With the release of The Hobbit looming, filmed at 48 frames per second, Regal Cinemas release a factsheet to explain the super smooth format.
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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will be released this December in a format known as HFR 3D. Director Peter Jackson increased the frame rate from the usual 24 in an attempt to reduce the ‘judder’ effect seen during panning and fast motion shots in 3D movies. However, preview audiences gave a mixed response, with some complaining it looked ‘too real’ and more akin to the look of video. Even Peter Jackson has admitted "It does take you a while to get used to."
In the factsheet, Regal Cinemas writes “The innovative picture format presents the picture in 48 frames per second which is closer to what the human eye actually sees….With the support of select theatres, HFR 3D represents a technological advancement in the motion picture experience. We hope you will enjoy HFR 3D for yourself, or enjoy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in any format you choose including 2D, 3D, IMAX and IMAX 3D.”
For the “Why do it?” question, the response is: “This additional motion picture format provides another option in the movie theatre for each consumer’s taste. Peter Jackson is pushing the boundaries of new filmmaking technologies on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and shot the film on HFR 3D, so it is being released on that format in addition to traditional formats.”
They confirm that the 48fps version will only be available in 3D and that The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: There and Back Again will also be released in the format.
There have been many attempts over the years to increase the frame rate of movies, in a similar way to how there have been several attemnpts to make 3D movies mainstream. It has been 85 years since the first 24fps movies and yet, movie goers are generally happy with the 'film-look', perhpas because it makes what happens on screen look less real and more glamourous. Many television video productions go through a grading process to closely match the appearance of film, including adding a slight 'judder' to the image.
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James Cameron will be filming the two Avatar sequels at 60fps, a standard first trialled by Director and Special Effects Supervisor Douglas Trumbell under the name Showscan in the late 70's/early 80's. When shown to audiences, he found that, as the frame rate increased, so did the viewer's emotional reaction, through biometric testing. The 1983 feature film Brainstorm was intended to be the first Showscan film, but plans fell through and since then, Showscan has been used mostly for short ride films.
Read the Regal Cinemas full High Frame Rate 3D Factsheet here.
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