Hobbit in 48fps gets mixed reception but Dark Knight Rises audio 'fixed'

Hobbit in 48fps gets mixed reception but Dark Knight Rises audio 'fixed'
Is The Hobbit too real?

Footage from The Hobbit made its debut at CinemaCon this week but it failed to woo the crowds.

There's been much talk about how The Hobbit is being shot, with Peter Jackson cranking out the movie at 48fps – double what most cinemagoers are used to.

At CinemaCon in the US some raw footage of the movie was shown and the results, according to those who have seen it, are underwhelming.

The main problem seems to be that the footage looks too real and feels like it has been slightly sped up.

According to the LA Times – amusingly within the 24 Frames movie section of the site – projectionists who attended the event were not convinced, with one explaining: "It looked like a made-for-TV movie. It was too accurate – too clear.

"The contrast ratio isn't there yet – everything looked either too bright or black."

Another, unnamed like the previous projectionist, said: "The question is if people want to watch movies that really look real or not. I was expecting a subtle difference, but this was dramatic."

The consensus seems to be that the CG was stunning but real actors actually looked a little out of place when shot this way.

Enhanced clarity

Peter Jackson has been very vocal about using the 48fps frame rate and has admitted it does take some getting used to but believes it offers "hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness".

In his video message to the crowds at CinemaCon he encouraged all cinema owners to show the film in 48fps – which will mean many will have to update the software on their projectors to achieve this.

It wasn't just projectionists who were uncertain about the look of the movie. SlashFilm editor in chief Peter Sciretta also had issues with the footage but did note that as this was raw footage, the post-production process may solve some of the problems.

"The change from 24 frames per second to 48 frames per second is HUGE," said Sciretta.

"It completely changes what every image looks like, the movements, the tone, everything is different. It looked like a made for television BBC movie.

"It looked like when you turn your LCD television to the 120 hertz up-conversion setting. It looked uncompromisingly real – so much so that it looked fake."

Considering The Hobbit is a fantasy, maybe making it look real isn't such a good idea.

Moving away from The Hobbit, Warner Bros also showed off more The Dark Knight Rises footage and it seems like the audio issues that dogged the 10-minute IMAX intro have been resolved.

IGN is reporting that the footage shown off at CinemaCon comes complete with crystal clear Bane voice – which will be a relief to all who couldn't quite make out what he was saying when he was in a noisy plane that was crash landing and speaking through a rather large mask.

Via LA Times and the Guardian

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.