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Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D

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CreativeCOW presents Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D -- Stereoscopic 3D Editorial


Santa Monica California USA

©2012 CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Debra Kaufman started her high school's Tolkien Club when she was a big fan of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Though she hasn't celebrated Frodo's birthday in many years, she did get out to see The Hobbit in 48 fps. Here are her thoughts on The Hobbit in 48 fps and HFR Cinema in general.



I was lucky enough to see an early screening of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D on the Warner Bros. lot this week. I'm not claiming to have the golden eyes of a cinematographer or visual effects supervisor, but I did have some reactions to and thoughts about the movie's HFR 3D format.

First, I must confess that I have not been a fan of 3D stereoscopic films. I'm the canary in the coalmine when it comes to 3D's potential to make the viewer dizzy; more than once, I've left a 3D movie with a headache or nausea.

Nonetheless, I have been interested in HFR from the beginning, having seen Showscan productions and being privy to some of the work that Douglas Trumbull has done and is working on now.

The Hobbit has left me excited by the possibilities of High Frame Rate Cinema. The Hobbit is an early example of HFR cinema, displaying the flaws that can be expected from a first technology outing. Remember all the naysaying over early HD content? For starters, adding high frame rate to 3D made watching 3D physically palatable for me. It's hard to understand why someone would be nauseated by HFR; indeed, for me, it seemed to solve the issues I had watching 3D with any level of comfort. Was this due entirely to the lack of motion blur? Honestly, I don't know. But I know is that I left the screening minus headache, nausea or eyestrain.

The experience I had watching The Hobbit was uneven. Most of the time, I found it more immersive than 2D or 3D 24 fps. Occasionally the HFR look was disruptive or distracting. But I do not understand the comparison that many people draw between 48 fps and a TV or video look. For me, 48 fps doesn't look like 30 fps at all, much less 24 fps. It looks different than anything we've seen thus far.


(L-r) STEPHEN HUNTER as Bombur, ADAM BROWN as Ori, MARK HADLOW as Dori, JED BROPHY as Nori and PETER HAMBLETON as Gloin in New Line Cinema's and MGM's fantasy adventure THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Bilbo Baggins' Hobbit Hole home has an intimate "real life" look to it, yet the Dwarves had an almost animated appearance.


The inconsistency in look is based on the depth of the imagery in the scene. Scenes that take place in the foreground or close-up -- such as those in Bilbo's Hobbit hole -- appear much more lifelike than film or video; it is similar to watching "real life" on the proscenium stage. But even this wasn't consistent for me. I found the dwarves, even in close-ups, to almost look like animated characters or illustrations, but incredibly real and alive. Meanwhile, scenes that took place in the mid- or background often appeared almost painterly to me, sometimes infused with a level of life or realism and sometimes less so.

Did the look draw attention to itself? Of course, because it's a look I haven't seen before. But most of the time I found it engaging and pleasant to watch. The difference in the look from close-up to farther away was distracting to a degree. As the look shifted depending on the depth, I thought about Douglas Trumbull's idea of variable frame rate, giving the director the ability to manipulate frame rate by scene or even with objects or characters within a scene. That might be insanely impractical right now, but it seems like something interesting to shoot for, and I'm glad Trumbull is working on this.


MARTIN FREEMAN as the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins in the fantasy adventure THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

MARTIN FREEMAN as the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins in the fantasy adventure THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Bilbo Baggins at Rivendell.


The other thing I noticed was how challenging HFR is for visual effects. Increasingly, even in 2D movies, I'm finding matte paintings distracting. Equally if not more so in The Hobbit, where, for example, the background image of Rivendell -- even with all the tumbling waterfalls -- couldn't hold up against the life-like nature of the characters in the foreground. Integrating 3D CGI in a live-action scene also seemed problematic, at least from time to time. When our heroes escape the orcs by being rescued by giant birds; the birds -- as realistically as they'd been modeled, animated and rendered -- just seemed wincingly false in the scene.


Anybody going to watch The Hobbit to make a definitive thumbs up or down judgment on HFR Cinema has got it wrong. These are very early days for a look that's knocked around our industry for decades, mainly for location-based entertainment. What's pushing HFR Cinema into movie theaters is part of a bigger revenue-driven goal to get audiences back into movie theaters. Yes, of course that takes compelling stories with talented actors and great directors, cinematographers and so on. But audiences are finding even the best movies less compelling in the movie theatre than just watching it a few months later at home on a giant plasma screen. I know I go to the movie theater much less than I used to.

HFR Cinema, hope the exhibitors and studios, will be a compelling reason to draw audiences back to the theater (they're trying wine and food as well). The onus is on them to prove it so, and they're looking to directors like Peter Jackson and James Cameron to make it a reality.

If HFR Cinema fails, it will fail on its own merits. In the meantime, I think it's intriguing enough to want to see more. Next time in 60 fps or higher.






(L-r) STEPHEN HUNTER as Bombur, ADAM BROWN as Ori, MARK HADLOW as Dori, JED BROPHY as Nori and PETER HAMBLETON as Gloin in New Line Cinema's and MGM's fantasy adventure "THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

MARTIN FREEMAN as Bilbo Baggins in New Line Cinema's and MGM's fantasy adventure THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

All images courtesy of and © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Nick Constable
I would like to add some food for thought on this discussion of HFR. Please note that I’ve already harped on this process in an article from March of 2011. http://www.explore3dtv.com/article/16046/What-s-Right-and-Wrong-with-3D-Tod...

Here it goes… When the human brain no longer detects flicker caused by the shutter in a motion picture; whatever is presented becomes a more accurate (realistic) representation of what was actually shot. If anything within in the shot is artificial, the brain will perceive as artificial. This includes lighting, mattes, CG, make-up, hair, costumes, model sets and yes, even actors acting out a scene.

At 24 fps (even with the double flash of a projector) the brain silently detects the shutter and unconsciously works in the background trying to differentiate between the fine lines of reality versus a succession of moving images. Because the brain is busy working this out, our ability to suspend disbelief is greatly eased when viewing dramatic material.

Grant it, in order for the grand illusion of a dramatic motion picture to be believable, many things must first fall into place starting with a great story, perfect casting, good acting, appropriate photography, make-up, costuming, hair, direction, editing, music, score etc. Make no mistake, a good movie is a believable movie – no matter how high the concept.

The shutter, in my opinion, is the very glue that holds the grand illusion of movies together.

