to stomach? Maybe it's both, but whatever it is you'll get you have an opinion on it in just a few days from now.
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