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Lord of the Rings Movies Technology

The Hobbit Filming at 48fps 423

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the why-stop-there dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Peter Jackson has announced via his Facebook page that The Hobbit is being shot at 48 frames per second, ameliorating the '3D headaches' that many viewers have complained of in the last few boom-years for the format. Film has been shot and projected at 24fps since the 1920s, with the exception of Douglas Trumbull's 60fps 'ShowScan' format, used for the Universal Back To The Future ride, amongst others. Jackson himself predicts that the widespread adoption of 48fps workflow could not only improve the 3D but also the general cinematic experience, though it may earn itself some backward-looking critics. But until digital principal photography completely usurps celluloid, this may be good news for Kodak, who now have even more reason to lament the death of Stanley Kubrick."
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The Hobbit Filming at 48fps

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  • by kevinmenzel (1403457) <kevinmenzel@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:26PM (#35798730)
    Wait what? I'm not getting headaches because of the frame rate... People get headaches at 60FPS on their computers... if anything, this will result in a film that looks unnaturally smooth to a movie going audience... essentially adding a distraction for the 2D viewers while not fixing anything for 3D viewers...
    • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:29PM (#35798782)

      ... if anything, this will result in a film that looks unnaturally smooth to a movie going audience... essentially adding a distraction for the 2D viewers while not fixing anything for 3D viewers...

      That's why I never go outside. And when I stay inside, I insist on strobe lighting.

      • by sznupi (719324)
        You joke, but with all the hiccups of our visual system (why it should be the part of our minds resistant to cognitive biases, etc., considering how crazily widespread they are in other parts?)... it can be actually beneficial to strobe [wikipedia.org] the image in some circumstances.
        • Read that wikipedia link again, the strobing backlight corrects for an artifact of LCD technology, not our visual system.

          • by sznupi (719324)
            How, exactly, do you delineate what is an artifact of what in the case of devices used only with our visual system?
            • The pixel remains lit (saying "the pixel remains lit" is a simplification, I know, but irrelevant to the discussion) after it's supposed to. The output does not match the signal, therefore the artifact is on the LCD panel.

              What sort of blurry reality do you live in that you can't make that kind of distinction?

              • by sznupi (719324)
                The sort of blurry reality described by above wiki art and its refs, listing more than one &most simplistic cause for the effect... (which you even misunderstood if you took it as "...after it's supposed to")
      • by gilleain (1310105)

        ... if anything, this will result in a film that looks unnaturally smooth to a movie going audience... essentially adding a distraction for the 2D viewers while not fixing anything for 3D viewers...

        That's why I never go outside. And when I stay inside, I insist on strobe lighting.

        Out into the big room, with the green carpet, and blue ceiling? Never!

        • I like the green carpet and blue ceiling. It's the crazy big light bulb that I dislike.
          • by DRJlaw (946416)

            That's why I never go outside. And when I stay inside, I insist on strobe lighting.

            Out into the big room, with the green carpet, and blue ceiling? Never!

            I like the green carpet and blue ceiling. It's the crazy big light bulb that I dislike.

            Bah! The crazy big lightbulb is regular as clockwork and generally provides good illumination. It's the crazy HVAC system which sporadically tries to kill you that I dislike.

        • by Jeremi (14640)

          Out into the big room, with the green carpet, and blue ceiling? Never!

          Agreed -- I can't stand the WinXP desktop background either.

      • i wear a spinning fan hat with pieces of alternating polarizing film attached at the end to make a spinning cylinder around me. I walk outside with my 3d glasses and I really get the full effect.

    • by jonescb (1888008)

      Headaches from viewing 3D videos are caused by flickering on the screen. Just like with computer monitors, upping the refresh rate results in less flicker. I don't know of any cases where headaches are caused by the image that pops out of the screen.

      • Really? You aren't aware that there are problems with focal depth and motion-parallax using our current 3D technology in theatres? Also - flicker on a computer monitor is different - on a CRT monitor you are depending on the persistance of phosphers to maintain the illusion of an image, while what is really occuring is that a single point is being lit at any time. Film is different - the entire image is being displayed at once on a screen, and the light flickers in order so that the frame is lit when it is
      • There seems to be a lot of stuff with 3d movies that would cause headaches. Bad directorial decisions to use depth of field, arbitrary depths that don't match our learned perception of depth, dual images separated by a one size fits all viewpoint offset that doesn't closely match the viewer's eyes, even poorly fitting glasses. until there's some kind of true holographic display, or something that can match your biometrics and produce an image just for you, it's probably always going to be problematic.
      • by Runefox (905204)

        Headaches from viewing 3D videos are caused by flickering on the screen.

        Not entirely. It's also a result of your eyes focusing in ways that they don't naturally focus, sort of how you're supposed to focus in a strange way to view a magic eye puzzle.

