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48p The Hobbit - British and American critics verdict

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[url="http://www.eoshd.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Cate-Blanchett-The-Hobbit.jpg"][img]http://www.eoshd.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Cate-Blanchett-The-Hobbit.jpg[/img][/url]

Above: Cate Blanchett receives some all-too-real makeup on the set of The Hobbit

Peter Jackson shot The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at 48 frames per second (HFR) in 3D. So what is the verdict on HFR technology... More immersive? Helps the story? More beautiful?

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Wow.  

 

My initial response is, "duh," since this is exactly what I expected the end result to be at first reading Jackson's foolish techno-weenie goals for the picture.  It's not like he's really breaking new ground here, just re-discovering, for a fortune more money spent, what other people have known for decades.  

 

Shoot 35mm film at 48fps and you instantly make it look like a teleplay and not cinema.  It looks like well shot TV, not like a movie.  Now combine this effect with the often unforgiving, discrete and clinical look of digital and he figured out how to cheapen the work of every craftsman employed on the film.  

 

News anchors, of all people, were able to recognize this and complained about this after seeing the first demonstrations of HD technology BACK IN THE 1980s!  Just watch an episode of Face-Off on SciFi channel, Pete, prosthetic and set craft have not kept pace with directors that have more money than taste.  

 

My only guess is these guys are just hoping one of these days people just won't be able to tell the difference between something that looks good and something that doesn't (or just not care).  Just like them.

 

 

edit: it's worth noting, you can achieve similar "video-y" looking imagery by shooting 24fps film with a higher than normal shutter speed.  Shoot 48+fps and then decimate (remove frames, no blending, not slo-mo) to play back at 24fps with consistent timing and the "video" look is retained, even at 24fps.  This happens all the time in movies and TV series shot with otherwise cinematic looking 24fps digital cameras when they shutter for practicals.

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The TV comparison comes up a lot.

 

"It looks like TV" not cinema. Is this a learned thing or are people really saying "It looks cheap and not artistic"?

 

If there's an inherent aesthetic flaw here in 48p surely Peter Jackson, with his eye, would have spotted it way before it got on a cinema set.

 

I do wonder that if the costume and prop departments could raise their game even further, and with the right material, that 48p 4K in 3D could be a winner. I just don't think this epic fantasy production is well suited to it.

 

All those silly beards...

 

What about a thriller set in a hyper real-life location where you feel like you are there?

 

The intention of The Hobbit was to make you feel like you're in Middle Earth. If the result is that you feel like you're on a set, than make the set less like a set and more real.

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Since  the costume and prop departments working on The Hobbit are the top of the cream and already did their very best, i guess it is safe to assume that 48fps is just too challenging for Fantasy movies...

 

Remembering some the excellent BTS series online, i couldn't count how many times you hear the make-up/set artists (discretely) complain about 48fps and the need to do everything more in red (somehow because the camera)

 

I agree with Andrew, i think an hyper-real life thriller would be awesome!

"super-realistic" and truely immersive movie could be a new trend, kind of The end of Watch (i haven't seen it , just mentioning the genre)

[url="http://cinescopophilia.com/cameras-used-in-the-end-of-watch-movie/"]http://cinescopophilia.com/cameras-used-in-the-end-of-watch-movie/[/url]

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The TV comparison comes up a lot.

 

"It looks like TV" not cinema. Is this a learned thing or are people really saying "It looks cheap and not artistic"?

 

If there's an inherent aesthetic flaw here in 48p surely Peter Jackson, with his eye, would have spotted it way before it got on a cinema set.

 

I do wonder that if the costume and prop departments could raise their game even further, and with the right material, that 48p 4K in 3D could be a winner. I just don't think this epic fantasy production is well suited to it.

 

All those silly beards...

 

What about a thriller set in a hyper real-life location where you feel like you are there?

 

The intention of The Hobbit was to make you feel like you're in Middle Earth. If the result is that you feel like you're on a set, than make the set less like a set and more real.