Without the black little frames of the shutter moving in and out, any suspension of disbelief is shattered. The shutter chugs forward making the movie actually move forward while adding a sort of organic quality similar to but more important than film grain. The shutter is the magical key that allows us to become absorbed in a good movie. To compare this in the music industry, one of the most magical little secrets of successful rock bands is the Hammond B3 organ, which cannot be digitized or duplicated as the sound reverberates in the brain and moves the song along, holding it together. Along with a good bass rhythm, a good rock song now becomes a great rock song.

One thing many reviewers have said about the HFR 3D experience in ‘The Hobbit’ is that the higher frame rates either distracted them at times or took some getting used to but they liked the movie anyway. I disagree with these types of comments because in order to have a perfect movie, the audience should never be distracted out of the story for even a second. The moment this happens, you’ve lost the audience. Sound mixes in movies can also be distracting. For example I’ve once witnessed an entire audience look over their shoulders as a realistic sound of a breaking glass emitted forcefully from a rear speaker. This is considered poor sound mixing (for feature films – not ride films) because it distracted the viewer from the movie completely for a few seconds – and that is all it takes to ruin it.

I viewed ‘The Hobbit’ in HFR 3D and went in with an open mind but with admittedly low expectations. As a whole, the entire look was non-cinematic yet some of the scenes were absolutely visually stunning in 3D. Because judder and blurring from fast moving action or fast camera pans are problematic with 24 fps filming in general and even more noticeable when shooting stereoscopic 3D; higher frame rates are the technical solution to this problem and this is why James Cameron started this movement with Peter Jackson on board to walk this plank for a feature length dramatic movie shot this way.

HFR 3D can be great for many things and there is a place for it on the big screen. Concert Films, Broadway Shows, Fashion Shows, Theme Park Rides and Sporting Events are perfect for this.

Of course video gamers choose higher frame rates, but video games must not be confused with movies. Even though there are many production similarities between the two, they are different mediums with different types of experiences. Hollywood continuously fails to realize this.

I’ve written some pretty nasty (yet funny) comments on some professional 3D sites in the past regarding HFR and cinema. Things like, As Dolly Parton says, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap” – boy did that get a reaction because it is true. Some have asked me if I hated Jim Cameron or Peter Jackson and I was taken back a little bit, then pondered the question. The answer is no, I don’t hate either of them. I’m disappointed because they have done some excellent work in the past and I expect more from them. I truly believe that it was not Peter Jackson’s intent for ‘The Hobbit’ to look like a PBS Masterpiece Theater Storybook video drama or to distract the audience from the story. I just have to accept that these are very technical Directors that got caught up in a means to an end to solve judder issues with 3D viewing but forgetting about the aesthetic of what the 24 fps shutter brings to the table.

Because I actually know better and have tried for years to get a break in this industry; things like this do anger me at times and more so because none of these movies are true 3D movies in the first place. Nothing is deep and images never fly off the screen – even if the scene can call for it. 3D of the past 7 years has remained homogenized because good 3D takes longer to set up and the studios won’t spend more money for a 3D movie than a 2D movie, so crews are forced to shoot at the same breakneck pace as usual with little to no room for consultants like me or the few talented veteran Stereographers that know what they are doing. This is why unknowledgeable crews and terrible 3D camera rigs have come into existence. There are people calling themselves “Stereographers” making a fortune from 3D and they are all systematically killing the 3D industry by continuously churning out boring, barely 3D content that has numbed audiences to their process all while brainwashing producers, directors and audiences that anything flying off of the screen is a gimmick when the reality is that they can’t pull off these effects without inducing headaches because they don’t know what they are doing! If audiences only knew something better to compare to and demand better…Wishful thinking. They should all watch the adult movie “Erotek Dimensions 3D” on Blu-ray 3D and learn something!
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Jon Neal
The aesthetics of increasing the frame rate is the most worrying sign of cinema's future, much more so than 3D.

It's already difficult to find a 2D showing of new releases, cheap and inferior brands of digital projection are becoming the norm. But 48 frames per second is a fundamental departure from the the established language of cinema. The 'film look' which used to be the holy grail of independent filmmakers and is what we've all grown up regarding as a mark of quality (contrasted with tacky TV soap opera video-look etc) - is all of a sudden being sacrificed by an industry scrambling to make up for the creative deficit ingrained in the vertically-integrated movie franchise "product".

The multi-national corporate structure of today's Hollywood realises that they are running a production line with a business model centred around high short term sales and repeat business coming from a marketable range of products (movie sequels/prequels/spinoffs). It's a risk averse approach to maximise profits as quickly as possible before the punters realise no-one will be watching these products 10 years from now. Transformers anyone?

Films like Lawrence of Arabia are treasured and re-released 50 years later continually making a profit, this risk taking approach to epic filmmaking probably ended 10 years ago - Lord of the Rings being the final example of the old Hollywood.

Now we have a media industry so deeply integrated - one division buys advertising from another division of the same company - promoted on their own TV networks and creativity disintegrates.

The marketing 'experts' are so important that the story/script cannot proceed without extensive market analysis.

The art of Filmmaking is reduced to a brochure of cinematography, editing, music and design styles, so much that every genre, every story, has the same colour template, applied to it - ever notice the orange and blue look nearly every movie has? - not to mention shaky-cam, edited like a feature length trailer, Hans Zimmer's "auto music" etc..

Add to the mix the obsessive paranoia of piracy and you have an industry that will continue to clamp our eyelids open with 3D 48fps HFR technologies - desperately trying to convince us that it will blow your mind. Clearly with some morons this approach works.. Not to mention the casual film goers who don't know or don't care about the aesthetic implications.

The fact remains though - a great many people cannot stand 3D - it does cause visual problems in a significant number of people. Also many people already hate the look produced from 100hz or 'pure motion' or whatever crap is shoved into most TVs but marketed as an essential new feature - just so they can sell the latest model. Fortunately in most cases you can turn these things off. But it is depressing to see Directors such as Peter Jackson falling into such an obvious trap and implementing these gimmicks at the production stage.

This demonstrates an ignorance - or a contempt for the cinema language we all know and love. You don't hear anyone complaining about a properly filmed movie projected in the way perfected over a hundred years - so why are these filmmakers alienating a huge percentage of people, potentially forcing them out of cinemas for good? My guess is that they're only really counting on teenage boys to flock to blockbusters aimed squarely at them. Particularly James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Michael Bay have all but given up on adults anyway. The rest of Hollywood will follow..

