The Hobbit‘s Futuristic, Magical High Frame Rate to Be Rare as a Late Wizard
Remember when Peter Jackson said he’d be filming The Hobbit so that it could be projected at the unheard of rate of forty-eight frames per second? No, you fall asleep as the word frame rate enters conversation? Okay, that’s pretty understandable. Let me try to get you through this… So Peter Jackson said he’d be filming The Hobbit at a higher… number of frames or film per second of time… so it could also be projected that way, because it was the future now and he thought he would dazzle us all by acting like it, whether we liked it or not.
Now, it’s beginning to seem, like always, that it’s just a little to early for it to be the future yet.
Reaction to Jackson’s decision was mixed, and even negative when footage of The Hobbit screened for small audiences in April. Higher frame rates were reminiscent of pretty much one thing to most television and movie viewers: soap operas.
Oh! Sorry, wake up. I’m almost to the point:
Warner Bros. announced today that the HFR (High Fr — whoops. You get the idea) release of the movie will only happen in select cities, as Variety says, “perhaps not even into all major cities.” There are number of explanations for this, including that Warner Bros. wants to hedge its bets against widespread audience rejection of the format, but it’s worth noting that there are pretty much no public theaters in the US, for example, that are equipped to project that much data at a screen. Those that are closest to being capable are still waiting on a software update for their existing digital projectors that won’t show up until September, when The Hobbit is a mere three months away. Other types of projectors will actually require additional hardware, and yet more others would simply have to be replaced in order to display HFR.
I’m guessing that Warner Bros. has sussed out that many theaters are not going to be willing to make the transition until it’s something that audiences, not studios, are demanding, which, despite promises that The Hobbit has improved since it’s early airing of footage, is not happening yet. Therefore, they’re stating way in advance that they intended to the release of the first Hobbit in HFR to be limited, enlarging with the sequels.