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Lord of the Rings Movies Entertainment

The Hobbit's Higher Frame Rate To Cost Theater Operators 710

Posted by samzenpus
from the playing-catch-up dept.
kodiaktau writes "Film makers keep touting increased frame per second rate as improving viewing and cinema experience, however the number of theaters who actually have the equipment that can play the higher rate film is limited. It makes me wonder if this is in the real interest of creating a better experience and art, or if it is a ploy by the media manufacturers to sell more expensive equipment and drive ticket prices up. From the article: 'Warner Bros. showed 10 minutes of 3D footage from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at 48 frames per second at CinemaCon earlier this year, and Jackson said in a videotaped message there that he hoped his movie could be played in 48fps in “as many cinemas as possible” when it opens in December. But exhibitors must pay the cost of the additional equipment, and some have wondered how much of a ticket premium they would charge to offset that cost.'"
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The Hobbit's Higher Frame Rate To Cost Theater Operators

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  • Awesome (Score:5, Informative)

    by dubl-u (51156) * <> on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:20PM (#40360887)

    I love this. They charge a premium for 3D that half of everybody hates. Now they'd like to charge another premium for 3D that will suck a bit less.

    I look forward to the next article bleating about the mysterious decline in box office attendance. What could it possibly be?

  • Along the same lines (Score:5, Informative)

    by afidel (530433) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:21PM (#40360905)
    Along the same lines was the announcement that by the end of next year the major studios plan to stop the distribution of film prints. How many screens are there that don't yet have digital projection equipment, hundreds of thousands? My personal fear is that the forced switch will cause a lot of smaller theaters to close, particularly the drive-in ones that I've just rediscovered with my kids recently.
  • by 0123456 (636235) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:34PM (#40361123)

    Uh, 24fps movies are usually shot with a 1/48 shutter speed. Since this was, I believe, shot on Red digital cameras, they presumably shot 48fps at 1/48 so dropping half the frames will give you the horrid stuttering film look you're used to.

  • Re:In other news (Score:4, Informative)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:41PM (#40361255)

    Yep. Next time you go to a store that has a bunch of TV's on display, go find one that has the 240fps interpolation turned on and watch it a bit. Instead of looking epic, it looks like behind-the-scenes footage.

    If that's not enough for you, try finding a few storiea about the Hobbit and the 48fps footage, you'll find comments like: "Day time soap opera."

  • Re:In other news (Score:4, Informative)

    by shellbeach (610559) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:44PM (#40361301)

    Just to check here: are you talking about watching films at the cinema, or films on/transferred from a Region 1 DVD? There are huge problems with transfering content from the cinema (24fps) to Region 1's NTSC format (30fps), as you might well imagine, and there's no way you're ever going to get a non-jerky pan when watching an NTSC-encoded DVD.

    (Personally, I've never found 24fps (or PAL format DVD transfers) to be at all jittery, but that might well be differences in perception ... I do, however, avoid NTSC format like the plague that it is.)

  • Re:Awesome (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:45PM (#40361315)

    This brings up an interesting point -- will I be able to see this in 48 fps *without* gimmicky 3D?

    Hobbit will be released in 4 formats: 2D & 3D, both in 24fps & 48fps.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:48PM (#40361373)

    What was the point of that?
    The universe is a 3D projection of a 2D surface? How does that impact those of us who are not stoned enough to think up that sort of bullshit?

  • Re:Awesome (Score:3, Informative)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:58PM (#40361499) Homepage Journal

    I love this. They charge a premium for 3D that half of everybody hates. Now they'd like to charge another premium for 3D that will suck a bit less.

    It doesn't have to be 3D for 48 fps to look better than 24 fps. Likewise, a 70 mm film size doesn't have to be 3D to look better than a 35 mm film. I saw the original Tron in 70 mm when I worked at Disney (and a week before anybody else, too!) and it was amazing how much more clear it was than the 35 mm films I'd seen previously. Likewise, doubling the frame rate is going to make action scenes far less blurry.

    They've been stuck with 24 fps because all that film isn't cheap, and 24 fps was about as slow as can be acceptable. With digital, I don't see how doubling the frame rate is going to cost the theaters much at all. Certainly not as much as when they went to widescreen format (which actually saved the movie producers money, because you could get more frames per meter of film, while the theater owners had to buy new lenses, which ARE expensive), or as much as 3D. If the theater is using digital projectors, the cost is likely the cost of a video card, if that.