24 frames per second is part of film's visual language and it's beauty - you subconsciously register this as familiar to how we see the world (motion blur, judder from eye and head movements) but slightly removed from reality - almost like a dream. This elementally helps you suspend your disbelief at what you're seeing, blending perfectly with narrative storytelling.

48 frames per second breaks this illusion in the same way as nearly every TV show ever made looks hyper-real which, in the same way that digital effects tend to render everything in focus, ignoring depth of field, draws attention to itself - breaking the illusion. Of course, many US shows, despite the TV signal being 50/60 frames per second, 24fps is still chosen because of it's aesthetic superiority. The alternative is everything looking like a soap opera.

The Hobbit looks like a behind the scenes feature - or a live broadcast version of a movie. Why is everyone on this site desperately pushing HFR - laughing off critics as luddites afraid of progress? Most of the arguments idiotically employ the straw man of comparing resistance to the early critics of "Talkies" or Colour etc.. Progress is great - I'm all for it. Just like HD is progress because it brings video even closer to the quality of Film..

..I can tell you - if you think 48fps is progress you've been asleep for the last 60 years during which all broadcast television was even higher than this - in all that time which format was preferred for shooting big budget shows to achieve a quality - dare I say - cinematic look? 50/60 fps video or 24 fps Film?

Speaking of Film - how many people around here are willing to promote shooting in 70mm? There's your sharpness, clarity, 3 dimensional depth and over 8k equivalent resolution. No cheap TV aesthetic - just pure epic grandeur and no glasses!

It's guaranteed that a chunk of the audience will be convinced by the media that they don't need to adjust their eyes - what they're seeing is not a shameless gimmick but spectacle.. Surely this is the intended effect, because when you throw away your creative voice, spectacle is all you have left!

Therefore you have a fight on your hands, but one that I am delighted to take part in.
+1
@Jon Neal
by Ronald Lindeboom
If you actually took the time to read my comments, as well as many of the others here, Jon, you would find that we are fairly balanced. We have critiqued many aspects of the look, process, technique and craft. Many of us have also alluded to the jarring cold slap of reality that takes one out of the story, reminding you that this is indeed a movie. I personally found that very disconcerting as I watched The Hobbit. I also remarked as to how if this is the way that movies are going to go -- and one of the reasons that filmmakers are going this way is that audiences are staying home and the theaters need a "wow" factor to get audiences back into the seats -- the very craft of filmmaking is going to need a HUGE reworking of the techniques of the craft (because there is such a visual disconnect between live and crafted elements).

You seem to have missed much of what has been said and have constructed a straw man of your own. While I do not disagree with all of what you have said and agree with some of your points, you clearly seem ready to throw out the baby with the bath water and that is something that we usually do not do here. We know the future is going to change and that whether you like it or not, the future is going to be different -- and no, as is clearly evident in many parts of our life experience, that does not always mean better.

These arguments went on back in the 20s and 30s, they went on continuously into our modern day where I can remember when Kathlyn and I began building online communities over 17 years ago, people were arguing about the efficacy of digital production itself -- on any level. You may take offense at this but this is an old argument, one that will continue beyond our lifetimes. We are merely the latest practitioners of the angst of the artists and audiences that have debated these issues for over a century now.

Personally, truth be told, in its present incarnation, I find HFR much less convincing and immersive than traditional filmmaking BUT as this is one of the first forays of the format, to dismiss it offhand would be about as big a disservice as watching an early silent film and dissing the filmmaking process because it looks phony. Craft and time move on, that much is certain. We can argue against what we do not like but it is doubtful that any craft will remain static, especially one that has moved to the digital realm. Some experiments will work and others will fail but without a doubt, the future will continue its march. As I said, that doesn't always mean better but beauty has always been in the eye of the beholder, hasn't it?

Oh, and regarding working in 70mm film, that is a format which arguing for makes little sense -- especially in the wake of Kodak's bankruptcy, et al. I am a huge fan of the "David Lean epic landscape" but would never argue that all films should look or be done that way. That's the beauty and integrity of artists, they each have their own way and their own vision and craft. Saying there is only one way to do it is truly a disservice to artists. Voting with one's wallet sends the clearest message to the studios and the filmmakers.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen
@Ronald Lindeboom
by Jon Neal
Ronald, I fully appreciate your response. I have been reading most - not all of the comments. I even noticed your cooling off from HFR after seeing it in action the other day. And that's a huge point! It's clear that many people in the industry have to stake their livelihoods on emerging technologies so will naturally be excited about any new developments to stay ahead of the curve. But taking a step back from the nuts & bolts and seeing the results for the 1st time should be a wake up call..

Having said that - the reason I'm combative is about half of the recent newsletter/major articles in the last month were extolling the virtues or stating the fact of HFR being the future and we'd better get used to it. Simply alluding to it as a controversial subject then proceeding to portray it as a cutting edge technology with inevitable teething problems is not really analysing the creative implications. Not to mention - none of your articles quote anybody against the use of HFR technically or indeed creatively. You only seem to interview the people responsible for pushing this thing and you don't even play devils advocate!

Simply put - it was obvious to me before even seeing the Hobbit - that this would be a complete disaster. The single worst cinema experience I've ever had! Anybody who's ever messed about with frame rates in editing, hell even switched on a 100hz or "Motion Flow" TV could have told you to steer well clear of this. Instead a lot of people have sleep walked into allowing a technique employed by TV manufacturers - trying to shift more units by slapping on the latest "must have" snake oil - to being the best way to get more people into cinemas.

How about making better movies for a start? Why not turn back to existing formats like 70mm to add more spectacle if you think it's necessary? You say Kodak is bankrupt? You should tell the full story. Even without Kodak does the knowledge and materials for any other company to produce film in the future magically disappear? Fortunately Kodak will continue to make motion picture film for the forseeable future - not the least of which is supplying IMAX film to Christopher Nolan et al who - if we're all honest - is correct in championing IMAX as the superior format..

70mm is comparable yet cheaper and easier to use - suited to any kind of story - did you catch "The Master" recently? Anyway the point is, size or resolution can be increased and add scale to the experience, I could even buy into 3D as a tool if the huge problems in convergence and brightness can be overcome without needing to add other problematic technologies - but you will simply never be able to 'improve' the problems that increasing the frame rate will always bring - which alters the language of cinema.