Here comes another Judge Dredd!! That has invented the way the wheel spins with his good old 24p from his camcorder/dslr. And that's without watching the film... More money than taste? ... after a trilogy like LOTR? We are lucky that we have a very small bunch of directors doing blockbusters that we can consider cinema, and Jackson is clearly one of them. It's so easy to criticize the work or vision of others, and usually only amateurs have that attitude, cuz they don't know what it is like to be out there in the real. With a bit of humbleness towards others work (any creator) maybe one day you could discover or understand there vision.

PS- I've always loved the 24p look...

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I think we shouldn't decide if 48p is better or worse than 24p because we are already biased. Viewing habits are constantly changeing and what we consider "beautiful" or "cinematic" could be "cheap and soft" in the eyes of the next generations. They should show the movie  or parts of the movie, to kids and ask them what they think about the look ;)

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I think we shouldn't decide if 48p is better or worse than 24p because we are already biased. Viewing habits are constantly changeing and what we consider "beautiful" or "cinematic" could be "cheap and soft" in the eyes of the next generations. They should show the movie  or parts of the movie, to kids and ask them what they think about the look ;)

I really hope this is not the case and that beauty has a universal appeal through the generations. I consider the Mona Lisa more beautiful than a TV soap opera for instance.

 

So I don't agree with your point!

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The TV comparison comes up a lot.

 

"It looks like TV" not cinema. Is this a learned thing or are people really saying "It looks cheap and not artistic"?

 

If there's an inherent aesthetic flaw here in 48p surely Peter Jackson, with his eye, would have spotted it way before it got on a cinema set.

 

 

 

The "TV" reaction is a simplified reaction to a complex sum of visual cues and years of experience, for some, with virtually no aesthetic commonality between television and motion picture production.  If a journalist in an even mildly technical publication were to describe the issue as sensitivity to temporal sampling they'd lose 99% of their readers, assuming they had any idea what that meant.  Most journalists, even those working for technical publications, know absolutely nothing about the subjects they routinely write about.  Not even enough to be "dangerous".

 

Whether Peter Jackson has an eye at all or ever did is something debatable.  His first three films in this series were drab and clinical looking.  He's not magic though.  48FPS and higher, for narrative, was proven a failure decades ago by Douglas Trumbull (ShowScan).  He's not the only one, just the most prominent, most disappointing and most well known example to reference.  And he was shooting on film, where you could still count on some magic in the emulsion and glass and printing.  

 

High frame rates were proven a long time ago to be best applied to novelty, not narrative.  Theme parks, not the motion picture theatre.  Current generations of viewers raised on NVIDIA and ATI will provide a more willing audience than before, however.

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"plasticine images" ... compels me to run out and see it. After all, plasticine images counjour up 'pastic', which invokes 'Kitch'... a dear favorite art genre of mine.

Bring on the PLASTICINE I say!

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I'm sorry but film is dead, 24fps is dead, digital is now and the future, 60-120 fps is now and the future. And that opens up so many more opportunities for competent and imaginative film makers.  :)

And whilst 1080p is now, 4k2k is the future, arriving some time around 2014.

And all these changes are going to require certain adjustments and re-learning of some things that have been taken for granted in the past.

No doubt The Hobbit has thrown up some of those issues. Since it was shot using Red Epics the 4k shoot, even when being shown at a conventional cinema, has enabled the artificial nature of some of the props to be much more obvious than is usually the case.

So that has to be adjusted for.

Such is the case for all new technologies.

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I'm sorry but film is dead, 24fps is dead, digital is now and the future, 60-120 fps is now and the future. And that opens up so many more opportunities for competent and imaginative film makers.  :)

 

 

[img]http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lvx9kwcREW1qfl94zo1_500.jpg[/img]

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I really hope this is not the case and that beauty has a universal appeal through the generations. I consider the Mona Lisa more beautiful than a TV soap opera for instance.

 

So I don't agree with your point!

