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Lord of the Rings Movies Entertainment

Hobbit Film Underwhelms At 48 Frames Per Second 607

bonch writes "Warner Bros. aired ten minutes of footage from The Hobbit at CinemaCon, and reactions have been mixed. The problem? Peter Jackson is filming the movie at 48 frames per second, twice the industry standard 24 frames per second, lending the film a '70s era BBC-video look.' However, if the negative response from film bloggers and theater owners is any indication, the way most people will see the movie is in standard 24fps."
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Hobbit Film Underwhelms At 48 Frames Per Second

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  • Is it "too real"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Friday April 27, 2012 @05:57PM (#39827085)

    Is this another version of the same issues people complained about when seeing their favorite newscaster (or "other" things) in HD?

    Do we need some "masking" of the mundane reality of scenes (e.g., things "looking like sets") to sufficiently suspend disbelief?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:01PM (#39827119)

      Every time I hear someone bitch about higher FPS video I'm seriously annoyed, I've had to deal with the damn 24 FPS jerky and/or blurry bullshit for too long people need to just adjust.

      • by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:16PM (#39827313)

        Me too.

        Seriously, what could be wrong with 48 fps? That it didn't flicker enough?

        I read this story a few days ago and actually went searching for some samples but couldn't find any at that time, other than some silly animated combat scenes.

        What I did find was a bunch of bloggers who have never produced anything in their life except whiny bitching without a single valid criticism that didn't amount to jealousy and NIH.

        • Re:Is it "too real"? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by muon-catalyzed ( 2483394 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:19PM (#39828013)
          Tell you the little Hollywood secret, they HATE this. If the rubicon of 24fps & 2D is crossed, the film industry and all their flicks will be stamped as outdated '70s era films, similar to mono audio recordings once the stereo era kicked in. The BBC rant is actually lifted from their own point of resistance, as they fear the obsoleteness of their own stuff. The elitist nature of going 3D, going to higher framerates and the associated production costs, the elaborate post, the new thinking behind 3D production, the ditched old-school principles, that is mind-boggling for the establishment. For that simple reason the innovative and groundbreaking PJ's 3D movie 'The Hobbit' is doomed by the wrath of the industry.
          • by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:39PM (#39828205)

            Well 3D still doesn't work properly, and probably nothing will fix that while projecting on a flat screen.

            But 48fps is simply smoother, and just as they are able to fake up 3D on films that were never shot that way, they will be able to digitally fake up with the extra frames between every 24fps frame and re-release all those old films in Astounding 48 FPS, New and Improved, Digitally Remastered, For a Limited Time Only....

            Its a whole new industry, and they can sell us all copies of the disks we already bought once.

            The wrath of the industry is usually tempered by box office figures.

            • by FloydTheDroid ( 1296743 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @08:23PM (#39828569)
              As long as Han shots first and the dinosaurs don't make an appearance I'll be happy.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:55PM (#39828341)
            I kind of figure that Hollywood would love everything to be obsolete so they can just re-re-make it all and have more new sequels with new ideas.
          • by CaptainLard ( 1902452 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @09:30PM (#39828977)

            Tell you the little Hollywood secret, they HATE this. If the rubicon of 24fps & 2D is crossed, the film industry and all their flicks will be stamped as outdated '70s era films.

            Really? I always thought Hollywood was jamming 3D down our throats. If 48fps takes hold and 3D starts being worthwhile, then the MPAA can just sell us all their old crap again in new "remastered" editions. The Citizen Kane blu ray collectors edition runs for $70!

            • Re:Is it "too real"? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday April 28, 2012 @03:15AM (#39830379) Homepage

              Supermarket bargain bins are still full of DVDs, more than you can ever hope to watch. That's the reality there is already far more content out there than you can consumer, full time doing nothing else in ten life times.

              Copyright was really all about burying old content so that you would pay top dollar for new content. The producers of new content got greedy and decided to dump the old content they had buried, case of this years executives hunting this years bonus and bugger tomorrow. Worst of all most of the new content is pretty crappy and can't compete with the old content beyond of course the tasteless cheetos crowd (the boring I've watched it already and who cares about story give me un-reality TV).