You may say that it's a form of progress that will just take getting used to - but believe me I've tried watching movies that attempt to push the boundaries - I could never get more than half way through "Public Enemies" for example before the look makes the story seem ridiculously amateur, and if "Inland Empire" is anything to go by I may never watch another David Lynch movie..
+1
@Jon Neal
by Ronald Lindeboom
Jon, I can appreciate many of the points you make but unfortunately no amount of arguing either for or against the way things are going, will change the reality that this is but another step in a long process that has been going on since the 1800s. The very nature of people -- and artists, in particular -- is to push limits and break rules. Does that make everything good? No, surely that has never been the case. But if we were to stop doing things because things looked unrealistic or were too phony or that were artistically vapid, there would have been little progress made and we'd have a lot fewer movies to preserve -- though I am sure that few of us would agree even 75% as to what those movies worthy of preservation would be.

I agree that Hollywood needs to get back to storytelling and less immersed in franchises. I go to few movies because I really don't care to see Iron Man 17 or Sherlock Holmes 10. But great stories can be told even in crappy formats like DV. Remember The Blair Witch Project? Not a great movie but not a bad idea for a story and so audiences spent a lot of money to watch it.

You knew that The Hobbit would be a complete disaster before you even watched it? Truth be told, I suspected as much, as well. Why? I knew that there would be a lot of continuity issues and that any 1.0 version of anything is sure to leave a lot to be desired. And it did. But no offense, the AFI and many others cite Citizen Kane as the greatest film ever made -- but if all films looked like that today, I'd have lost interest long ago (and I *love* Citizen Kane). But I also feel the same about Hollywood's "Golden Age" actors -- many of whom I still admire. Yet, I find today's actors to be far more able to disappear into the role -- except actors like Keanu Reeves, Tom Cruise, et al -- because today's actors seem better schooled to not come across as playing the same role over and over. Filmmaking has been an evolutionary art-form in many facets of the process.

You like the Look of 24? Good, so do I. I like it even better than what I saw in The Hobbit and so I find The Lord of the Rings trilogy far more watchable than I found The Hobbit.

BUT...

Was I surprised at this reaction? Not at all. I figured as much would be the case because of many factors that I already knew would be apparent in the screening of a 1.0 premiere outing. Again, this is a new art-form and a bigger change than the combined affect of adding both sound and color. It's sure to have many and sordid missteps along the way to getting it right, if filmmaking's past is any indicator.

Artists will shoot in film for as long as there's a manufacturer willing to make it for them. Some will even shoot in 70mm. But forcing all filmmaking into that format is a little bit presumptive an assertion and while we were indeed enthusiastic about the new technology (and remain so), you do us a great disservice presuming that we think every movie should be in 4k/48/3D. It will work for some productions once the bugs are worked out. But all? I highly doubt it.

I don't want all movies in 48fps and 3D. But I sure as heck don't want to be watching DW Griffith today over and over, just because someone cites him as a genius. Time and things change. That much is certain. It's also certain that not every step along the path will be one which is a complete 100% version of what that idea may be in the days ahead. You are free to throw out the baby with the bath water just as others here are welcoming the new baby.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen
Screen brightness at 48fps and 3D
by David Cherniack
I went a second time to look at the film and, ignoring the story, paid exclusive attention to the visuals.

The matte paintings were bothering me with their washed out look until I raised my 3D glasses and realized that the whites were getting crushed down to about 80 ire (equivalent) by the glasses.

I haven't noticed this in any of the dozen or so 3D projections that I've watched. That may be because:

1) other productions have cleverly worked around bright backgrounds

2)this particular style of fantasy art work badly loses oomph in what is a normal 3D loss of brightness

3)the projector bulb was cranked down deliberately to save money, or was just naturally getting old.

4) I just haven't noticed what is an obvious shortcoming of all 3D projections.

Anyone have any knowledge of these things who can weigh in with some authority?

David
AllinOneFilms.com
Screen brightness at 48fps and 3D
by David Cherniack
I've done some research and discovered this little nugget on the Hollywood Reporter site:

For the premiere, a pair of top-of-the-line Christie Solaria CP2230 series digital projectors—using the Christie Duo integration kit to combine the two—will fill the screen with more than 12 foot lamberts of light. The exhibition community has been looking for ways to increase the brightness of 3D presentations, which according to Christie generally reach just 3 to 4.5 foot lamberts (a measurement of light) while 2D light levels tend to offer 14 foot lamberts.


So it would appear that the 4k projector last night was not a 'Duo' and was probably in the 3 to 4.5 FL range.

David
AllinOneFilms.com
@David Cherniack
by Ronald Lindeboom
Here in San Luis Obispo they are screening the film at the Fremont theater using a 4k Barco 32B projector. I know the guy who owns it and he and I were chatting yesterday about using it to screen one of the David Lean 4k remasters from Sony Pictures. I'd love to see "Bridge Over the River Kwai" or "Lawrence of Arabia" on the big screen in 4k. It is sad that Tak Miyagishima never lived to see these incredible 4k remasters, the lenses he invented that captured these incredible images can finally be seen in all their greatness. Tak, a tip of the hat to you. You rocked.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Jonathan Capra
I'd really like to see a more conventional film done in HFR. Something more plot/dialogue-based I suppose.

+1
@Ronald Lindeboom
by David Cherniack
Yes, I agree that it will take a while, perhaps a long while, for HFR to become the majority of feature productions but I do think it's inevitable as I don't find the argument that 24fps somehow takes the audience beyond the reality of daily life to be that compelling. If anything does that it's the fusion of story with all the other creative elements of film language and 24fps is not one of them. The other arguments against HFR are technical in nature and can be solved with better tech: better make-up, costumes, matte paintings etc.

I fail to recognize any major aesthetic differences. However I'm the first to admit that my vision is less than perfect and I probably should get new glasses.

I agree the battle scenes are not very engaging. Phony? Well, 'realistic' may not be the best scale to evaluate them with. We've seen them already, many times over. How many ways are there, after all, to kill an orc? I don't know whether slicing, dicing and skewering are made more realistic, or more engaging, by motion blur and 24fps but I suspect it may be more a matter of familiarity breeding, if not contempt, then a good dose of boredom.

By "soon fade away" I think 3D will accelerate HFR's adoption. It seems from Debra's articles that the tech is already in place in 900 screens in North America. The cameras can do it. It's really a matter of filmmakers choosing it. For non 3D films the rate will probably be closer to glacial for subjective reasons of custom, ideology, and aesthetics. For 3D it will probably be a lot faster.

I also think that as in the LOTR trilogy we'll see more refined productions in the later episodes.

Personally though, I find myself thinking more about the successes and failures of what they did with the story.

