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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) * <2523987012&pota,to> 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?

    • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:23PM (#40360939)

      Piracy. Of course.

    • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Korin43 (881732) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:27PM (#40361029) Homepage

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

      • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DreadPiratePizz (803402) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:44PM (#40361297)
        You can see non gimicky 3D right now: Prometheus. Say what you will about the film, the 3D is not a gimmick, and greatly enhances the experience. I felt like I was looking at real person when Charlie was looking in the mirror and saw the thing in his eye. Creepy as fuck. The cesarian was also creepy as fuck in 3D as well, not because of in your face effects, but because you really felt as if you were right there looking at real people. That's the future of 3D: subtle enhancement.
        • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:52PM (#40361409)

          You can see non gimicky 3D right now: Prometheus.

          The visuals in that movie were top notch. Unfortunately, in order to see them, you must sit through the movie. What a load of crap.

        • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

          by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:30PM (#40361927)
          Seriously? It looked like it was filmed in 2D and the 3D effects were added as an afterthought. Objects all looked flat but the scenes were separated into 3D planes. I'm pretty sure the two scenes you mentioned were the only ones actually filmed with a 3D camera.

          I liked the story but wish I'd gone to the 2D theater. As opposed to Avatar, where I liked the 3D but the story was disappointing.

          And NOT worth $32 for two tickets. More for IMAX. More for 42fps, someday. They're just guaranteeing that I'll wait for it to come out on Netflix.


          Oh, public service announcement: DO NOT TAKE YOUR PREGNANT WIFE TO SEE PROMETHEUS. Don't ask me why. Just trust me and don't do it.
          • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Informative)

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

            The film was entirely shot in 3D (wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus_%28film%29). 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:Awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

          by phayes (202222) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:51PM (#40362203) Homepage

          I have Amblyopia (one eye is stronger than the other) so 3D really doesn't do much for me. In addition I live in France where like most of the world outside the US, people who want to see movies in english have to put up with subtitles. The last movie I saw in 3D (Avengers) put the subtitles about a foot away from your face, which was really distracting & tiring (you don't want to focus on the subtitles but THEY'RE IN YOUR FACE). and decided once again to abstain from 3D if at all possible.

          I saw Prometheus and feel that all your points on how great the movie was in 3D are overblown. The worm in the eye scene didn't need to be 3D to be creepy. The guys eyeball was most of the screen so 3D added little to nothing. The people I saw Prometheus with who all have normal vision are of the same opinion. 3D is a useless money grabbing technique that adds little & often distracts from the experience.

        • by StikyPad (445176)

          I saw that in IMAX 3D, and IMO the visuals were ruined by the fact that individual pixels were easily discernible. If I'd bothered to do the research, I could have learned that most they use so-called "2K" (2 Kelvin?!?) projectors, but alas, I took it on faith that IMAX would be higher quality. To add insult to injury, there were multiple self-promoting IMAX ads before the movie, extolling the superior sound and video quality. As far as I could tell, it was just the same shit I could have seen for $5 les

    • "They charge a premium for 3D that half of everybody hates."

      Fortunately for me, its the BOTTOM half, that hates 3D - so I'm largely unaffected.

      Interestingly enough, it's the same half of me that LOVED "Sensurround" [wikipedia.org], back in the day. Go figure!

      • I saw 'Earthquake' with "Sensurround" in a theater as a teenager. Whenever another earthquake started up, big bass speakers kinda' made your chair vibrate, a little. The way they hyped it at the time, then teenager me expected to be part of an actual earthquake, being thrown from the chair! So okay, I was a gullible type who, as a 7 year old, thought if I mailed $2 and a coupon from a comic book, in 4 to 6 weeks I'd have a real submarine sent to me. And all I got for my $2 was a pice of cardboard that
    • by Creepy (93888)

      The premium is for 48 frames per second, they're already charging you for the 3D part. Last time I went to the theater for a first run movie it was $14 for a matinee with a coupon and $6 for a small popcorn, and that was their smallest screen and not in 3D (they want $16 for a matinee, $22 for prime hours for that)... I think can skip the 3D and wait 2-4 weeks for the $2 theater with $2 popcorn. I don't really give a flying f**** about 3D anyway, and blu-ray vs DVD isn't that big of deal to me either (if I'

      • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

        by crazyjj (2598719) * on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:54PM (#40362237)

        Not only have the ticket and food prices gotten complety INSANE, but the last time I went I also got the benefit of sitting through about 30 minutes (seriously, not an exaggeration) of Coke commercials, car commercials, and trailers which were mostly completely unrelated to the style of movie I was seeing.

