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First Comments About the Hobbit's 48 fps

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UPDATE: I've seen The Hobbit and posted a video about it.

I've previously commented a number of times about the frame rate of cinematic movies (e.g. here and here). I've mentioned that I think the current rate of 24p is a deficiency that will inevitably be fixed, but it won't be an easy transition for some people. There are those, especially in the film industry, who are very attached to 24p and who feel that faster frame rates are a threat to the art of film.

So a great deal hinges on the reaction to Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, which was shot in 3D and the higher frame rate of 48p (48 fps). Earlier this year a sneak preview of The Hobbit's 48p footage met with mixed reactions and caused those of us who support it to get a little nervous. I've stayed in the 48p camp and I'm still betting that it's just going to take some getting used to.

Now the Premiere has taken place and some of the invited guests have spoken. To be fair, this isn't the most objective audience so we should wait until the masses get to have their say, but for what it's worth the comments so far have been positive. As expected, many commenters said that it took a while to get used to the new ultra-vivid imagery. However they have also said that the adjustment only took a matter of minutes and from then on, they loved it.

Reviews of the film have an embargo until it has screened in the USA, so we don't yet know what the critics think. I doubt whether there will be any immediate consensus - I think it likely that critics and the public will stay divided over frame rates for a while.

But only for a while - in the end higher frame rates will be the norm and we'll wonder why there was ever any argument about it.

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