David
AllinOneFilms.com
@David Cherniack
by Ronald Lindeboom
As I said elsewhere, a whole new "aesthetic parlance" needs to be developed by the directors, cinematographers, make-up, effects and other teams working in this starkly more realistic and high resolution format. I really felt bad for the teams thrown into this new "deep water" with little warning: "Hi, I'm Peter Jackson and I will now be your director. By the way, we're going 48 frame, 4K and -- oh, we've got to do three episodes and get them out quick. Ready?" But Peter Jackson is a genius and one of the greatest storytellers of his generation and was more than up to the task -- even with the many faux pas.

As I also said somewhere else, I watched this with a merciful eye because it is a very early example of this new format. With all that they were up against, I think they did a masterful job -- even with all the blemishes.

Have a great new year, David.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen
-1
@Ronald Lindeboom
by David Cherniack
The genius of Mr, Jackson and friends is indeed astounding.

Your merciful eye is particularly appropriate and not just with the pioneering efforts of the technology. It's also the theme of the book, that is present in the film in episodes, particularly when Bilbo spares Gollum's life, but tends to get lost amid the ongoing slaughter of dastardly orcs. Where Mr. Jackson had the biblical weight of world salvation to depend on to carry the LOTR, in the Hobbit the nominal struggle is to recover a bunch of treasure....a much less engaging quest. So when in the book's climax Bilbo merciful nature spares the lives of thousands, in the one third of the book that's represented in the film, it plays a peripheral role, one that's lost amid the falling corpses of thousands of orcs.

David
AllinOneFilms.com
-1
@David Cherniack
by Ronald Lindeboom
Tolkien was a master storyteller and the story he created is one for the ages. The themes are truly as epic as the world in which he brings his characters to life.

I hope your new year is a great one, David.
@Ronald Lindeboom
by David Cherniack
I couldn't agree more...in fact, I have a proposal for a feature doc on the subject...and no funds to do it with :)

Best to you and Kathlyn for the coming year

David
AllinOneFilms.com
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Steve Blacker
Marco makes a good point about the colour grading of the movie. Particularly during the first 3rd of the movie (or so) it felt to me like I was watching a cut of the film that hadn't been graded. I put it down to the 48fps and, to some extent, the 3D (which I've never been a big fan of), but perhaps that's just the look they were going for. Not a good one, IMHO.

http://www.stephenblacker.com
+1
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Marco Circosta Garcia
I just watched The Hobbit a couple of days ago in 48 fps 3d.

First of all let me say I'm generally kind of annoyed by the look of HFR video, it just looks hyper-realistic to me, the lack of motion blur is key to this factor I think.
The reason why a lot of people seem to believe that no motion blur means more realistic is beyond me.
Anyway, I went to see this movie KNOWING I would hate it, despite having loved the LTR trilogy, but I ultimately ended up walking away with a much better impression than what I was expecting regarding 48fps.

Let me start off by saying that in my opinion the real reason behind the "fake" look of the movie has little to do with 48 fps or 3d and has everything to do with photography, studio sets and color grading.

To say that the night shot were overlit would be an understatement, they even bothered a couple of friends of mine who couldn't care less about filmmaking (I'm an editor), and the rest of the movie was generally a bit too bright.

The exterior studio sets (Rivendell, Dol Guldur, Mirkwood) looked really fake, particularly Rivendell, full of waterfalls that reminded me of those you generally find in theme parks. And that was especially noticeable because the other locations and sets looked pretty great.

Last but not least the color grading: I probably hurt my brain watching all those fluffy overly saturated colors fly around on the screen, it was like being in a sea of glowing candy. The matte paintings (and generally the sky) were particularly annoying for this reason.

Ultimately I think a lot of people attributed that fake look to the 48 fps, which just happened to be there to add that little bit of hyper-realism that "collapsed" the movie's visuals.
This was an experiment, and the problem is that before you can judge a "new" technology you have to replicate the experiment a bunch of times, otherwise you'll never be sure if the issue is the "new thing" or just the old stuff, handled badly.

Personally I believe the real issues here were inexperience in the use of HFR (hence the overlit look and the fact that no one seemed to realise that more clarity means giving away fake sets), and a little bit of PJ's personal visual taste (the color grading).

I will say something in favour of HFR though: the lack of motion blur made the visual effects blend much better with the environment and with the actors.
Whenever VFX generated creatures interact with characters on screen I generally don't buy it even for one second, even if I can appreciate the realistic feel of motion capture and facial animations, because of two reasons: the animations always seem too fluid and fast in comparison with human movements, and the motion blur feels off.
This time I almost totally bought it, especially with Gollum.

Anyway I'm ranting too much, let me know what you think regarding these issues.

PS: just to clarify, I ultimately kinda enjoyed the movie, the acting was mostly good and the story was taken straight from the book (which is kinda good, minus the eagles). :)
+1
@Marco Circosta Garcia
by Jonathan Capra
Yes the lack of motion blur was my one criticism as well. I feel like doing the simplest of CGI for TV News (logo fly-ins, etc.) I still know that at 60 fields/sec you still need some motion blur to make things look realistic.

+1
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by clyde desouza
At first I thought Hobbits were swift on their feet. After all, I’ve not followed the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

My exposure to Gandalf and Frodo were back in the day, playing the graphical adventure game on the Amiga.

I’m not sure that Hobbits are fast on their feet, but that was the impression the opening minutes of the movie had on me. Later on as the movie progressed, this strange Hobbit quirk didn’t surface.

I link this phenomenon as something to do with HFR 3D. I hypothesized a few reasons that I experienced this speed-up and slow-down of actor movement:

a) My eyes needed time to ‘run-in’ to get used to 48 fps cinema
b) The projector system or media block had some anomaly? (Barco with RealD filter)
c) That particular movie segment was shot with a quirky 3D camera? Maybe the footage could not be re-shot later?
This was my initial experience of the Hobbit in HFR 3D.

Did I like the Hobbit in 48fps?
Yes.

The rest of my review on the HFR 3D aspect and Stereoscopic critique is here: http://realvision.ae/blog/2012/12/high-frame-rate-storytelling-in-3d-the-ho...

Regards

----------------------------
Clyde DeSouza
twitter: @cly3d
Author: THINK in 3D: Food For Thought for Directors and Cinematographers.

now available on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Think-in-3D-ebook/dp/B007DK92J0

http://www.realvision.ae/blog
-----------------------------
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Thomas Wall
I find it strange that somehow 24 fps has been deified. After all, we got 24fps because it was the slowest that we could move film through a projector and still get decent sound -- it had almost nothing to do with its visual quality at all. (When movies were hand cranked, we had faster and slower frame rates - based on notes sent to the projectionists along with the films.) Yet somehow 24 fps has become the end all and be all of watching "a movie", and any change is sacrilege. Weird.

I'm not disputing that watching rather dim, blurry, often grainy images, flashed multiple times each to avoid too bad of a flicker effect, and changed 24 times a second, can't lead one into a dream-like suspension of disbelief. I just think it's been done to death.

I'm one of those people who have been watching movies for way over 1/2 of a century, and I must say I'm pretty bored by most of them. The "movie going experience" is usually rather ... blah. So I'm all for something that can add some interest, some life, back into movies. However, I find most stereo 3D irrelevant or annoying, not because it's 3D but because most stereo 3D we've seen so far is so poorly done: stuttering juddery motion (or limitations on movement to avoid the effect), usually excessively dim and dark because of the low illumnation from today's projectors (often made worse by theaters turning down the brightness in an effort to save money on the expensive replacemnt bulbs), and the weird effects caused by alternate left eye-right eye projection. Add to that some of the things that many people think you can't do when shooting stereo, and you get a more limited visual palette than 2D rather than a richer one. So I for one look forward to something that can actually expand what we can do with cinema rather than restrict it.

I've seen the test footage that James Cameron and Vince Pace shot, and I must say that the difference between 48 fps and 60 fps was stunning. In some of the ARRI footage at various frame rates, I still see judder and flicker at 48 fps. But at 60 fps, for me, it's gone. For most people (but not all), there is a tipping point above 55 fps where you stop seeing an image projected on a screen; and with higher resolution added in, the screen sort of disappears from your consciousness. It can be disconcerting, because suddenly you can be AMONG the actors, almost WITHIN the scene. As Debra said, this isn't a "filmic" look but it's not a "TV look" either -- I've never seen any TV look like that.

The issue for film makers is just that: the techniques that have been developed over the last century for film and the last half century for TV won't work the same way in this new medium. We will have to learn a new visual language to exploit this stuff. Everything from lighting something so that it looks real whether in front of the physical screen or behind it, to the ways that coverage is shot and edits are done -- all have to be carefully re-thought through. Even things like the shutter angle used can affect the way we perceive a scene, in ways we never expected before. The "uneven-ness" of The Hobbit is, I think, (in addition to the limitations still placed by only 48 fps, low brightness, and temporal stereo artifacts) due to Jackson exploring (and learning) what works, what doesn't, and what can be done about it.

That The Hobbit is as good as it is, it seems to me, is a testament to Jackson's (and his team's) genius and talent.
@Thomas Wall
by Ronald Lindeboom
Like you, Thomas, I watched The Hobbit with a "merciful eye." There were flaws and blemishes from the first scene to the last but they were easy to forgive because as you say, "The "uneven-ness" of The Hobbit is, I think, (in addition to the limitations still placed by only 48 fps, low brightness, and temporal stereo artifacts) due to Jackson exploring (and learning) what works, what doesn't, and what can be done about it."

I would agree with that wholeheartedly.

As I said somewhere else, this is such a new aesthetic that directors, cinematographers, make-up artists, costume designers, effects teams, etc., are ALL going to have to reach into a New Bag of Tricks™ and develop a new visual parlance. It was clear to me that as good as The Hobbit is -- and I loved the movie and will go see it again in a day or two -- it will be viewed as a cute and quaint historical timepiece of a changing visual aesthetic.

And I would also agree that under these difficult conditions, Peter Jackson and Company truly showed their genius.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss
-1
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Douglas Bowker
I've yet to see the high frame rate version, but the 3D 24fps really suffered from excessive blurring and stuttering. Of course it was interpolated 24 fps so that mave been the issue. I wonder if P. Jackson took the whole super clear reality thing too far. Why not add in motion blur if its not showing up? I add in motion blur to my 3D animation in post all the time! The other thing about 24 cps is that though it is not how we really see, our eyes naturally filter out so much detail, both near and far. 24 fps in many ways is part of that natural filtering.

Doug Bowker

3D Animation for the Medical and Technical World
http://www.dbowker3d.com
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by David Cherniack
I went off to my local 4k cineplex to see it in HFR 3D expecting, from all the comments here and elsewhere, a radically different experience.

With all due respect for everyone's strong feelings about 48fps, I saw so little difference that I came away wondering if what was going on here was merely ideology trumping vision. I seriously doubt that your average move goer would be aware of anything other than markedly less 3D flicker. Yes, motion blur is mostly gone and so is pan judder but as for the loss of the mystical effect of 24fps, well that's a shibboleth - a custom, entrenched into an ideological gated community.

HFR is here to stay simply because the technology allows it and 3D, which is also here permanently, demands it. Whatever issues it brings with it, that I feel are minor and mostly of custom, will soon fade away.

David
AllinOneFilms.com
-1
@David Cherniack
by Ronald Lindeboom
I think pretty much everyone knows that HFR is here to stay, David. But I do doubt that the majority of films will be shot in HFR -- at least for the next decade or so. And as for the home, I think the safe money bet is on a slow transition, one which is more than likely to be far slower than buyers adoption of either Blu-ray or 3D sets.

As for your failure to recognize an aesthetic difference between 24fps and HFR, it's hard to comment on that one. (Maybe your multi-cineplex was showing the down-sampled, down-'resolutioned', down-framed and "studiofied" version done without Peter's direct supervision? That's what I suspect. The one thing it seems that nearly everyone I have spoken to who saw the full-baked-cake on a full 4K projector all seem to agree that the resolution is like nothing we've seen up to this point. It is staggering how clear and crisp it is.)

But as much as I liked the image and loved the crisp "non-stuttering" 3D, the hyper-resolution also make the shortcomings of working in the traditional lower-resolution worlds -- worlds where film grain and noise, HD broadcast formats, and other factors forgive mistakes that 4K makes readily and wincingly apparent -- hard to ignore. I believe that as artists get used to the newer realities and how to work with them, this will no longer be an issue. But on The Hobbit these issues made me wince a number of times, as prosthetics attached unconvincingly to skin, different lighting and "presence" in matte painted backgrounds and the live actors, all contributed to my being pulled out of the movie back to the theater, a number of times.

While I agree with your comment about HFR and 3D, it is a long recognized fact that the brain is capable of filling in missing information, something that allowed television pioneers to adopt the interlaced formats that viewers have watched for the last three-quarters of a century or so. (This has allowed creative artists to trick the brain by clever uses of techniques that use lower frame rates to their advantage. I do NOT hate HFR but do believe that directors, cinematographers, effects teams, etc., need to develop and employ new techniques in this new medium before the end result will be the kind of aesthetic that viewers have had in the best outings of the Old Way. As this is an early foray into new territory, it didn't surprise me that the images were so disconnected at times -- both in the differences between the matte objects, etc., and between the live objects and those 3D and other elements created by Weta artists, etc. I cannot recall another movie that I have seen lately -- especially one at this budget level -- that had such egregious visual incongruity such as I saw in The Hobbit. That said, I loved the movie and accepted it all as an early outing of a new format.)

Considering the budget, I would say that The Hobbit has some of the phoniest battle scenes I have ever seen. As in George Lucas's ill-conceived "Star Wars: Episode One" -- in which Darth Maul's appearance and quick dismissal leaves audiences scratching their heads at the anti-climax of it all -- I was never emotionally drawn into the battle scenes because I was constantly being reminded that it was all a movie. (Seeing the make-up and spotting flaws in the prosthetics, noticing the differences and disparities in lighting between the live action, 3D and matte painted elements, etc., will do that to you.)

"Soon fade away"? Are we talking in human or glacial relationships to time?

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss
-1
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by larry towers
I am so tired of people pushing technology while subtly casting blame on consumers for not being ready for it. People have long had experience with higher frame rates with television. And more recently with high frame rate interpolation of Blu-ray sources. How many of us rush to turn off the frame interpolation of our displays when watching HD movies because it looks bad? HFR acquisition/ presentation is nothing more than a better version of something aesthetically terrible! This is not something new that takes getting used to! The point of going to see a movie is not to experience reality, it is to escape it. Did photography end the art of painting or sculpture? The more realistic something is the more it calls attention to itself as something illusory. Realism engages different parts of the brain, causing us to be attentive and present in our physical environment. This interferes with the suspension of disbelief necessary for transportation to a different place. Movies should feel like a memory. Memories are not high resolution/3D. The more convincing the reality is the worse the illusion of being transported. You are just throwing data at the brain that it wants to throw away as superfluous. Save the high frame rates for games/ documentaries/ simulations where immediacy and interactivity is wanted.
As for being "trained" since birth to subconsciously associate 24fps to big-budget, 30fps/60-fields-sec to low-budget" You don't get it. We are trained from birth to see reality. That is pure HFR. People aren't stupid or unprepared!
"Watching 48fps cinema for the first time is like learning a second language for the first time." This is BS seriously. There is absolutely NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING in HFR that we have not seen before. The better it gets the closer to reality it will be. So at its best it will look like something we've seen for all our lives. BIG DEAL!

Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Norman Cates
I work in the film industry, in visual effects, and opinion is rather divided here about HFR. Personally so far (having seen the Hobbit) I find it takes me out of the film. Not because it's more realistic, but because I see it as less realistic. For me, all the motion appears sped up slightly. I hoped that it would get better as the film progressed, but all the way up to the end, it kept dragging me out as everyone felt very Keystone Cops. It's weird because interlaced TV never looks like that to me....

As for resolution, there is only so much you need. Avatar was shot and produced at HD (1920x1080) and projected in cinemas at that resolution. Normal film scans are at 2048x1157 (ish). A little extra resolution is useful for some things, but in the vast majority of situations, you would be hard pressed to see the difference between 2k and 4k images. The movie going public won't notice or care. It's just marketing hype beyond a certain point.
+2
@Norman Cate
by Jonathan Capra
A colleague made a valid argument about why he was leary of 48fps. He noted how he generally can't enjoy live-action stage plays because he feels too present. He can't suspend disbelief because he is too preoccupied with the actual actors before him. In a way, it's unbelievable by way of being too real.

+1
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Jonathan Capra
I think this speaks to our psychology and our stodginess for tradition as a society.

The fact of the matter is, you have been trained since birth to subconsciously associate 24fps with the grandiose or big-budget. You're associations with 30frames-sec/60-fields-sec* are the low-budget (daytime soaps, late night talk shows, local TV news, etc.

But what if had been swapped all these years? What if you had grown up with cinema having been >30fps and TV at 24? It would be >30fps you'd then associate with big budget productions and 24fps with small-time stuff. Your brain would have made the opposite associations.

Watching 48fps cinema for the first time is like learning a second language for the first time. It's awkward, hard to get used to, and frustrating. But that's only because you've had a completely different second-nature up to that point.

But just like DVORAK keyboards, or non-english languages, they are inherently better, but just not better to you because they are not the familiar. Open your minds to 48fps and 60fps. No one would ever say less pixels are better than more. Why do we insist on this in terms of framerate? HFR is simply better temporal resolution than good ol' 24fps.



* 25fps/50fields-sec for my PAL friends
-1
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Jonathan Capra
If 3D makes you ill, or is useless like it is for me (I am legally blind in one eye), grab yourself a pair of these guys before your viewing.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/e9b4/

Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Marco Salsiccia
HFR needs to be stopped in it's tracks immediately. We go to the movies for an immersive visual experience that has been absolutely defined by 24fps. People do not want to see movies in the theatre that have the visual quality of a TV soap opera.

There's almost no benefit at all to HFR. It costs double the amount of frames to render, takes double the amount of frames to roto and track for us VFX artists, and ultimately makes every VFX shot look like it belongs in a saturday morning cartoon. The only given benefit to this new system is that it makes green screen footage a lot easier to key as there is more data to pull mattes from along with crisper motion blur.

There's almost no difference between that and seeing a current film played back with motion interpolation with the 240Hz LCD TVs...it just looks hyper-real and awful, losing the visual "majesty" that we expect from the big screen.

__The Internet Scared me so bad I Downloaded in my pants!__
+1
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Steve Blacker
I saw it on Saturday in 3D HFR, and I was quite shocked at how terrible it looked. I was definitely expecting something different, but I wasn't prepared for how different. I felt like I was watching a bad daytime soap opera because of the high frame rate. It really felt like the antithesis of "immersive" movie viewing, to me. Aside from a few sections of the film where it was less glaringly obvious, I spent most of the time uncomfortably aware that I was watching a film, if that makes sense, as opposed to feeling immersed in the story, as I definitely did with the LOTR films.

I guess there's a lot of positive reaction to 48fps, but I personally don't understand it. I really, really couldn't get to grips with it, and for now I don't see how I will ever come to like it. I'm going to go see the movie 24fps non-3D to hopefully get the bad taste out of my mouth.

http://www.stephenblacker.com
+1
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Buddy Couch
I have to respectfully disagree. There is a major problem from my eye anyways, with the transition from live action footage to special FX footage. Shooting in 48fps coupled with 120hz or higher, I can't imagine how horrid it would look. The top shot where they are standing in rivendale and the mountains are in the background. It yells fake. I realize most people obviously know they did not build Rivendale, or atleast the backgrounds. The reviews I have read have reflected this, as they are giving it terrible reviews for special fx and movie experience in general. The only thing in my opinion that could save it would be story and that's a long shot considering it is hard to watch.

I was looking at transformers on a TV one day at Best Buy that was running 240hz. It was so awful when you were looking at shots that combined live action with special FX (90 % of movie I might add). A blind rat would walk out of the theatre. This was at 24fps so I can't imagine how bad it would have been @ 48fps.

My 2 cents.
+1
@Buddy Couch
by Ronald Lindeboom
Also respectfully disagreeing, Buddy, it seems to me that using this logic, we'd have simply stopped working on better films with the Lumieres, DW Griffith, Thomas Edison and Georges Méliès. Most things start out humbly and get better over time. This is just the beginning. It would be like watching a Georges Méliès film and remarking that, "Hey, it looks phony! It wasn't real at all -- I could tell."

I can remember not long ago when computer animation looked horrid and very unlifelike. Today, there are many times where computer animation is very hard to spot because it has come a long way.

The Hobbit is the first in what will be a long road to greatness. I'd chat more but I have to run to see The Hobbit now. ;o)

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss
-1
@Buddy Couch
by Ronald Lindeboom
Having seen the film now, I must add that while I understand the point of high frame rate cinematography and filmmaking and truly appreciate the format, there are also some distinct disadvantages inherent in the format -- at least when viewed in a 1.0 version like The Hobbit (which is one of the early progenitors of the format).

One of the most obvious weaknesses in the format -- one which becomes glaringly apparent in an action/fantasy like The Hobbit -- is revealed in the battle scenes. In traditional 24fps filmmaking, the audience (and filmmakers) have benefitted from the brain's innate ability to take motion-blurred action/battle scenes to "mentally enhance" what is presented by filling-in missing information that the 24fps format is woefully inadequate to convey. That inadequacy has become an advantage that filmmakers have used creatively to trick audiences into seeing real battle where none is happening.

In the 48fps world, the brain is left with the stark reality of a battle scene that is clearly a staged fight and because there is no "visual deficiency" in information for the brain to fill in, you are left with the realization that this is a story. It is harder -- at least for me -- to enter into and become a part of the story.

Kathlyn told me this morning that at one point she thought to herself that, "of course this is fake, it is a fantasy." While she said she dismissed the thought quickly and loved the movie, she also added that in all 12 hours of the epic Lord of the Rings battle scenes, that she never had that thought.

I love the realism and I see some of the advantages of the format but filmmakers have their work cut out for them in the days ahead to learn to adopt new techniques and solutions to overcome the new deficiencies that come part-and-parcel with the new opportunities.

That was my conclusion after seeing the film in 4K/48fps/3D yesterday.

If you look at the bottom picture in Debra's article -- the one of Bilbo Baggins in Rivendell -- you see another example of so much information (with so little "smearing" and ability for the brain to reprocess the data) that you are hard-pressed to forget that you are watching a movie. I found this sensation a little disconcerting and there were times, especially in the scene of Bilbo & Company in Rivendell, where I felt I was seeing filmed characters interacting in a Maxfield Parrish painting. I love Tolkien and I love Maxfield Parrish, so it wasn't unpleasant, just a little jarring to be so repeatedly brought back to the reality that I was watching a movie. Your mileage may vary.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss
+1
Re: @Buddy Couch
by Noah Kadner
Yeah Ron, I found the 48fps look incredibly distracting from the magic of the movie and the story. It may be technically more real but on an aesthetic level it looked more like 60p, 60i, 30p or the 120hz TVs you see in Best Buy. It looked much less cinematic and much more like the behind the scenes of a movie or even the view you might see through an electronic viewfinder. Not to say it was bad, just different.

Personally I can't see the "HFR 48" format taking off so much as it's not a definitively better look. You may see the occasional big release in that format (i.e. the rest of The Hobbit trilogy) but I'm guessing we're not quite at that quantum leap in image capture just yet, merely another stepping stone towards it.

When we have LIDAR cameras that shoot true holographic images (Lytro is a step in the right direction too) and then project them in true three dimensional holograms without glasses, then we'll take it to the next level. Or we'll just tap into images from our brain directly and bypass the optic nerve entirely a la The Matrix. Give it another decade or two...

Noah

Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Panasonic AC160/130.
+2
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Stephen Knox
I have to say..I saw it in HFR 3D and I was Blown AWAY! You could see every raindrop every blade of grass or leaf of lettuce. I think that every fantasy movie should eventually jump to 48fps
-1
Re: Debra Kaufman's Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Ronald Lindeboom
Because of all the nerve damage I have had due to a lifetime of chronic ear infections, me and 3D had a tempestuous early tryst and a rocky relationship in the beginning. (I suspect that my nervous system can only take just so much stimulation and then it rebels on me. At least that's what I believe.) It would make me sick and dizzy and nauseous BUT like learning to drink beer or wine or a million other things that we learn to do as adults that we'd never have liked as children, I am now someone who truly enjoys 3D films -- especially "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" which I consider the high-water mark to date for the format.

I have had a similar reaction to high frame rates and I suspect that like wine, I will not only learn to like it and acquire a taste for it but it will also improve with time.

Thanks for a great observation, Debra. I wish that Kathlyn and I could have joined you but we are happy in our warm Hobbit hole, eating and drinking and enjoying the warm hearth fires. I am glad that you are getting your 3D "sea legs." It is clear that as 3D gets better and better, the reactions that some of us got are becoming less an issue than some purported them to be.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss
Re: Debra Kaufman's Early Review of The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D
by Kylee Wall
I wish I had thought to start a Tolkien Club in high school! Then I would have had a legitimate reason to hang out with my nerd friends talking about the politics of Middle Earth.

I'll cautiously be attending an HFR screening soon, and I hope I have a similar experience because I usually end up with eyestrain as well.

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