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The Hobbit’s 48-Frame Format to Receive Only Limited Release

Shot at twice the speed of regular films, Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy is going to look fantastic. But how many people will actually watch the adaptation at the high-frame rate the director intends? According to Variety, perhaps not that many. The problem is that most theaters aren’t equipped to show films at 48 frames per second. The remedies range from a simple software upgrade in newer systems to a complete overhauls in other cases. Most of the modern 3D projectors fall into the former category.

Warner Bros. will use The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to test how the higher film rate is accepted both by audiences and theater owners, but studio executives are hedging their bets by converting the film to the more traditional 24 frames per second. That’s no small task, as the people doing the conversion will have to go in and add motion blur where frames are dropped out to maintain a smooth look.

The studio sees the higher frame rate as the future and hopes that, once these hurdles are jumped, people will realize how much better films shot this way look. Theaters presumably will follow suit by making the necessary changes, preferably in time for the release of the second and third Hobbit movies.


  • Justice League of Avengers

    people doing the conversion will have to go in and add motion blur where
    frames are dropped out to maintain a smooth look.”

    That sounds absolutely horrible.

  • Stephen Bergstrom

    Man I hope there’s a 48 fps theater near where I live.

  • MoriartyL

    The issue isn’t the equipment, which in many cases needs as little as a software download to be ready for this movie. The issue is the backlash that bloggers had to the 48fps format, which is scaring Warner Bros. off of the idea. (It’s the same reason the Comic-Con footage wasn’t shown in the original framerate.) All the experts agree that 24fps is just a quirk of history that’s not really worth preserving, but to the layperson anything else feels wrong because we’re so used to seeing movies a certain way.

    With this announcement, 90% of my enthusiasm for watching the movie has gone away. I love 3D, and I wanted to see what it would be like without all the suspension of disbelief you need to get through the jerkiness and unrealism of 24fps. Now, I’m worried that either there won’t be any theater near me showing the movie properly, or, worse, that there will be no way to know whether any of the theaters near me are showing the movie properly.