Posted on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 by Russ Fischer
How to sell a new, and visually different film technology to audiences? 3D was pretty easy, as it has been around in various permutations for years; the challenge wasn’t in telling people what 3D can do, but that this version of 3D isn’t as lousy and/or cheap as the tech used through the ’80s. Jury’s still out on that argument.
High Frame Rate (HFR), used by Peter Jackson for all three films adapting The Hobbit, is slightly different. By capturing 48 frames per second rather than the film industry standard 24, a movie using HFR has less motion blur and increased clarity. The easiest comparison is to a modern TV display with a high refresh rate (120hz or higher) turned on. The downside is arguably the same as the downside to that display setting, in that the result doesn’t look like “cinema.”
Serious movie fans understand the difference, but what’s the best way to get a general audience to check out an HFR presentation? Warner Bros, MGM, and New Line, have assembled a FAQ sheet to promote the HFR presentation of The Hobbit. It’s not quite as good as the old cheat sheet made to help audiences with Dune, however.
This image is available from Regal Theaters (via FirstShowing), and likely other chains that will be presenting The Hobbit in HFR as well. Too bad this is mostly just marketing jargon, with the “why do it?” answer being particularly empty — there’s a chance there to really push the idea of HFR, but this sheet isn’t very convincing.