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Lord of the Rings Movies Entertainment

Why The Hobbit's 48fps Is a Good Thing 599

An anonymous reader writes "Last year, when we discussed news that The Hobbit would be filmed at 48 frames per second, instead of the standard 24, many were skeptical that format would take hold. Now that the film has been released, an article at Slate concedes that it's a bit awkward and takes a while to get used to, but ends up being to the benefit of the film and the entire industry as well. 'The 48 fps version of The Hobbit is weird, that's true. It's distracting as hell, yes yes yes. Yet it's also something that you've never seen before, and is, in its way, amazing. Taken all together, and without the prejudice of film-buffery, Jackson's experiment is not a flop. It's a strange, unsettling success. ... It does not mark the imposition from on high of a newer, better standard — one frame rate to rule them all (and in the darkness bind them). It's more like a shift away from standards altogether. With the digital projection systems now in place, filmmakers can choose the frame rate that makes most sense for them, from one project to the next.'"
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Why The Hobbit's 48fps Is a Good Thing

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  • Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:20PM (#42288405)
    A lot fo the magic of film was 24fps.

    sure its outdated, but so is 48 fps.

    broadcast TV has been 50 for years, with more recent forays with high def into 120hz (no idea of the actual frame rate with digital, but I could image its up there)

    why are the doing this now? and why only 48fps?
  • What makes it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:23PM (#42288461)

    distracting? Since the film seems to be getting panned a lot, does this maybe have something to do with it?

  • by Andy Prough ( 2730467 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:25PM (#42288485)
    maybe Jackson should just try actually shooting the whole story this time. Hey Merry - where'd you get that cool magic blade that killed the Witch King? "Errr.... well err ummm. See there were these barrows, but we had to cut that from the story, but - hey, Liv Tyler is hot, right??"
  • by Andy Prough ( 2730467 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:29PM (#42288569)
    And here I thought the worst part was the hundreds of pages of walking through marshes and getting eaten by midges.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:34PM (#42288631)

    Blu-Ray of old movies are still 24P, they don't magically add more frames that don't exist, and interpolation generally looks like ass.

  • by prefect42 ( 141309 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:40PM (#42288729)

    I really don't get why people are so attached to 24fps. Can you imagine this with computer games?

  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:47PM (#42288819)

    150 pages of Frodo walking with almost nothing else happening in mordor didn't excite you?

  • by BergZ ( 1680594 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:55PM (#42288907)
    Agreed. The kvetching over the transition from 24 fps to 48 fps reminds me of the transition from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent or the transition from records to CDs. It strikes me as nostalgia for a (mostly) inferior product.
  • by guidryp ( 702488 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @02:01PM (#42288995)

    Most of the time you can't even tell the difference between frame rates, except when it emerges as artifacts at 24 fps.

    24 fps movies are purposefully shot with more motion blur to hide the jerkiness. But nothing really gets around it when panning.

    So 24fps primarily equals artifacts: Blurring, jerky motion, and juddering pans.

    How nonsensical is it, and how resistant change do you have to be, to worship these artifacts. They are no more beneficial than ticks/pops were on Vinyl. There is certain nostalgia value to listening to something with ticks/pops sometimes, but it isn't something we put everywhere because we can't do without it.

    So these resistant to change, Luddites in love with quite irritating artifacts have taken to calling superior motion video with less blur, less judder and less jerking: "The Soap Opera Effect".

    Do a freeze frame on a soap opera and good movie. You can still tell which is which when frozen. Soaps look like crap, because they have crap production values. Poor sets, poor lighting, poor cameras, shot without any flair.

    Shoot 48fps (or 60 fps or 120 fps for that matter) with great sets, great lighting, great cameras and great flair and it will be amazing and have nothing in common with soap operas.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @02:13PM (#42289121)

    there is a reason we use 24.

    Like because it is cheaper and easier to make movies that way? If something looks fake when there is not enough blur, it is because movie makers have not bothered figuring out how to make their scenes look more realistic at a more realistic frame rate. It has nothing to do with the video technology. It is like complaining that color TV looks too realistic and they should stay with black and white. These days people only watch black and white TV whenever they are feeling nostalgic. I applaud Jackson for trail blazing the path to higher frame rates in movies.

  • by Nkwe ( 604125 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @02:36PM (#42289367)

    We really need to move beyond 24fps though. Take any single frame of that scene and just try to make out what is in the house. Is that a lamp? Or a table? Or wait, maybe it's a vase with a funny flower coming out of it. You can't tell. It's a blurry mess. All you can tell is that is was a sweep of the inside of a house. No detail. [...]

    That of course assumes that viewing all the detail is important. In many cases "viewing all the detail" is not what you want. It can be distracting from the message that the writer and director is trying to convey. At times the blur in the background can help support the in focus stuff in the foreground and the elements that are actually important to the story.

  • To be fair there is more to it than just "24fps has unwanted artefacts". Most people will probably remember when they first saw Saving Private Ryan because the film stock and shutter speed used gave it a very realistic, un-blurry and gritty look. One of the biggest reasons it has taken so long for digital cinema cameras to become popular is that the early ones were unable to replicate the effect of using particular well known film stocks and camera techniques.

