Why I don’t think “The Hobbit” will suck in 48FPS

I’ve seen a lot of people hating on the idea of a major motion picture being shot in 48FPS. “The Hobbit” is coming out in a couple of weeks and I just watched this 14 minute video on the post production process for the movie and it finally hit me why I think Peter Jackson and crew are sticking with this decision.

When I watch that video, I see A LOT of CG. In a movie of this scale, that is inevitable. I mean they even said principal photography was finished BEFORE all the pre-viz. I’m imaging that’s only possible because they are generating so many scenes completely in the computer. The main reasons most people say they don’t like HFR center around the fact that it looks “too real” and that it stops them from being able to be immersed in the story and the fantasy of the movie. I agree completely with that statement if you are shooting a documentary or narrative. In those types of films, the world you are shooting IS real, so when you see it running by you at 48 or 60FPS, it reminds you of just how real everything in the frame is.

This isn’t the case with movies like “The Hobbit” or “Avatar”. Almost every frame has fantasy or otherwise hyper-real elements. I suspect this is why both Peter Jackson and James Cameron are onboard with HFR filmmaking. They are trying to show you worlds that DON’T exist around you. And when they have the world’s best artists creating these scenes for you, why would you want to watch it fly by with all the motion blur and jitter of 24FPS?

Any gamer will tell you we typically HATE playing our games at anything less than 30FPS. When given the choice of better graphics or smoother gameplay, we will ALWAYS choose smoother motion. Why? Because we need to see what’s going on. When you play a game at slower than 30FPS, you can miss what’s going on around you for even a few frames and end up dead. I think this translates for films like “The Hobbit” because we WANT to see what’s going on. We WANT to see this amazing world that’s been created, just like you HAVE to see it in a video game to keep up with what’s going on.

I hope I’m right about this. Don’t take this to mean I want to see every movie in 48FPS. I don’t. A movie like “The King’s Speech” would undeniably be horrible in HFR, but I think movies with fantasy in every frame will be much more enjoyable once you let yourself get immersed in the experience. I plan on seeing The Hobbit in both HFR 3D and regular 2D, but I will see it in HFR first because I want that new experience to be completely new.