        Just like with computer monitors, upping the refresh rate results in less flicker

        Except refresh rate != Frame rate. While I'm not exactly up on industry projectors, I'm fairly sure that 3D projectors are much faster in terms of refresh rate, particularly since 2

    • by dstyle5 (702493)
      While watching Avatar in Imax 3D there were several times, especially during the live action scenes with a lot of camera movement within the scene, where I noticed strobing. I didn't give me a headache but it was definitely noticeable. On the weekend at a friends we were checking out his new big screen TV, which he demoed with Avatar and many of my friends commented how they liked the 2D experience better than 3D in the theater. I think increasing the frame rate has a good chance of improving the 3D expe
    • by mmell (832646)
      Um, er, uh . . . so reality is projected at 24FPS? I don't know about you, but my reality is projected at 3.1x10^43FPS.

      Look, all you need to do with sight and sound is be sure to exceed the human perceptual threshold. Persistence of vision (the concept, not the software) makes 24FPS fine, but when you do 3D with LCD glasses that ends up being 12FPS/eye. The brain still manages to 'see' continuous motion, but possibly still perceives on some level that something is wrong.

      Then again, it may be the disagr

    • The extra charge for 3D is the real headache. I'm now seeing far less movies.

  • by jmcbain (1233044) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:28PM (#35798760)
    I'm glad he's shooting at a faster rate. The last movies were over 3 hours. Now I can watch them in about one and half hours.
  • by Lucas123 (935744)
    That's two times the number of frames per second as they used in Steamboat Willie. How far we've come!
    • That's two times the number of frames per second as they used in Steamboat Willie. How far we've come!

      I was thinking that if we went to 600 fps, it would pull down nicely without need for frame-rate or audio tricks to cinematic 24fps and also PAL and NTSC for TV and video release. Then every director would use almost as much film as Kubrick.

    • Funny you mention that, because Steamboat Willie is animated "on twos", which is to say every the film consists of pairs of identical frames. Since the film runs at 24fps, the cartoon is effectively 12fps.

      The majority of hand animation has been done "on twos", with the occasional fast-moving object getting full 24fps treatment. Older and/or cheaper productions, and those meant for higher frame rates like PAL or NTSC, can be drawn on threes, fours, etc—so the frame rate of the content ends up being f

  • It won't help (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peragrin (659227) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:30PM (#35798808)

    Fake3D is still fake3D.

    i will still get headaches while watching and I will still not see a single special 3D effect. the movie will appear dim or over saturated trying to correct the color balance caused by wearing sunglasses indoors against a dark room.

    There are some things you just can't fix as they are broken by design. Fake3D is one of them. Please Hollywood give it up, and just dump the money into hologram research.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      You keep saying fake3d, because everyone listen to a whiny pendant.

      If you want to be a pendant, at least be good about it.
      All movies are 3d. Height, width, and Time..bitch.

      • You keep saying fake3d, because everyone listen to a whiny pendant.

        If you want to be a pendant, at least be good about it. All movies are 3d. Height, width, and Time..bitch.

        You keep calling the parent a pendant. Do you see him hanging from a necklace? It would have to be pretty big to hold all that weight...

      • by peragrin (659227)

        No i am just getting tired of people going ooh ahh it is so awesome when in reality it means that 45 million americans will never see one of those effects.

        We aren't all the same, eyes are slightly different widths, focusing works slightly differently, etc, etc.

        they can't fix current 3D tech no matter how hard they try because your looking at a 2D surface and trying to resolve a physical depth for something that isn't there. So the focal point won't shift right and people won't like it.

        To me Avatar and Tron

    • by hedwards (940851)

      You do realize that it really depends a great deal on how the 3D is accomplished, right? Apart from the cost and logistics of it, a system where you're eyes are seeing different images simultaneously would be indistinguishable from the real thing. You're eyes don't have any way of knowing whether they're seeing the same object or two similar images.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Except for focus and depth of field -- if 3D movies were to *really* be indistinguishable for the 3D world our eyes are used to, we'd be able to focus on elements in the background or foreground. The headaches in 3D movies are because the director is dragging our lenses' focus around against our will, something we're not accustomed to.

    • Then stay home and stop whining.
    • by KalvinB (205500)

      Feel free to watch the film in 2D then. Those of us (possibly two, even three maybe) who like the 3D experience will pay the extra to do so.

      I've yet to see a 3D film released exclusively in 3D.

    • by aibrahim (59031)

      /sigh/

      Look, first off its actual two camera 3D, not the rejiggered post only 3D, which I abhor.

      (And a big thank you to Mr. Lucas for bringing post-3D to Star Wars films. The only good that can come of that is that perhaps everyone will finally get the idea that it just can't be done well- if ILM and Lucas can't pull it off it can't be done. Of course, I am always willing to be surprised.)

      In any case what you call "Fake3D" works very much like your eyes do during photography.

