The Hobbit Comes With An FAQ Explaining Why It Will Look So Weird

Not every theatre will be showing Peter Jackson's The Hobbit in its native 48 frames per second. But for those that will, Warner Bros has created this handy FAQ that explains why the high frame rate 3D technology could make the film look like a TV soap opera.

Because nothing guarantees box office success like having to justify a film's look well before it even hits theatres, right?

As we've already explained, films are typically shot at 24fps, which is partly what is responsible for that 'film look' that sitcoms and soap operas are lacking. Peter Jackson has justified his decision to shoot at the even higher 48fps to make the 3D seem even more real and to be gentler on the eyes with less strobing and flicker.

But early showings already indicate it will take audiences a while to get used to the new format, and if Warner Bros feels they need to go so far as to educate theatres so they can respond to complaints, it might be a good idea just to stick with a 24fps showing.

[Regal Theaters via First Showing]

WATCH MORE: Entertainment News


    Glad I get a choice. Not only is 3D hideously overpriced to go watch, I get a bloody bad headache in about 5 minutes.

      Get a couple of pairs of 3D glasses and swap a lens from each, instant 2D HFR. It'll cost more, but at least you won't be socially isolated from a group viewing.

      Wait, so I can't actually watch it in 48 frames without seeing it in 3D? Lame. I thought I could still watch it in 2D at 48fps.

        Why would you want to? 48fps would look horrible. There's a reason why 24fps and 25fps are the standards.

          ..not! I'm a film/video colourist, 24, 25 and 30fps are historical compromises based on tech restrictions, not ideal viewing rates. We need to do a lot of fiddling to make something look good at 25fps, people just aren't used to footage looking twice as smooth!

          3D I don't really care about, but these guys whinging about INCREASED framerates just don't know what they're talking about. It will however, force the film makers to much higher design standards because we notice more details.

          Yes, it's a standard because 24 fps was the minimum frame-rate where there wasn't overly noticeable flicker that affected viewing, thus saving money by not needing to use excess film medium. 25 fps was used because it happilly fitted with 50 hz power cycles in 240v countries.

          24fps for film, smooth motion and saves money because film is expensive
          25fps used where the mains power is 50hz, interlaced. i.e Australia
          30fps used where the mains power is 60hz, interlaced i.e America

          That obviously has little bearing on computer and new fangled digital displays

          Nothing to do with how good they are to look at, 24fps is purely saving money and 25/30fps is a tech limit.

          Last edited 08/11/12 2:43 pm

        You'll get nothing, and like it!

        I'm also disappointed. The combination of low frame rates, shaky cam and fast action sequences we see in so many films these days just results in an incomprehensible visual mess. I know from computer games that higher frame rates solve this problem, at least for me, and make such sequences far easier to watch. I was really hoping this was the beginning of a transitions to higher frame rates more generally.

        To be honest, even 48fps is pretty low. The flicker fusion threshold for humans is around 60fps, so really we should be aiming for that or a little higher. To put this into context: Would anyone honestly buy a display with a 24Hz or even a 48Hz refresh rate? So why do people seem happy to watch content at this same rate? Crazy!

      I get a headache watching 3d at 24FPS too. Apparently from what I have heard from others is that @48FPS with put less strain on the eyes. Whether it will actually work or not I don't know. Will have to wait and see.

    The low frame rate of big-screen cinema and 3D is my biggest issue with modern movies. I can't see why any explanation is necessary. It's going to be the best version by far. And will I feel "disoriented" because some HD TV shows on my "small" screen at home share the same frame rate? No.

    "and if Warner Bros feels they need to go so far as to educate theatres so they can respond to complaints, it might be a good idea just to stick with a 24fps showing." Seriously Andrew why do you blog for a tech site if you don't like it when people push boundaries?

      Finding a better way to project a movie in a cinema is not really pushing boundaries.

      It's like saying, "How can I make this wheel more wheel-like?"

        Still it's an advancement and something the tech community should embrace in any form. Maybe pushing boundaries wasn't the right turn of phrase. Go against the grain perhaps??

        Why stand still when you can move forward?

          Just because you are moving forward doesn't mean you're going somewhere good.

    It's really disappointing to see the high number of anti-3D Luddites on a TECH site.

    If you get headaches, fine. The rest of you ARE luddites. Face it.

      Higher resolution = more immersive.

      Having shit pop out at me = rubbish gimmicks.

        It's only a gimmick when it's used in that way. If it's subtle then it adds more 'depth' so to speak, to the experience; That is, is 'should' be used in a way that after a while you forget about it.

        Sadly many movies have used it as a gimmick to draw people in.
        Post production 3D is almost always pretty lame in comparison to movies filmed in 3D(to high standards).

        It's also worth noting that it generally takes a little bit to get use to 3D. And depending on a whole bunch of other factors it can strain your eyes more or less. Things like separation and convergence of the actual image you are looking at, size and distance from the screen, the type of 3D (Active, vs Passive), the type of movie or game, etc.

      Luddites were not anti-technology, as many people seem to believe. They were against the introduction of machines that destroyed their trade and livelihood, and/or the use of machines as leverage to lower wages and worse working conditions.

      People not liking 3D has absolutely no connection to the Luddites. Personally, I quite like 3D when it's done properly ie. filmed in 3D. Unfortunately, 3D is invariably tacked on in post-production so most 3D content is rubbish.

