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‘The Hobbit’ 3D may look extra crappy thanks to extra fancy new technology

Nov 7, 2012

Great news, guys—when “The Hobbit” comes out next month it’ll be released in no less than 5 different formats in theaters: 2D, 3D, IMAX, IMAX 3D, and the newest of them all, HFR 3D, a format so fancy it will look like a crappy TV soap opera, according to Gizmodo, a reality that has prompted Warner Brothers to get out in front of all the confusion with a press release about HFR 3D.

See, regular old film is shot at 24 frames per second. HFR technology displays the film at 48 frames per second. Ostensibly you’d think, what the heck, the more frames the better. More frames equals less space in between each one, equals a purer, smoother viewing experience, right?

Well, we already have technology that records at 60 frames per second—it’s called video. As in, regular crappy old video. The Warner Brothers press release describes 48 frames per second as “closer to what the human eye actually sees.” But real life doesn’t consist of frames at all. Gizmodo points out that displaying at a higher frame rate often gives picture a kind of cheap, TV soap opera look. For some reason 24 frames per second seems to be the sweet spot of creating that classy “cinematic” look.

So why do 48 frames per second at all? Hell man, why make the “Star Wars” prequels—because you can. And in this case, you can probably charge way more for tickets. Because the technology is new and fancy.

Peter Jackson has got a seriously good thing going here so far with all that is “Lord of the Rings.” Hopefully he’ll learn from George Lucas and not screw the whole thing up.

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