        Pretty much avoid theaters now. Had enough, thanks.

      • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

        by weszz (710261) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:55PM (#40362257)

        As a former movie theater employee (some 15+ years ago) when you pay for a movie, the theater sees very little of it.

        I think the way it broke out then was they kept ~2% of opening week ticket box revenues, after a few weeks it jumped to ~6% and I think topped out around 10% before they weren't around anymore. Budget theaters keep a much higher percentage, but they have really old movies...

        The theater makes all their money on concessions (thus the ultra expensive popcorn and soda) one of those bags back then cost maybe $30 for mountain dew syrup (which btw pours out as an interesting sludge/slime that tastes nasty without mixing), it makes a crapload of soda, and as you know, popcorn kernels are cheap, the canola oil is also reasonable, but that is where they make the money (or did) not sure if the 3d surcharges go to the theater or not... I'd imagine the distributor keeps a good amount of that too!

    • Re:Awesome (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Hatta (162192) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:52PM (#40361413) Journal

      Decline? It's shit like this that gets me into theatres. Before Avatar came out, I hadn't seen a movie in a theatre in a decade. Since Avatar came out, I saw it, Up and Star Trek, all 3 in 3d, and two of three in IMAX. If you're not showing off top of the line equipment, I'll just watch it at home.

      If my local theatre can display The Hobbit in 48FPS, I will attend. If they do not, I will not. Simple as that.

      • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:20PM (#40361803)
        The only way I'd go to a theatre is if they invented a device that would get people to STFU while the movie is playing.
      • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

        by UttBuggly (871776) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:21PM (#40361809)

        Decline? It's shit like this that gets me into theatres. Before Avatar came out, I hadn't seen a movie in a theatre in a decade. Since Avatar came out, I saw it, Up and Star Trek, all 3 in 3d, and two of three in IMAX. If you're not showing off top of the line equipment, I'll just watch it at home.

        If my local theatre can display The Hobbit in 48FPS, I will attend. If they do not, I will not. Simple as that.

        Amen. I have better sound, video, and a pause button at home. Plus, the local metroplex wasn't keen about my showing up in jammies and slippers.

        However, they do have a brand new IMAX theatre, so films like The Dark Knight Rises will get me there. The other draw is an adults-over-21 area with 2 screens that serve food and liquor. The food and drink are overpriced and mostly lousy BUT no teenagers with cell phones and nicer seating is terrific. Without one or the either....technology I don't have at home (yet)...or a dumbass free environment, I'm keeping my butt and dollars at home.

        I will check out one or two films shot at 48fps, especially if one is The Hobbit, and see what I think. My local theatre is very good at the latest gear upgrades and I expect they'll go with the 24-48fps costs if it's at all feasible.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      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

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        If widescreen format really did give you more frames per meter of film, you wouldn't need an anamorphic lens to display it. No, you don't get more frames - they are roughly square frames, and they are "unpacked" with the anamorphic lens to the full width.

  • Classic 2D is best (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TedTschopp (244839) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:20PM (#40360889) Homepage

    I think a classic book like the Hobbit should be available in classic 2D.

    Then again, I can't see most 3D theater experiences.

  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:20PM (#40360899)

    There have always been niche premium formats: 70mm, IMax, etc. The ones that are really valuable commodities spread, the rest remain niche, with niche content providers creating for them.

    For a real niche, look at Planetarium productions.

  • 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 Hentes (2461350)

      My personal fear is that the forced switch will cause a lot of smaller theaters to close, particularly the drive-in ones

      When do you live? The last time I saw a drive-in was like 15 years ago.

