The DGA website has an article on The Hobbit and 48 fps in which Peter Jackson extols the virtues of high frame rates and explains how the image quality of The Hobbit has been improved, thereby mitigating the complaints that some of the CinemaCon audience expressed.
Jackson on how HFR improves 3D:
“48 frames absolutely helps 3-D because suddenly you’re removing a substantial amount of the motion blur that you get at 24 frames. Your eyes get a much smoother experience.”
Jackson on his experience of viewing a travelogue film 20 years ago in Douglas Trumbull’s 60 fps Showscan format:
“I couldn’t believe how immersive it was. It felt like the real world, and I thought ‘Wow, this is unbelievable.’ Showscan was fantastic, but it wasn’t viable to make a feature film at a high frame rate when every single theater in the world had a mechanical projector that could only run at 24 frames per second.”
Jackson on the complaints from 24 fps traditionalists:
“I have no concern whatsoever about the viability of 48 frames, but there were journalists there who didn’t like the fact that it didn’t look like 24 frames. Sometimes people equate different with being a negative. But of course, different, if you give it a chance, can also be a positive as well.”
Regarding improvements to the 48 fps footage:
“The whites [at Cinemacon] were being clipped, and we weren’t getting the dips and the shadows, which were giving it a slightly electronic sort of video look. We’ve completely re-designed the way we convert the data from the camera into the image. The highlights and shadows roll off more, giving it a much more filmic look.”
On the immersion that 48 fps brings:
“Even though I’ve made a lot of fantasy films, I’ve always tried to make them as realistic as possible. As a director, I use wide-angle lenses to move the camera around because I like the way it allows audiences to leave their seats and sort of go into the film. For my natural directing style, 48 frames is an absolute godsend. It’s a way of immersing an audience into a film even more.”
Jackson statement echoes what we’ve been hearing regarding the finalization of post processing substantially improving the look of the 48 fps footage. Basically, the scenes shown at CinemaCon simply weren’t finished. And even with that unfinished footage, the praise for many of the shots (especially the outdoor scenic shots) was unanimous. Now that the colors and image extraction method have been perfected everything should look spectacular.
Meanwhile, check out the DGA article for more quotes from Douglas Trumbull, James Cameron and others regarding high frame rates.