              The really funny thing about all this, the truly hilarious reality. Big screen, high definition 3d, high frame rates, is not good for 'fake' content or make believe, the only thing it is really good for and that people will truly enjoy, is the scenery channel. Just moving images of nature, great locations with beautiful sunsets and sunrises, of calming noon day tropical lagoons and beaches. Forget windows, filtered, conditioned air (maybe with aromas to match the view) and full wall sized video displays with high resolution like your there scenery in motion.

        • Change (Score:5, Interesting)

          by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:29PM (#39828089)

          Seriously, what could be wrong with 48 fps? That it didn't flicker enough?

          The problem isn't that it is fundamentally better, it's that it is a change from what people expect. Every time I see a high fps recording of something the motion looks like it's going to fast. I fully expect the video and sound to drop out of sync but it never does. The results look fantastic and smooth as they should, but it takes my brain conditioned by years of 24fps shit a while to adapt to the new look.

          Any change from the norm is likely to attract serious criticism, whether good or bad.

          • Re:Change (Score:4, Insightful)

            by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:34PM (#39828149)

            But is it still the norm ? Gamers are used to watching and participating in scenes are much higher FPS rates... for those of us who were born after 1980, this is better... tv looks flickery and annoying.
            We had the same issue with HD ... our cellphones have higher resolution than that, why is it only being upgraded now and by so little ? The latter one inspired a wonderful XKCD (just so I'm not accused of plagiarism) :P

            • Yes it still is. Gamers don't have screens that cover 6 average basements, and more importantly I know most gamers turn off full screen motion blur. This makes games a VERY different experience to the movies which will naturally motion blur every frame. Gamers tend to seek extreme frame rates and let their eyes do the blurring. In this regard cinema is very different.

              A game played at 24 fps is by common standards completely unplayable. Yet a movie at 24fps is a bit jerky, and only really a bit jerky if you'

              • Re:Change (Score:4, Insightful)

                by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Saturday April 28, 2012 @02:30AM (#39830233) Journal
                24fps is a bit jerky? It's terrible. Especially on left-right pan shots I can see the whole thing being jerkily updated. And I often think, wow I can get far better fps than that on my old home PC.

                The problem with motion blurring or any sort of blurring is it makes my eyes hurt when I try to focus on something that can not be in focus.

                In real life when you are looking at something moving, the object you are looking at becomes sharp, at worst the background becomes motion blurred. If you look at the background, the background becomes sharp, and the object becomes blurry. So whatever I look at is sharp unless the object is moving really fast, or I'm having problems with my eyes.

                As technology improves they should strive to have more stuff sharp. As you said let our eyes do the blurring. Only in a few cases should the director blur stuff for effect.
      • Hybrid system (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Spy Handler ( 822350 )

        a solution might be to show the movie at 48 fps but keep most of the source 24 fps... ramping up to 48 fps during scenes that require it (such as camera panning)

        So basically what you'd do is shoot everything in 48 fps, but for most scenes take out every other frame, and just show the remaining frames twice. Then it would look like a regular 24 fps movie.

        For scenes with lots of motion, DON'T take out every other frame, show the full 48 fps.

        • Re:Hybrid system (Score:4, Informative)

          by hack slash ( 1064002 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:35PM (#39828167)
          What? Chop 'n change framerates throughout the film? are you nuts?
          • Re:Hybrid system (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:58PM (#39828369) Homepage Journal

            why not? Should be easy enough. By default set everything to 24 fps, and just select some scenes and flag beginning and end frames for doubling up to 48 fps.

            Pirates that upload DVD-ripped movies eyeball each scene and manually adjust the bitrate all the time. (the better ones do, anyways) They do this to fit the movie onto a 700 MB fixed size. Basically you allocate more bitrate to scenes with motion, and less bitrate to mostly still scenes. Software can do this automatically, but humans with an artistic touch can do a much better job.

            And that's just *one* guy doing this for a whole movie in one evening. Should be nothing to a studio.