    Even in theaters still using film (are there any?) all it would take would be doubling the reel speed and shutter speed, nothing else would have to be changed. I don't see this changing ticket prices, but I can see them using it as an excuse to raise ticket prices.

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Informative)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:07PM (#40361601)
    No. NTSC is fixed at 60 FIELDS per second. Being interlaced, that becomes 30 FRAMES per second. NTSC is the standard that has been used in the US from the beginning. In other countries you have PAL which is 50/25 fields/frames per second. []
  • Re:Awesome (Score:4, Informative)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:13PM (#40361681)

    Or let someone else do the lense swapping for you: []

  • Re:Not even 60 FPS (Score:4, Informative)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:17PM (#40361761)

    Film doesn't do 60FPS. You can only get rates like that using video, which is not the same thing as film.

    If I remember correctly the record for film frame rate is in the millions of frames per second, in special cameras designed for nuclear explosion analysis and similar high-speed events.

    And even fairly cheap movie cameras can hit around 100fps; I believe the Aaton we used a few years back topped out at 120fps. How do you think movies have shot slow-motion footage for the last century?

  • Re:Awesome (Score:4, Informative)

    by dubl-u (51156) * <> on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:49PM (#40362183)

    It already exists: []

    A friend who gets headaches loves these.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Informative)

    by realityimpaired (1668397) on Monday June 18, 2012 @03:02PM (#40362341)

    Back when they were actually using film, what allowed wide-screen in the first place was rotating the film 90 degrees as it passed through the camera... each frame could have an essentially arbitrary aspect ratio either way by increasing or decreasing the amount of film that was exposed with each frame, and by having it go sideways through the camera instead of vertically allowed it to have a wider aspect ratio like we see today. Switching to a different aspect ratio was a matter of changing the lens and increasing the speed that the film moves through the camera.

    Now that they're using digital cameras and largely digital projectors, though, it's moot... the aspect ratio is fixed to what the capturing CCD is capable of, and the final resolution is a question of how it's transcoded (most HD films are recorded in much higher resolution than the 1080p you buy on a bluray). *many* theatres have gone with digital projectors these days, and changing the aspect ratio with a digital projector is a matter of specifying either a letter box or pillar that gets overlaid on the source so that the final output is the native resolution of the projector.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2012 @03:56PM (#40362965)

    The film was entirely shot in 3D (wikipedia I'm sure there were a few post-conversions for botched shots, but actual photographed stereo 3D can often appear extremely planar depending on the interocular distance (physical x separation) of the cameras and whether the rig was converged (where screen plane is defined) at the focus point or converged closer to infinity (spending the depth 'budget' on detail in distance rather than foreground roundness). I think a lot of the choice of shooting the way they did (converged to the back of set) was done in order to maximize the feeling of the photographed volume - in essence creating a sense of starkness in the 3D effect. Pina used this with exceptional endst. Most 3D is gimmicky in its execution, but it doesn't mean that non-realistic portrayals of depth can't be valid artistic choices.

  • Re:choices (Score:2, Informative)

    by jensend (71114) on Monday June 18, 2012 @03:59PM (#40362987)

    You may think you can see it, but unless you've shown you can tell the difference in a double-blind study, that only tells us about your psychological biases rather that about your perception. (Saying you're biased is not an insult here; all of us are subject to quite a number of well-known psychological biases, and if anybody ever wants find the truth in these kinds of things they have to find ways to avoid letting these biases control their conclusions.)

    All kinds of people think they can see 120fps, can hear the difference between normal audio cables and $10,000 gold-plated audio cables, etc. They can't. To believe such claims when they directly contradict all science is backwards superstition. If you're really so sure you can see the difference between 48fps and 120fps with proper motion blur, I'd bet the Randi Foundation would like to offer you their one million dollar Paranormal Challenge prize if you can prove it.

    It's a fuzzy mess and the brain will not piece it together.

    You obviously have no understanding of how human perception works. Go educate yourself about the response time of rods and cones and don't go around mouthing off at people just because they're better informed.

"It is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them." -- Alfred Adler