      Holography may be the way of the

    • by tgd (2822)

      The fact that you have a neurological issue doesn't invalidate the techology for the 99% of the population that has no problem with it.

      I like stairs. The fact that there are some people in wheelchairs doesn't mean I should have to stick to elevators.

  • Not the problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by proslack (797189) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:34PM (#35798858) Journal
    It isn't the frame rate that's going to be the problem with The Hobbit, it's Peter Jackson's altering Tolkien's story and characters.
    • Re:Not the problem (Score:5, Insightful)

      by glwtta (532858) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @06:05PM (#35800152) Homepage
      It isn't the frame rate that's going to be the problem with The Hobbit, it's Peter Jackson's altering Tolkien's story and characters.

      No, the real problem is going to be ceaseless whining from Tolkien nerds. Preemptive whining, in some cases.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by w0mprat (1317953)

      It isn't the frame rate that's going to be the problem with The Hobbit, it's Peter Jackson's altering Tolkien's story and characters.

      Lets face it, if it was true to the book then people would have walked out of the cinema in the first 20 minutes.

      The real problem was Tolkien was not actually a good writer by many definitions and had a head full of wierd catholic patriachal moral absolutism which showed in his writing amongst it's many flaws. In fact in places his writing is rather cringeworthy (when I first read his work I had to struggle not to throw the book accross the room) and he has been easy pickings for many a literary critic o

      • by Bob-taro (996889)

        It isn't the frame rate that's going to be the problem with The Hobbit, it's Peter Jackson's altering Tolkien's story and characters.

        Lets face it, if it was true to the book then people would have walked out of the cinema in the first 20 minutes. The real problem was Tolkien was not actually a good writer by many definitions and had a head full of wierd catholic patriachal moral absolutism which showed in his writing amongst it's many flaws. In fact in places his writing is rather cringeworthy (when I first read his work I had to struggle not to throw the book accross the room) and he has been easy pickings for many a literary critic over the years. What worked however was his world building was epic. Peter Jackson had to do a carefully considered rework of the dialog, plot, characters to make anything near an acceptable 21st century story, and to have a hope in hell of keeping people seated for 3 hours. He even included actual females, the gender Tolkien didn't seem to acknowledge existed let alone could have anything to do with events in his world. Tolkien fans will mod me down, go right ahead, but many won't, many knew PJ did what he had to do.

        I've heard his writing criticized for being wordy and over-descriptive, but "catholic patriachal[sic] moral absolutism"? You mean he's a bad writer because you disagree with his world view? If he does believe that way, and he communicated that idea to you through his writing, I think that makes him a good writer. I personally didn't like some of the story changes Jackson did for the movie, but I do understand the need to sell tickets. E.g., the part about Tom Bombadil was interesting in a book, but in a

  • 3d make the whole movie experience unbearable. Any more, most people I know won't go to the movie if it is not shown in 2D.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:38PM (#35798938) Homepage

    James Cameron wanted to do Avatar at 48FPS. Avatar II, or whatever, will be. He's been pushing 48FPS for a while. [latimes.com]

    It's about time; 24FPS is way too slow. A big problem with 24FPS is that pans over detailed backgrounds have strobing effects unless the pan is very slow. Sometimes blur is inserted to mask this, either in camera or in post. Cameron likes richly detailed backgrounds ("Titanic", etc.), and this limitation has annoyed him.

    Cameron will use higher frame rates well. He's used 3D well. Other directors, probably not so much.

    • by gilesjuk (604902)

      Longer 3D render times, more frames to render. Not to mention Blu-ray and other devices won't support this frame rate.

    • by jfengel (409917) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @05:24PM (#35799610) Homepage Journal

      At 60fps, things look very different than at 24fps. It looks great in short clips, very "real", but it rapidly takes on a hyperrealistic feeling. I assume it's just from me being accustomed to 24fps; it's what a movie "should" feel like.

      I suspect that they're going to have to develop a new cinematography around 48fps, much as they have to for 3D. They're still working on the latter, but Cameron got awfully close in Avatar; a few shots I really didn't like, but it generally enhanced rather than detracted.

      Finding the right lighting/lenses/aperture etc. for 48fps will probably take a bit of work, but Jackson seems to have a strong visual feel and will be able to figure it out. It should be easier than the shift required for 3D cinematography.

  • by JSBiff (87824) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:39PM (#35798958) Journal

    24 fps is really just, warmer, you know. You can really see the difference, and the 24fps just looks better, to my eyes anyhow. BTW, I am so glad I bought the Monster Video cables - my DVD bits have so much less signal degradation with them.

    • by Twinbee (767046)

      24fps is often terrible for fast motion. But I would think the thing you like about 24fps (the motion blur), can be done with 48fps (where the blur is carried out over 2 frames instead of 1 as before, to allow for the same amount of blurring time overall), so you have the nice smooth 48fps frame rate and the 'strange/unreal/cool' motion blur effect. Everyone's happy.

