X-Men Days of Future Past

Peter Jackson may believe that 48 FPS is the future of cinema, but judging by the severely mixed reactions to last year’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, audiences aren’t quite sold yet. Still, the new format has its share of champions, and now a new report indicates that Bryan Singer could take a stab at HFR cinema with X-Men: Days of Future Past.

If true, that contradicts an earlier confirmation by Singer that X-Men: Days of Future Past would be shot and released in the traditional 24 FPS. So which is it? More after the jump.

Update: Fox has said that the report of Days of Future Past being presented in 48FPS is “completely false.”

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In the first frames of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the camera briefly lingers on a pair of hands in close-up as they light a candle. As the small flame flares, the camera pulls back to show the aged Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), and the seemingly mundane sequence concludes with a shot that might be unlike anything else you’ve ever seen in a theater.

Peter Jackson shot The Hobbit on digital cameras that captured images at 48 frames per second. That 48fps speed, which we’ll refer to as High Frame Rate (HFR) from here out, is twice the long-held industry standard 24fps. The benefits of HFR include reduced or eliminated motion blur, and a notable increase in general clarity. The downside is that HFR doesn’t look exactly like cinema, or at least not like anything typically projected on film screens.

With those downsides noted, consider this, too: that first shot of Ian Holm as Bilbo has more visual information than any shot of the actor in any other film. He appears to be in the same room with the audience. Details of Holm’s hair (a wig), his prosthetic ears and well-designed wardrobe are impossible to miss. It feels, at first, as if it’s impossible to miss anything, so clear is the picture.

Weird, that such heightened clarity should anger so many cinephiles. Read More »