 

So what exactly makes the Mona Lisa more beautiful than a soap opera?

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I don't want to judge why I tend to agree with the critics who are having a hard time with it, because I may see it and change my mind.  I'm sure it's something that everyone will have to get used to...  If for the last 100 years we'd all been watching 48fps and suddenly somebody slows it down to 24, we'd probably have the same reaction...  It's different.  You're messing with a key ingredient in a huge part of our culture.

 

When all of this talk about the Hobbit being shot at double the frame rate started going around, the first thing I saw in my head was a Middle Earth home video that just looked cheesy as hell.  Just another ploy to "change" things...which I'm all for innovation, but part of what I think makes 24fps work in cinema is how slow it is.  Really, go up just 6 frames to 30, and it takes on a new character.  Part of the magic of that slow frame rate is the disconnection it creates for the viewer...  They watch films to get "lost" in the story.  I'm trying to develop this into words but it's hard to explain why it just "works." 

 

I'm not saying a great story can't be enjoyed at a higher frame rate.  If immersion is the goal, then it should be fine.  Just seems like everyone is saying it's all drawing attention to itself.  It's a bold scenario to try though...  In Indiana where I am, only ONE theater in the whole state is showing it at 48fps...the other 1,000 or so the usual 24.  Which begs the question, what's the damn point? 

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Honestly this one smelled from a long distance. 48fps was enough to keep me away, but having a Hobbit book made into three 3 hour movies, that's just too much for me, I can tell you straight away they'll be boring, especially the middle one, but still I hope I'm wrong, or it's such a waste.

I'm not against new technologies for the sake of it, but seriously, did it have to be tested in a film this big? Probably yes, as a smaller production would never have the power to convince theaters to display it in 48fpa and 4k.

But still I can't help but see it as such a waste. These films are VFX heavy, and VFX houses already struggle with the render times required to complete projects of this scale at 2k resolution. These films will require 8x the rendering power, as each frame is 4x bigger and there's twice as many. That's huge! And then you can double that for stereo, we're talking about 16x the rendering times of the VFX work on LOTR, and all the work needs to be more detailed so it holds up well in such detail, that's no easy feat, and apparently such a waste now that the reviews confirm what seemed so obvious all along.

Just turn smoothmotion on on your TVs, it renders any film horrible, and that's what I expect from this. I don't disregard the technology though, as it could be great for video games, etc, but there's one reason film stayed at 24fps.

Many people associate it with digital and the future, but the fact is that we could have had 48fps on film many years ago if it looked any better, I guess in the end blockbusters will always be looking for some kind of gimmick to get people out of their sofas.

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Honestly this one smelled from a long distance. 48fps was enough to keep me away, but having a Hobbit book made into three 3 hour movies, that's just too much for me, I can tell you straight away they'll be boring, especially the middle one, but still I hope I'm wrong, or it's such a waste.

I'm not against new technologies for the sake of it, but seriously, did it have to be tested in a film this big? Probably yes, as a smaller production would never have the power to convince theaters to display it in 48fpa and 4k.

But still I can't help but see it as such a waste. These films are VFX heavy, and VFX houses already struggle with the render times required to complete projects of this scale at 2k resolution. These films will require 8x the rendering power, as each frame is 4x bigger and there's twice as many. That's huge! And then you can double that for stereo, we're talking about 16x the rendering times of the VFX work on LOTR, and all the work needs to be more detailed so it holds up well in such detail, that's no easy feat, and apparently such a waste now that the reviews confirm what seemed so obvious all along.

Just turn smoothmotion on on your TVs, it renders any film horrible, and that's what I expect from this. I don't disregard the technology though, as it could be great for video games, etc, but there's one reason film stayed at 24fps.

Many people associate it with digital and the future, but the fact is that we could have had 48fps on film many years ago if it looked any better, I guess in the end blockbusters will always be looking for some kind of gimmick to get people out of their sofas.