            • ... You've never seen side-by-side comparisons of 24fps versus 48fps, have you? It's a bad idea because the frame rate dramatically affects how the film is perceived. It'd be like finding a compromise for those who resisted colour film and colour TV by simply switching on or off colour depending on whether the scene in question really made optimal use of it. It'd be totally jarring and terrible.

              To a trained eye, it's really jarring when TV serials nowadays do all their interior shots using RED One or simila

        • For what it's worth, movie projectors usually strobe each frame either twice or thrice, depending on the model.
        • That doesn't change the fact, that when you shoot in 24fps, your shutter speed is 1/48 sec. If you were to shoot in 48fps, your shutter speed will be 1/96 sec. A faster shutter speed eliminates motion blur and creates a sharper image, and so merely dropping every other frame is going to result in different video. You'd have 24fps video shot with a 1/96 shutter, as opposed to 24fps video shot with a 1/48 shutter. To see the effect a higher shutter speed has, look at the opening of saving private ryan, or som
    • Re:Is it "too real"? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:14PM (#39827291)

      Is this another version of the same issues people complained about when seeing their favorite newscaster (or "other" things) in HD?

      Do we need some "masking" of the mundane reality of scenes (e.g., things "looking like sets") to sufficiently suspend disbelief?

      A lot of the complaints may actually stem from lighting issues. In general, movies are dimmer than TV. Lots of mundane "set"-type things are hidden in the shadows, and brightening everything up will reveal them even at 24fps. The lighting may need to be adjusted differently for 48fps (possibly planned for post-production and just hasn't happened yet), or maybe the lighting is intentionally too bright to counteract the dimming effect of 3D. Either way, people may be reacting to a lot more than just 48fps, so don't just assume they're all Luddites.

      Also, the need for 48fps wouldn't be nearly as bad if the camera operators of the world hadn't all simultaneously forgotten how to slow down the shutter speed during pans. Seriously, there's judder all over the movie theatres today, and while it existed thirty years ago, it wasn't nearly as frequent or as bad as today.

  • Can You SHow Me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:02PM (#39827123)

    Could you show me what this "70s era BBC-video look" is. Despite having seen lots of 70s era BBC-video, I'm unable to understand what you're talking about based on the description.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It looks like a soap opera.

      • by pthisis ( 27352 )

        "Looks like a soap opera" to me means the weird overly contrasty look you get when some of the stupid autocontrast/edge "enhancement" features are turned on on modern TVs.

  • Habit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:03PM (#39827139)

    The only reason people don't like it is because they are used to film looking another way. It has nothing to do with what is actually happening on screen, or some magical quality that allows 24fps to transport you to another place.

    If all films changed to this, in three years no one would have an issue with it. In 10 years, people would say that older movies looked to "fake."

    It's all what you are acclimated to.

    • Re:Habit (Score:5, Funny)

      by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:12PM (#39827257)

      No, "Hobbit".

    • Re:Habit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tool462 ( 677306 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:24PM (#39827405)

      I think this is the case. I remember the transition to HDTV. When shows started airing in HD, I remember everything looking unnaturally crisp. It looked fake compared to the "real" 480i I was used to. By the time most shows went HD that effect went away for me, and the SD stuff started looking fake and crappy. I have roughly the same reaction watching SD shows now as I did watching the handful of B&W shows that were still airing when I was a kid. Yeah, it still works, but it definitely feels inferior and old fashioned.

      My guess is 48fps movies will be about the same, unless they induce epileptic seizures or something...

  • by Surt ( 22457 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:06PM (#39827171) Homepage Journal

    I'm one of the luck few with sensitive eyes. Watching movies at 24 fps is jarring. I can't wait til they move up to 60 or 120.

  • by mykos ( 1627575 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:07PM (#39827195)
    Everyone would say 24 FPS looked like old cell phone videos. The only reason people don't like high framerates is because that's what they were trained "cinema" should look like.
  • Just whiners (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:09PM (#39827221)

    People have decided that 24fps is "cinematic" since that's what movies have been for so long and so they expect it and hate on things that aren't. They need to STFU and just take some time to appreciate a more real format.