        Yeah I'm not a big 3d fan, but more so cause I have seen a lot more bad 3d movies than good, which has nothing to do with the tech more its implementation.

      Ignoring the whole Luddites definition, I'm not a fan of 3D and I don't get headaches. I've thought about why I don't like it a fair bit and basically come to the following conclusion:

      These seem like good progress to me
      - Add sound to a black and white movie, makes sense as sound is in real life and the speakers create actual sound waves
      - Add colour to black and white movies, make sense as colour is in real life and the screens actually create different frequency light/colours
      - Add surround sound to movies, makes sense as sound doesn't always come from in front of you, multiple speakers actually create sound coming from different directions
      - Add 3D to movies, makes sense as we see in 3D, somehow create 3D holograms or something that are actually in 3D

      However, these options are only half way there and make it seem weird/make me not like it
      - Add surround sound to movies, makes sense as sound doesn't always come from in front of you, use a soundbar (or similar approach) under the screen to try and trick your brain into thinking sound is coming from multiple directions
      - Add 3D to movies, makes sense as we see in 3D, use a flat 2D screen with polarising or active lens glasses to try trick your brain into thinking it is in 3D

      So basically, trying to trick your brain into thinking something is what it isn't, for me, makes it annoying and I don't like it

    I'll be watching this at Dendy Premium Lounge, and I'm pretty sure they don't have 3D :D

    OK, I'm pedantic, but this bugs me. Why are they calling it an FAQ?

    How can these questions have been frequently asked if the public has not even seen the movie yet?

    Perhaps it should be QWTFSHAT Questions we think folks should have answers to, or QOTTOWDWTBA: Questions other than the ones we don't want to be asked!

      Read the questions again, none of them require you to have seen the movie, they are all relating to the tech itself, so there is no reason why they couldn't have been asked frequently.

      Plenty of people have heard about the new video format and have heard mixed reports from "experts" and have questions about what is really happening.

      I've never flown on the space shuttle but I can go to NASA and find a FAQ about space flight. I think you need to pull you head out of your nether passage and join the rest of the world.

    Wait so you can only see it in Imax 3D or HFR 3D? Not HFR at Imax?


    Another 3D format I'm not going to bother with.. another format that's going to take up precious cinema space.. another format that is going to make it harder to see the movies I want to see in 2D..

    I prefer the cinematic style of 24fps... doesn't mean I dislike technology or I'm a luddite, I just prefer my movies to look like movies, and not daytime TV.

    To be honest I have not watched anything in 3D that has wowed me enough to see the big deal. I mean Avatar was nice in 3D, (ultimately I thought it was a crap movie), but nothing extraordinary.
    I don't get headaches or any issues with 3D, just don't think it is that good.

      each to their own, I find that it makes the picture look more vibrant and better definition, particularly in animated or CGI footage.

        I saw Prometheus in 3d looked awesome for the intro then kinda didn't notice it after that. Wether it was bad 3d or my brain got used to it dunno.

    i wanted to see the 48fps 3D version in gold class, but it looks like vmax will be the only way to see it at 48fps in 3D. :(

    I remember my Grandad telling me a story about how his mate would complain to him that sound in film would ruin the industry.

      hahahaha, that's funny as. And it did! Have you seen the Kath and Kim movie? You might be able to tolerate that shit on mute.

    Title of article is misleading. Who is saying it will look "weird?" How is 48fps "weird" looking? Andrew, have you watched The Hobit on HFR 3D to qualify calling it "weird" looking? They are simply explaining the tech behind it in an easy to read format. I for one found it informative.

    Or are you a troll masquerading as a tech journo (and I use the term 'tech journo' extremely loosely)?

    Or are ALL new technologies labelled "weird looking" in your book?

      I was baffled about that too, then I read the article... The word "Weird" is not necessarily a negative word. It can simply mean, out of the ordinary.

    Can Giz give us info on where in Sydney we'll be able to see it in HFR 3D? I'm willing to give it a go, but I don't know where!

    Wait... did I just see people bitching about a higher framerate?
    Less faux motion blur, more detailed fast motion, and less likely to melt your brain after a few minutes because fast refresh rates are superior for watching motion?
    ...and people are actually bitching about it?
    Your punishment for this blasphemy shall be: Forced to play a first-person-shooter or driving game at <20 fps for 5 hours.

      Yeah I hate CoD at 60fps its way better at 15.

        Yeah i hate playing all my games at 120 FPS (120hz 3D monitor), and watching blueray movies on a 200hz TV such scum inventing tech that allows a picture to be smooth so i can every detail of the boo..... i will stop there :D

    Tell you what I learned from this?
    They're making three 'The Hobbit' movies it seems.
    How? THe Hobbit was pretty damn short and empty!

      This is the best explanation I've seen so far.

        Well obviously it's nice to know that the story that is least likely to make cash (the hobbit) will now because everyone knows how well he made the trilogy.
        But without the hobbit, the LOTR has no origin story.
        Sure it may not need it because LOTR stands alone, but for those of us who read the books as kids... the Hobbit is the clincher. The reason we read the LOTR. I think it's intelligent to do it last. So that the first movie in the box set holds it's own production values relative to the other 3.

        On a completely different, third, other hand: there is The Silmarillion: Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

    You dopey bugger Al, you're just weird. If the wheel was invented with a strip of bamboo curved into a hoop, would it really be suffice to just stop there? No, just the same with digital display's I suppose you're happy with your 256 x 256 full mono display? No didn't think so

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