    Star Wars is another good example to look at. Part of the charm of the original movies is that they were a bit rough around the edges. The film had a fair bit of grain that made the Star Wars universe look a bit grubby and used, rather than sleek and clean like Star Trek. The later trilogy was crisp and clean, and ended up looking more like generic sci-fi than the Star Wars we loved.

    48fps is still in its infancy and it will take some time for cinematographers and directors to figure out how to get the effect they want from it. In the end the result will be better than 24fps, but that doesn't automatically mean that the early examples will be particularly good. 3D was the same; everything looked terrible until Avatar finally figured out how to use it and still look like a movie and not give you a brain aneurysm.

  • Re:Why? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Friday December 14, 2012 @03:09PM (#42289921) Homepage Journal

    WAY to much detail and no motion blur or warm moments for your eyes to pause on

    You sound like an old audiotard who says he hates CDs because they don't have pops and rumble and hiss and flutter and wow like the LPs and tapes he was used to did. Oh, and the motion blur is still there, it's just that there's only half as much of it.

    we had the technology to go as many FPS as we wanted to for the last 50 years, there is a reason we use 24

    Wrong, kid, we didn't have the tech, but that's not the only reason. In 1962 there was no such thing as digital. All movies were film, and doubling the frame rate meant doubling the cost of distribution, since you needed twice the film -- and film wasn't cheap. THAT is what kept movies at 24 fps.

    jackson is a retard.

    Looks to me like you're the one lacking in IQ points, dufus.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DriveDog ( 822962 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @03:13PM (#42290021)

    I was just wondering if anyone else would mention ShowScan, amid all the claims of "first time such a high frame rate film has been produced... blah blah blah..." when the claim really should be "finally, something almost as good as what was available 40+ years ago."

    24fps has always bothered me whenever an object or person moves across the screen quickly. Even the small increase to 30fps is a significant improvement to my eyes. 72fps seems like a good goal, though I probably won't complain about 48.

    I think those in the "24fps is magic" camp have a lot in common with the "vinyl is better" and "tubes are better" bunch. They either like their content distorted by their medium of choice or just like the idea of using archaic technology. There's certainly nothing wrong with either of those things, but the old ways are not "better" for everyone else.

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @03:45PM (#42290885) Homepage

    More like an attempt to make movies impossible to watch at home in the same form, therefore making you buy theater tickets.

    But seriously, most people can see the difference in rates above 30. See the complaints about the "Soap Opera Look" of 120Hz TV's.

    Panning and dolly shots look terrible at 24fps if they go too fast. So. much. judder.

    Even if the human eye can't distinguish > 60fps (it definitely can), the human retina is not v-synced with the television/screen. So you still need more temporal resolution than the eye can handle for it to appear smooth.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tzot ( 834456 ) <> on Friday December 14, 2012 @04:07PM (#42291553) Homepage

    24 fps from a high-speed shutter camera (usually digital these days), can be disturbing. 24 fps with low-speed shutter (older analog cameras), where there is motion blur is ok; motion blur approaches what we see with a naked eye.

    24 fps from a video game, which is a sequence of stills, typically without motion blur as it requires more CPU time, is awful.

    Assuming Jackson used digital cameras, 48 fps should be an improvement.

  • by knarfling ( 735361 ) on Friday December 14, 2012 @06:15PM (#42294787) Journal

    And like many people that have commented it seems, I found that the Tom Bombadil thing was horrendous in the book, and cheered a little inside when it was skipped in the movie.

    I honestly can't even slightly understand why some people have such a hardon for that part of the book. It was terrible. TERRIBLE!

    One of the reasons people like the Tom Bombadil section is because of the character development.

    Remember, the book was about little, ordinary people that can do great things, even while big, great people are doing great things all around them. The book was not about little people outshining big people, nor was it about great people overshadowing the efforts of little people. On complaint about the movie was that it was more about Aaragon and Legolas with Gimli being the comic relief than it was about the Hobbits.

    As for the character development, the Tom Bombadil was one of the first things that said, "This is not a simple trip across the forest. This is a dangerous journey and you better be ready." In the book the RingWraith drove them into the dark forest, and they almost got killed because they did not take the journey serious enough. When they got to Bree, they tried to fall back into the easy ways of the shire, only to be almost killed again by RingWraiths because they weren't paying attention. Only this time, they "found" a guide to help them in their character development. By the time they dealt with WeatherTop and finally made it to Rivendell, they were ready to start the journey to Mordor.

    The Scouring of the Shire, another section left out by the movie, was the final step that the Hobbits had to take to realize that they were no longer children or ordinary people, but had become great people with large responsibilities. They no longer needed to rely on their guides or other races to take care of their own troubles. Their accomplishments did not belittle the other races, but finally became equals with them. And as equals, they were expected to take care of their own troubles. With great power comes great responibility. (The words are from Spider Man, but the theme is ancient.)

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @11:44AM (#42301379)

    Interlacing was a wonderful thing in the analog days. TV would have looked (literally) half as good without it. But those days are passed: It is time to let interlacing die. It just gets in the way now and complicates things needlessly.

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison