There was quite a fuss at Cinemacon earlier this year when Warner Brothers screened about 10 minutes of footage from THE HOBBIT at 48 frames per second, as opposed to the regular rate of 24 frames per second that we all see when we sit down at the cinema. And the response was decidedly mixed. Many people who saw it didn't care for the look at all, comparing it to live television and claiming that the sets didn't look real, while others thought it looked striking and beautiful - people would need to get used to it and that perhaps 10 minutes wasn't enough time to acclimate to the technology.
When I read about the footage myself, I was concerned - no doubt it will be something of a paradigm shift for movie geeks - and Harry and I talked about the possibilities on the phone for a long time. One of my biggest concerns is that my eyes aren't in the best condition, and as all these new technologies come into play, I worry that movies are going to leave people like me behind. I think 3D dims the screen entirely too much, for example. That said, I haven't seen frame one of 48fps and I remain optimistic that seeing it is going to be tremendously exciting. Devin Faraci, who decried the technology, admitted that the outside tracking shots of THE HOBBIT that he saw at Cinemacon were truly groundbreaking stuff, and Peter Jackson and his team have had quite a bit of time to tweak and correct the movie so that when it does open, I'm confident that it's going to look incredible.
That is, if it opens in 48fps near me at all. According to Variety, Warner Brothers is being very careful due to the feedback from Cinemacon, and will be releasing THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY in 48fps in very limited markets, with the possibility of rolling it out to more theaters across the country if feedback is good. I don't think that's the way to go with this, personally - WB shouldn't be cautious about this new technology if they have faith that it works. More recent generation digital projectors can be upgraded to include the new frame rates - many already have been in anticipation of the movie - and I really want to see it in 48fps to judge it for myself. I know Harry is very excited for the new technology, and I really want to check it out. Hopefully we all will very soon.