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‘The Hobbit’ apparently not only looks crazy, but may make you barf

Dec 4, 2012

“The Hobbit” is sure to be the year’s biggest movie spectacle. Like “Avatar,” it’s a movie so big it requires its very own fancy new format. Last month we noted that Peter Jackson shot “The Hobbit” 3D at 48 frames per second rather than the 24 frames film is usually shot at, and that it’ll be shown in a badass new format called HFR 3D, a 48 frame-per-second projection setup of some kind.

Gizmodo first reported that the extra fancy technology may end up making “The Hobbit” HFR 3D look extra crappy, with a TV soap opera look, since video that our eye recognizes as being “cheap” is actually shot at 30 or 48 frames per second. (It seems something about the 24 frames per second rate gives film its classic “cinematic” look.) But apparently now some audiences at test screenings are also reporting the look is making them nauseous.

Apparently following the motion in close-ups or in shots with a lot of action at that frame rate causes a “significant amount of cognitive and eye strain,” Duke University’s Adrian Bejan tells Miami Herald Sun. Some audience members have reported nausea while others have reported migraines.

But as The Week points out, one of the “Twilight” movies apparently induced seizures in test screenings and that didn’t exactly turn out to be a deal-breaker. Plus, even the audience members who got sick at “The Hobbit” seemed to love the movie, which bodes well—if you can still love a movie while on the verge of barfing or a splitting migraine, it’s probably pretty good.

If you’re worried all the Orc blood might have you on the edge anyway, you can always just see it in regular old 24 frames-per-second theaters for a barf-free experience.

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