    • People have become accustomed to 24fps as being "cinematic" and often don't like higher frame rates. Panasonic and some other companies have new AVCHD cams that shoot at 1080 60p if you want them to. It produces beautiful, fluid, video that gives very realistic motion. However some people hate on it. They say it looks "fake" or "like a soap opera." They want stuff that looks more like a movie, so the cameras will also shoot 24p if asked to.

      This is going to be a problem as we get higher frame rates. People w

  • imax & imax dome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bradgoodman (964302) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:40PM (#35798962) Homepage
    On particularly large screens - the relatively "slow" frame-rates used today are quite troublesome. For example, say your shooting video out of a front of a plane on an imax dome screen. When the plane banks - even if it does relatively slowly - since the screen is so large, you see a lot of "jumpiness" - as there may be several *feet* in real-world on-screen distance between an object's position in one frame vs. another. I've been complaining about this for years. It would be nice to see higher frame rates in formats like this.
    • by xMrFishx (1956084)
      I'm glad it's not just me that notices that too. I see jumpiness on quite a few films I watch but didn't quite do the whole 2+2 thing. I tended to blame quality/compression (yes itunes movies, your bitrate is terrible), though bitrate is a function of framerate right? So yeah, I'm all for higher framerates if it means I don't sit there going "grrr smoother panning please".
  • Movies now seem to always be in a struggle between proper motion blur (exposing a frame for as close as possible to the full 1/24 second duration) and HD sharpness (by reducing exposure time). Sharpness has been winning out a lot lately -- the amount of temporal information is just crap in so many movies today. A higher frame rate will do wonders to produce both fluid AND sharp video.

    I only wonder how long it will take for theaters to upgrade their equipment. I understand it's quite expensive.

    • by amorsen (7485)

      I only wonder how long it will take for theaters to upgrade their equipment. I understand it's quite expensive.

      Theatres have mostly made the digital switch by now. Doubling frame rate in a digital setup should not cost much, if anything.

  • I hope this takes off. I have always wanted higher FPS in movies, even regular 2D films it just isn't enough. An object will not look like it is in fluid motion unless there is overlap between where it was in the first frame, and where it was in the next frame. At 24fps you can lose this.

    The problem is especially visible in action scenes and scenes with high parallax. For example, I have watched scenes that pan horizontally across a wide field. The trees and grass in the foreground look like stop motio

  • what is jackson thinking? is he going to have a shark swim at the screen?

    oh, wait - maybe a large flying dragon fly at the screen....
    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      3d is hollywood's latest gimmick, plus they've support from electronics manufacturers who are trying to push 3d tv's since most people have at least 720 HDTVs these days and their sales are finally starting to drop off to what they should be.
  • by Twinbee (767046) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:52PM (#35799138) Homepage

    I'm glad that film-makers are finally beginning to realize the video world doesn't start and end at 24fps. That particular limit is pretty arbitrary and terrible for fast/smooth motion where higher frame rates are needed. Real life (TM) is actually infinite FPS of course, so things will only be more realistic, not less.

    Maybe we can all switch to a standard like 60fps, 120fps or or even better 240fps, and our monitors can adjust too. We'd cure flicker or blurry motion (CRT/LCD respectively), general motion smoothness, and even sometimes input lag, all in one sweep. Finally we'd all have a universal framerate which everything can adhere to.

    • by Reeses (5069)

      24 fps isn't arbitrary. It's the result of a lot of research.

      It's the minimum number of frames that trick 99.9% of people into seeing a constant image on screen.

      Slower rates result in flicker.

      Higher rates, on 1920's technology, were progressively prohibitively expensive.

      48 Fps is great. It's roughly half the maximum frame rate of we can see (the optic nerve refreshes at approximately 100Hz).

      We'll get too 100fps soon. Anything over that isn't worth it.

      This doesn't apply to LCD TVs and what not.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      You have to draw the line somewhere, going from 24 to 48 fps doubles the number of pixels that are present in uncompressed footage, going from there up to 120 or higher doesn't necessarily make much sense, you hit the point of diminishing returns pretty quickly.

  • Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WiglyWorm (1139035) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:55PM (#35799188) Homepage

    The hobbit is being filmed in 3d? Ugh...

    3d is a gimmic and it is helping to further ruin cinamatography. There are very few exceptions.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsoScA4_wWA#t=6m30s [youtube.com] Monty Python. "This room is surrounded by film!"
  • If you film at 240 fps, you can factor it down to 120, 60, 48, 30, and 24 fps, and everyone gets a "native" copy for their preferred viewing platform.

    Yes, it's a metric assload of data, but what's a few hard drives compared to the cost of a day's shooting or a minute's CGI compositing?

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