    We have cameras at work that shoot 60fps and I just -love- it. It is so silky smooth. When you first see it, it almost seems like something is wrong. Then you realize what is missing is the stutter of 30 (or 24) fps. Things are fluid, much more like they really are. Motion looks great.

    We need that in movies. Spatial resolution is getting really good these days, we need better temporal resolution. Get that framerate up there and things will start to look much more real.

    People have just come to associate the stuttery crap that is 24fps as being "cinematic". They need to tie a can on it and get over it.

    • Re:Just whiners (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Omega Hacker ( 6676 ) <omega@omegac s . n et> on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:21PM (#39827363)

      I went to a very early digital cinema festival years ago, and in the round-table discussions all these people were focussing on how "sterile" digital looked, and moaning about how that "film look" was going to die a horrible ugly death, and the world as they knew it was ending. Everybody else was thrilled to death about how the image was actually sharp and consistent, you couldn't see the ugly film grain, colors were sharper, there was no crap stuck to every frame or spinning along down one side, you didn't have frames jumping all over the screen (60ft screen avg vertical jitter is +- 8 inches per frame!), etc etc etc.

      Guess what? Digital won, end of story.

      The "film purists" will always find something to complain about, while the rest of the world moves on.

    • Re:Just whiners (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:37PM (#39827535) Homepage

      60fps isn't a visual or motion problem for people, but a psychological one. Footage based on nature (wildlife, flyovers etc) or fast paced sports action is very pleasing at the 60fps rate. But, when you're having to watch people at those rates, it feels too realistic for people's comfort. For some, it's a feeling of invasiveness while for others it breaks the suspension of disbelief. Basically, their acting looks fake because now the temporal resolution is much higher for an actor than you're normally accustomed to. For example, if you suck as an actor at 24fps, that actor is really going to suck at 60fps. The subtle nuances become more prominent to us.

  • So? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:10PM (#39827235)

    lending the film a '70s era BBC-video look

    Well, it's a story about olden-times in England, isn't it?

  • Psychological? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kylon99 ( 2430624 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:13PM (#39827279)

    "THE HOBBIT, frankly, did not look cinematic."

    Is it because we are conditioned that the low frames per second represent a 'movie?' I remember seeing an FPS one time at 60 fps, not realizing right away that it was supposed to be a FPS and not a movie and my first and immediate response my brain gave me is, "wtf is this?!" It seems different frame rates make me think it's a different 'experience' of sorts, a game, a TV broadcast, etc. (Even say the 60fps black and white from back awhile ago... was it 60fps?) So I think I understand the feeling, even though I tell myself that I prefer the 48 frames per second. Because I then see the action in some other movies, say, Gladiator, at 24 fps and I see just how bad the action is represented.

    I really *do* want to see more motion/information on the screen and I'm willing to put myself through reconditioning to do so.
    But I'm not sure everyone else will, or even understands it this way.

    Has anyone else noticed this effect?

  • by Fahrvergnuugen ( 700293 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:19PM (#39827343) Homepage

    Because the shutter is fixed, the exposure time of each frame is directly related to the frame rate. Lower frame rate = longer exposure = more motion blur in the frame. Shorter frame rate = shorter exposure = less motion blur in each frame. You need more light to shoot at a higher frame rate to keep the same aperture setting.

    So, if they do project this at 24 frames per second (by throwing away half the frames in post), the frames will not have the necessary motion blur and it will actually look worse because half the frames are missing. This could also probably be fixed in post, but that would be a pretty big hack for such a large production.

    • This wasn't shot on film. The exposure time in digital has nothing to do with the frame rate.

      • by Fahrvergnuugen ( 700293 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:35PM (#39827515) Homepage

        This wasn't shot on film. The exposure time in digital has nothing to do with the frame rate.

        I didn't realize it was shot digitally, but you're statement isn't completely true. If you shoot something at 48FPS then the slowest possible frame rate you can have is 1/48th of a second in digital. Digital does give you the chance have a faster shutter speed though.

