The first installment of Peter Jackson’s new epic trilogy The Hobbit will be out in theaters December 13. While PETA claims that the big scandal of the movie is the death of 27 animals during the shooting of the film, everyone else has been focusing on how increasing the frame rate from 24 fps to 48 fps, capable on the new Red Epic Cameras that were used during filming, will fair on the eyes of human beings.
It really doesn’t matter too much what critics and early viewers say. In the end, whether doubling the frames per second was a good idea or not will be determined by the box office.
Peter Jackson purchased no fewer than thirty Red Epic cameras, which at the paltry sum of $58,000 a piece when he purchased them, are now cost effective enough for directors with multimillion dollar budgets to afford.
Some critics who have seen previews of the movie are complaining that watching it at 48 fps is either making them sick, or they simply do not like the crispness that is given off, as it seems weird to them.
Those in favor of pushing the technology barrier are arguing that this will make 3D films easier on the eyes, as part of the current issues with 3D movies stem from the lower frame rate currently in use. Jackson himself has said that he and his crew have watched countless hours of film in 3D at the new rate with no fatigue. He also claims that while it takes some getting used to, audiences will come to enjoy the new clarity that comes from these new cameras.
I understand a thing or two about getting used to crisper vision. As someone who is nearsighted, the yearly visit to my eye doctor always means a new prescription. It doesn’t matter if I’m renewing a glasses or contacts prescription, the new lenses seem strange to me in the beginning. It usually takes a day or two to adjust to the difference. The same may very well be true for audiences in general with regards to the increased resolution and frame rate of The Hobbit. Maybe our movie going experience needs a prescription as well.
Ultimately, it matters very little what the critics have to say about the new frame rate. We are the market, and we reward those who give us what we want, and punish those who don’t do a good job or are out of step with our preferences through the simple act of deciding where our time and money should go. When The Hobbit hits theaters December 13, we’ll be the judges as to whether or not it was worth the price of admission. If Peter Jackson has done his job properly, it will be he who makes us want to go ”there and back again.”