  • Uhm.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by bmo (77928) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:23PM (#40360945)

    So now I can sleep through this movie at 48FPS like I slept through the rest of the Ring movies at 24FPS?

    --
    BMO

    • Re:Uhm.. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:34PM (#40361137)

      So now I can sleep through this movie at 48FPS like I slept through the rest of the Ring movies at 24FPS?

      -- BMO

      The double frame rate of the film will carry over into your sleeping. You'll be able to sleep for 30 minutes during The Hobbit and you'll be as refreshed as if you took an hour nap during a Ring movie.

  • choices (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:24PM (#40360957) Journal

    As long as 24 fps is still available somewhere at current prices, I don't really see the problem. Let people who care pay the extra money for the higher framerate. If there are enough to make it profitable, the technique will continue. If not, it won't. In the meantime, I can decline to participate. It's all good.

    Currently, given a 2D or 3D version of a film, we choose the 2D version. I don't begrudge the people who want to pay extra to see a blurry gimmicky image. That is their choice, and welcome to it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcelrath (8027)

      I, for one, will pay for higher frame rate. 48fps is even too low. I can see each achingly slow 1/24s frame as it crawls across the screen. Explosions and fast motion in action movies generally only take a handful of frames, and the illusion of motion is lost when I can see each one individually. No amount of motion blur will fix this. To me, watching action movies at a theater where I'm closer to the screen is an epilepsy-inducing stroboscopic nightmare that I generally avoid. It's moderately tolerab

  • by peter303 (12292) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:25PM (#40360971)
    I've seen several examples of both. And guarantee you the former will make the movie feel more vivid than the 3D. Its as significant as going to color or talkies. I cant wait for all films to be shot this way.
    • by Bigby (659157)

      As significant as going to color? Really? Really? Are you going to tell us it is the greatest invention since man discovered how to make fire?

  • by Korin43 (881732) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:26PM (#40360985) Homepage

    Are the theaters really complaining that they'll have a new gimmick to sell? After the whole charging double for a headache and annoying effects thing (3D)?

  • by Picass0 (147474) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:27PM (#40361005) Homepage Journal

    Show me another summer tent-pole film being shot in 48 FPS. Are theaters expected to break even on their hardware investment from their take on one film? Unlikely. Where's the commitment from studios to 48 FPS? Theaters need a future lineup of films that utilize the new projectors to justify such an expense. Also there is mixed work of mouth on viewer reaction to the new framerate, so that ups the gamble for early adopters who might be buying the next Edsel.

    • by PraiseBob (1923958) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:04PM (#40361571)
      Well, the first couple generations of digital cinema projectors can't display at 48fps. But, many of the models from the past year or two are capable out of the box. So for instance, my theater chain was one of the first in the nation to be all-digital... which means that most of our auditoriums can't display it, except for the locations we built in the past year, and the projectors that have been replaced. The gamble is whether it will be worth it to invest sooner in newer equipment, or hang on to the aging equipment a bit longer. If the hobbit is successfull (and it will be), then expect to see most new movies being filmed in 48.

      It does produce a better picture, despite the mixed reviews. Some people prefer vinyl over cd, which is at least arguable. And other people prefer DVD over Blu-Ray, for reasons that don't make a lot of sense. Some people don't like 120hz TV's, and others can't tell a difference. This industry has a lot of purists who prefer 35mm over digital, so a better digital to them still isn't "good enough", even though it is visbly better to the majority of people.
  • by Lord Lode (1290856) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:34PM (#40361113)

    This is the second (if not more) article on /. complaining about the high framerate in this movie.

    Yes, we should have lower FPS! Let's render it with a Riva TNT card!

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <`jmorris' `at' `beau.org'> on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:36PM (#40361163)

    I might pay for the 48fps 3D, but I would try 48fps 2D in an instant. It is about time 24fps went the way of B&W. Screw those old fart 'film buffs' who think that framerate makes movies look better' No, it looks wrong but you grew up watching movies that way are are simply used to it. Probablty also explains 90% of the fetish for tube amps amongst 'audiophiles'; their early impressions were formed with tube amps and they refuse to change.

