The Hobbit: A Journey into HFR…


January 30, 2013 by Craig Sutherland

What is HFR?

HFR is an abbreviation of High Frame Rate, The industry standard for film has been 24 frames per second since the introduction Synch Sound In the mid- to late-1920s. 24fps was chosen because it was the lowest frame rate possible which would produce a smooth motion it was also cost effective to film in the lowest fps possible to limit the amount of film used thus, saving money.

Peter Jackson and The Hobbit

Peter Jackson’s newest film ”The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” has been shot at 48fps, double the industry standard. What are the benefits of shooting in HFR? From the outset it’s obvious that a HFR eradicates ‘Blurring’ during tracking shots, it also vastly improves the 3D giving a superior depth to landscapes that was previously not possible in standard 3D. So far, so great.

Having seen The Hobbit in 2D and 3D HFR, the first thing i noticed in the HFR version was how ‘Live TV’ the Shire looked… Once we move out of the Shire the whole picture looks a lot better and comes into its own during the escape from the Trolls and the treetop battle with Azog the Defiler.

Cinematographers and Directors of Photography are going to face more scrutiny than they ever have before in HFR, It will also prevent the lazy, blurry, fight scenes we have seen in Michael Bay’s Transformers. There will be films and filmmakers that will revel in HFR, Tron, Avatar and Tin Tin looked great in 3D and pictures that are reliant on CGI should be great when shot in HFR, whilst it will be a learning curve for pictures not shooting on green screen instead mixing costume, CGI and Sets to get the balance right so we don’t see through what they are trying to do.

I’m looking forward to next few HFR films, James Cameron has already changed how we view blockbusters in the cinema by shooting Avatar in 3D and the news that he is shooting the Avatar sequels in 66fps will surely mean we can expect the next generation of Marvel films and summer blockbusters to be HFR.

HFR adds value to the 3D experience and at no extra cost to the regular cinema-goer (At the moment) it’s here to stay and will probably become the industry standard within the next five years.

Virtual Reality headsets next? Johnny Mnemonic? It might happen, Here’s to the future.


One thought on “The Hobbit: A Journey into HFR…

  1. mywac says:

    Thanks for the reference. I agree that high/quick action scenes shot with CGI might benefit from HFR and also that film makers need to be wary we don’t see the joins when mixing CGI and standard shots (not done so well in the Hobbit in my opinion). The jury has to remain out for a while – but first impressions count – and I was not impressed.

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