If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Last night, Sir Peter Jackson posted a note on his official Facebook page confirming the rumor that both of 'The Hobbit' films are being shot at 48fps (frames per second), as opposed to the film standard of 24. With this decision, Jackson joins a growing movement of directors (championed by James Cameron) who are pursuing higher framerates in their films, anywhere from 48 to nearly 60fps. However, this decision has ignited an already-heated argument amongst filmmakers and filmgoers alike as to whether the decision is based on quality or simple financial gain.
Jackson had this to say about the technology:
The director was also quick to point out that 60fps video is already currently in use at several theme park rides, such as the Star Tours ride at Disneyland and the new King Kong attraction at Universal Studios. While new digital projection technology makes it possible to project film at the proposed 48fps, many moviegoers are concerned that higher framerates tend to look more like video or live sporting events (video is 29.97fps, HD sports broadcasts are often filmed at much higher rates, then converted down). Unlike video games - whose computer animated scenes look better at higher framerates due to the lack of real-world blur - the motion-blurring between frames that occurs with 24fps is what gives film it's "film look".
Many film buffs and cinematographers are accusing the new trend as a rampant cash-in on the 3D craze. Moving to higher framerates may not help regular ol' outdated 2D, but shooting at a much higher rate eliminates some of the viewing artifacts in 3D footage (which occurs due to the regular motion blurring of the two separate frames being composited together in the 3D process). Fans are quick to accuse Cameron and his fellow filmmakers of attempting to advance 3D film at the cost of 2D quality. However, Jackson is quick to defend himself and his team:
Regardless of the feverish battle happening in comment sections and threads across the internet, we have a strong feeling that it will boil down to exactly one thing - how the final product looks. When the man who made 'The Lord of the Rings' says it looks better, we have to give him the benefit of the doubt and cross our fingers.