I agree, however I think it is only being made into 2 movies

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It became a trilogy a few weeks ago :)
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Just turn smoothmotion on on your TVs, it renders any film horrible, and that's what I expect from this. I don't disregard the technology though, as it could be great for video games, etc, but there's one reason film stayed at 24fps.

Many people associate it with digital and the future, but the fact is that we could have had 48fps on film many years ago if it looked any better, I guess in the end blockbusters will always be looking for some kind of gimmick to get people out of their sofas.

The reasons films stayed at 24fps were 1)tradition and 2) expense of film stock. 

This is really nothing like smoothmotion, where a processor in the TV is trying to turn footage with the motion blur and visual characteristics of 24p an artificial high frame rate look in real time. Here, the footage will hold very different visual characteristics. 

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Actually, no, it's not that different.  In fact the threshold where it stops making much of a difference is in the 48fps-60fps range, at that point the human brain is processing the incoming visual information as if it were watching something that's actually happening, live.  This isn't the case with 24fps cinema at a 1/48th-1/50th shutter speed.

 

This isn't merely an issue of culture or what we're used to or economics.  This involves fundamental ways the human brain and our vision works together, influencing how we interpret what we're seeing.  It's science and the science has already been done (see: Douglas Trumbull).  

 

There are no surprises to be had here.  None.  Not one *.

 

 

 

*-except maybe why Peter Jackson doesn't know more than your average person about his job, the film industry and stuff involving movie cameras that was figured out in the early 1980s.

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So i guess the image appears to look interlaced?, 50hz,  like Eastenders (still shot interlaced 50hz) But without interlace artifacts.

I also see the same look when i shoot 50fps on my 7D and play it back at normal speed, 50fps on the camera monitor.

hhmmmm?

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It's all about the "suspension of disbelief." We have been, through years— generations even— of exposure to 24fps films, that we should suspend our disbelief when we experience the magic of narrative cinema at this frame rate. The phenomenon of persistence of vision takes at least 24fps to occur in a fiction film. (Below that rate, the image is too jumpy to be believable.) If you've ever shot 8mm film at 18fps, you know that you can make an image (and save film!), but the result is not believable as a narrative film; it's just too jumpy. Funny thing, at 24fps with a 180 degree shutter, the audience in a film-projected theater is actually sitting more in darkness than in light! Persistence of vision in the brain joins these images into a stream.

 

So, 48fps approaches 30fps, interlaced television. Think: sporting event! Do you want to see a fictional story that presents an image that looks like interlaced, U.S. television coverage of a football game? This is a question that can only be answered by the individual.

 

Reserve judgement. See it for yourself, then decide. No matter what we, working professionals, think of 48fps projection, whether or not it survives is out of our hands. Audiences will vote with their wallets.

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So you guys haven't seen it for yourself have you? Remember what critics said about "Fellowship of the Ring" during release? Stuff like this:

 

"It's full of scenic splendors with a fine sense of scale, but its narrative thrust seems relatively pro forma, and I was bored by the battle scenes."

 

"Everyone on screen is all exercised about the mission, but after three hours it's hard to see why anyone in the audience should be."
 
"Tolkien completists won't find any of this overkill, but for those uninitiates among us, less is more is still a dictum worth heeding."
 
"The only thing worse than a bad movie that thinks it is good is a three hour long bad movie that thinks it is good."
 
"It's a collection of spectacular set pieces without any sense of momentum driving them into one another. The damn thing just goes on and on."
 
"It is remarkably well made . . . too bad it wasn't equally entertaining."
 
"The sights are ga-ga, but the storytelling gets fairly turgid."
 
"Maybe it's too early to criticize the trilogy when we're just getting started. However, if this signals the direction the series is going to go, I'm not sure if I care to find out what happens"
 
...
 
And in the end, "Fellowship" is still the best LotR film.
 
So before throwing stones around maybe consider seeing the film for yourselves?

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Actually, no, it's not that different.  In fact the threshold where it stops making much of a difference is in the 48fps-60fps range, at that point the human brain is processing the incoming visual information as if it were watching something that's actually happening, live.  This isn't the case with 24fps cinema at a 1/48th-1/50th shutter speed.

 

Yeah well no. That's complete horseshit. Human eye sees things quite different, there is no fixed FPS. For example, if you switch from a 60hz LCD panel into a 120hz you will immediately notice a much smoother mouse. When you move a white high contrast object around (like a mouse pointer) it's quite easy to spot differences especially if you track the object with your eye. When you watch a 3d film and an object moves closer to the eye, it can be quite straining to follow it in 24 fps as it flickers around. In 2d it is easier.

 

So there are a lot of variables. Contrast, motion blur, 2d/3d, all contribute to "smoothness." Gamers know this. Apparently filmmakers are still finding out. Yes, it's more "artistic" when everything judders and the screen of full of anamorphic lensflares. But it's not "better" or "worse". It's different.

 

48fps DOES FIX a lot of the problems with 3d. Ghosting, judders, hard to focus areas. Those are all gone. Side-effect is that everything will look too real. That is something that filmmakers will have to address. Maybe add some grain?

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LOL, no, gamers who think like this don't even know what they don't know.   What you just said was a bunch of nonsense.

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Here's an experiment I want everyone to go try:

 

Take your DSLR, turn it to 60fps heck even 30ps, shoot an average exterior scene with people walking on the street. Then try that with 24fps in the same scenario. You start seeing the jarring effects something so simple can have on an overall quality of the look. The reason why I mention to try it yourself is because then you'd noticed how much an improvement a "drawback" like 24fps can have on your image. Your eyes see faster then 24fps, not to mention its the standard for cinema, unless its used to portray a sense of realism or to have an "effect."

 

Here's a good example, you can sense it feels "realistic" and not filmic, but having that really impacts the effect of the scene. Cant tell, but seems to be shot at 30fps and post convert to 24fps, but the point is still valid on the feel of "realism/videoy" 

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgDd6dLn6ZU"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgDd6dLn6ZU[/url]

 

With that sense of "realism" it has more of an impact on the overall story.

 

Much of the drawback that film has introduced is what made film so damn magical, perfect isn't always the best solution and sometime you just need the bare bone essentials. Remember im referring to the image quality, NOT THE STORY TELLING! (Alot of people are too daft to know the difference or the importance on both). Then again maybe that was Peter Jackson's intent on having it look like that. For me its an issue when props look like props, and when I'm looking at Ian McKellens contacts lenses rather then actually listening to what his characters is saying or his performance. Thats not to say I wont enjoy the movie but having things stick out like that can take me out of the movie, I think even having a good prop artist or makeup artist wont help in some of these cases.

 

Im all for pushing technology, but you need to use that technology correctly, I do give Peter Jackson alot of respect for daring this style of film making, but then to have Warner Bro. take note at the feedback and cutting the list of theaters actually showing it in 48fps, in my town its only showing it in one theater! Bad or good the 48fps is, Im still going to see it because I respect Peter Jackson as a film maker myself still starting out.

 

Now this is just speculation that depends on variable viewers tastes, Im going to find out at the midnight showing in my town, but I'm sure the complaints are real complaints though. Actually Andrew, It would be awesome to have a "People who've seen it" forum post their feedback, because I'd like to know what everyone else thinks.

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I would assume the production value of the sets, make up and costumes is very high on this film if not among the best of the industry.

And we all now how good weta is at cgi.

So I guess if there is anything to blame on the "tv look" it has everything to do with the frame rate and nothing else.

 

Also I'm not sure it is something "we will get used to".

Because I don't think tv will lower frame rates or lose oversharp hd pictures anytime soon so anything that looks like that will look like tv to us.

 

I need to see it for myself to make judgment but just because it's new doesn't mean it is better.

Have to give credit to Peter Jackson for trying new things and trying to make the craft evolve though.

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