Peter Jackson Explains Why He's Filming The Hobbit at Groundbreaking Frame Rate

The Hobbit Frame RateWriting from the set of The Hobbit, Peter Jackson took to Facebook Monday to blog his thoughts on filming at 48 frames per second -- the increased frame rate championed by folks like James Cameron, who will use it to blow minds in Avatar 2 and 3. Jackson is currently filming The Hobbit in 3-D at 48 fps instead of the industry standard 24 fps, and as a result, the Lord of the Rings follow-up will be the first wide release to pave the way into a brave new digital world of filmmaking -- whether or not theaters around the world are ready for it.

"We are indeed shooting at the higher frame rate," wrote Jackson, enthusiastic about the increased picture clarity and reduced eye strain that shooting a 3-D film at 48 fps allows. "The key thing to understand is that this process requires both shooting and projecting at 48 fps, rather than the usual 24 fps (films have been shot at 24 frames per second since the late 1920s). So the result looks like normal speed, but the image has hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness."

Although most films are currently shot at 24 fps and have been for years, Jackson explains that there's no good reason for filmmakers to remain hampered by the reduced frame rate now that digital technologies have reduced the cost of filmmaking. The biggest issue, for Jackson and other filmmakers who follow suit, is that theaters with digital projectors will have to make adjustments in order to project 48 fps films.

"We are hopeful that there will be enough theaters capable of projecting 48 fps by the time The Hobbit comes out where we can seriously explore that possibility with Warner Bros.," he continued. "However, while it's predicted that there may be over 10,000 screens capable of projecting The Hobbit at 48 fps by our release date in Dec. 2012, we don't yet know what the reality will be. It is a situation we will all be monitoring carefully."

· 48 Frames Per Second [Peter Jackson]


  • MCU says:

    24. 24fps. Twenty-four frames per second.

  • Jen Yamato says:

    Aaargh. TY.

  • Mike the Movie Tyke says:

    This would have made a great April Fools story.

  • G says:

    At the rate there going, it seems entirely possible Avatar 2 and 3 will be released pre-Hobbit.

  • Pat says:

    Eh... none of this sits well with me. The 3D, for starters, just irks me. It's a lame gimmick held over from the 1980s no matter how you cut it, and Peter Jackson should know better than to apply such a dated and pointless technique to a movie that deserves the timeless qualities of The Hobbit. I would much prefer The Hobbit to have a more classic "filmed" look, too, but that's probably just me. If I'd grown up more in the age of records, I'd probably have rebelled against tapes and CDs. But what can I say... I LIKE film. Digital has reached a point where it looks almost too sanitized and too perfect, as if not created by human hands. It just doesn't sit right with me yet.

  • Bob says:

    It will at least be interesting to see what it looks like. I'll reserve judgement until then.
    For all you party poopers, it will also be shown on film at 24 fps in 2D (just so you know).

  • Mike says:

    This is a very bad idea. 24 fps is what creates that "film" look. Do we really want movies to look like a TV sporting event? I also hate that he is shooting this in 3D. The Lord of the Rings still looks amazing, why fix what isn't broken?

  • Phil says:

    Won't this double the rendering costs of the digital sequences (which I'm assuming will comprise 90% of the movie)?
    It's 3d so they're already rendering it twice. Surely this means 4 times as many frames as a 2d 24fps'er.

  • I am always thought about this, thanks for putting up.

  • And if you're really a Tolkien fan, you can watch the 48fps version in 24fps and the movie will be twice as long!

  • Would anyone who has been a element on the program from the beginning mind sending me copies of the prior letters? I am signed up now but unfortunately did not hear of this until now. Many, many many thanks in advance.