    But why not go all the way to 60? Would that be so wrong? It would make it compatible wirh HDTV without messy frame rate conversion. Plus I believe IMAX also runs at 60fps native. About the only advantage I can see with 48fps is that they can just merge pairs of frames for printing to normal 35mm and for the 1080p@24 BluRay release. (BluRay can't do 1080p@60, some players can but the format can't bless it.)

  • Yay (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tridus (79566) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:40PM (#40361215) Homepage

    A surcharge for this too? I'm surprised the theatres don't charge extra for that new fangled "air conditioner" technology at this point. Or maybe $1 per speaker in the theatre.

    Oh well, just another reason to stay home and watch when it hits on demand for a tiny fraction of the cost.

  • by mrnick (108356) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:46PM (#40361339) Homepage

    The theaters make very little, if any, from ticket sales. They make all their money in concessions. So, if a theater has to buy expensive equipment it will be passed onto the consumer through concessions increases.

  • Terrible (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:47PM (#40361343)

    48 FPS is a terrible choice.

    24 Hz displays (theaters, yes, they do integer multiples) will be fine.
    30 Hz displays (shitty TVs) will fuck it up royally.
    24 Hz displays (theaters) will be fine.
    60 Hz displays (TVs) will fuck it up royally.
    120 Hz displays (TVs) will fuck it up royally.

    You'll need a 240 Hz display to show it properly. And if you add 3D, direct view, active 3D setups (3D TVs) will have to do 480 Hz.

    Fucker should have gone with 60 Hz.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday June 18, 2012 @01:59PM (#40361505)
    Everyone calm down and don't get mad. The media industry is doing something right for once. How do you get people to pay for a movie rather than getting a bootleg for free? Offer something in the theater that they can't get at home. It's how the free market works and they will have much better luck with this than they will with their "Lets sue everyone" strategy.

    Despite what the article leads you to believe most major theaters can do well over 48fps and are installing projectors that are 4000p and above right now. This is the future of theater. It's a good thing.
  • Hobbits 4D (Score:5, Funny)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:08PM (#40361607)
    A sequel is in the works that will involve Hobbits running around on stage and reading their lines live. They also plan to act out commercials and trailers live to give a more movie theater like experience.
  • by mschaffer (97223) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:19PM (#40361791)

    Now, that's what I look for in a good movie.
    Who gives a crap about the screenplay, the actors, etc.
    It's all about the framerate---NOT!

    It seems to me that Mr. Jackson has been in the sun too long and is suffering from heat stroke.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:23PM (#40361837)
    I am pretty sure it was for asthetic reasons and not that he would 2x for selling film stock (although its hard to tell from Edison's scheming sometimes). The early industry experimented with 15 to 50. They settled for 24 which was the cheapest they could survive without the result being too annoying.
  • So what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kommakazi (610098) on Monday June 18, 2012 @02:47PM (#40362143)
    Of course the cost will go to theatre operators...who else? Who do you think paid for upgrades to 3D capability? And digital cinema? This is a very worthwhile upgrade. 24fps is juttery and looks terrible for any scene with lots of fast movement. This is amplified on bigger screens... Take a look here: http://frames-per-second.appspot.com/ [appspot.com] Set one ball to 24fps and the other to 48fps. Swap the background to one or the other as a reference. Now sync and up the pixels per second for all of them. Watch the terrible blur at higher px/sec on the 24fps ball. It hurts my eyes. Especially on a huge screen where everything is moving quickly and that blurry. Sure you can call the blur "cinematic" but guess what, directors can still at that blur in post production when it will bring something more to the picture instead of leaving you to suffer through it on scenes where it only takes away. Unlike 3D on shitty 24fps film, this is an extremely worthwhile upgrade, and one side effect is it will actually enhance the 3D experience in movies which are 48fps and shot in 3D. Call me a troll if you want, but anyone who thinks 48fps is bad clearly doesn't know what the fuck they are talking about, end of story.

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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