        Here's the kicker though, in film you have to double it. So 24fps would give you 1/48th shutter speed (half open half closed) meaning the motion blur for 48fps digital vs 24fps film should be the same, which explains why they picked 48fps - it afforded them the option to do either 48fps, slow motion or 24fps in post without giving anything up (except disk space).

      • by illumnatLA ( 820383 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:51PM (#39827721) Homepage
        Exposure time is always related to frame rate even in digital. You can't exactly have an exposure time of 1/20th of a second if your frames are going by at 1/48th of a second. The slowest possible exposure for 48fps is 1/48th of a second. Period.

        In theory, the shutter speed (e.g. exposure time) could be faster than the frame rate, but the same holds true in film cameras as well by adjusting the shutter angle. Most films shoot with a shutter angle of 180 degrees. (think of the shutter as a circle, half of it is open and half of it isn't) If you decrease the shutter angle, you get less motion blur and a shorter exposure time. This was used to great effect in the D-Day storming of the beach scene at the beginning of "Saving Private Ryan."

        Unless you know of some way to warp time, the exposure length will never, ever be longer than the frame rate in film or digital!
  • by ajegwu ( 1142365 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:21PM (#39827365)
    When my old TV finally gave up the magic smoke, I replaced it with a modern 240Hz LCD panel. The first show we watched on it was Lost. Everyone immediately said it looked fake. It was compared to a low budget History Channel documentary instead of a high budget network show. Within a week or two no one I lived with seemed to notice the difference any more. It was just different, therefore something for most people to complain about, until it became the new normal.
    • by Paradigm_Complex ( 968558 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:38PM (#39828189)

      What you're talking about is a very different issue. With that, they're taking video at another framerate - perhaps 30 or 60 - and "upscaling" it to 120/240Hz. There is a chip in there that is looking at two frames, figuring out what changed, and making up frames to shove in between. It not only looked fake, it genuinely was fake. It really isn't any different from taking 480p and trying to upscale it up to 1080p - just you're doing it in the time dimension instead of x/y.

      Seeing video that was actually sourced at a higher framerate displayed at that higher framerate usually doesn't generate the "fake" look you're talking about. That having been said, I have no idea what's causing issues with the Hobbit film.

    • You know you can turn off that interpolation right? Most TVs come with them on by default. Turn it off, and 24p content will look more 'normal' again.
  • by rAiNsT0rm ( 877553 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:35PM (#39827523) Homepage

    I have tried time after time to get used to it but I can't. The overly smooth look pulls me out of what I'm watching and makes it look fake, to the point that it doesn't seem natural. There is something off about it but I don't know what it is, real life doesn't have that look so I think there is some other factor at play here that makes people (myself included) react this way.

  • by jcdr ( 178250 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @06:58PM (#39827789)

    In France, at the Futuroscope, there is a experimental projection 2D at 48fps since 1988. I enjoyed it for it brightness and flicker free movement. I remember that I was thinking that any movie theater should be like this. The realism sensation is way better that for 3D at 24fps. Can't wait to see 3D at 48fps.

  • by Forever Wondering ( 2506940 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:04PM (#39827849)
    All modern/ordinary film is shot in the camera at 24 fps but projected with a shutter speed of 48 fps. Each frame is double shuttered in the projector and has been for years.


    This is a bit like TV that has a frame rate of 30 (29.97) but a field rate of 60 (59.94) because it's interlaced. It prevents jerky motion because the eye believes it's getting a frame rate higher than the true frame rate (e.g. it perceives the field rate to be the frame rate). When film is put on a DVD it has to undergo a telecine process to raise the field/frame rate.

    Some people I know [with better eyes than mine] can see flicker in 24/48 film content. They actually prefer video because of the higher frame rate.

  • by aurashift ( 2037038 ) on Friday April 27, 2012 @07:12PM (#39827955)
    The studio has announced that the movie will be released in two parts. The general audience will see the 24 frame-per second "A" frames version in theaters, and only die-hard fans will be given an entirely new perspective with the $65 collecter's edition "B" version of the movie.

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