Shot at twice the speed of regular films, Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy is going to look fantastic. But how many people will actually watch the adaptation at the high-frame rate the director intends? According to Variety, perhaps not that many. The problem is that most theaters aren’t equipped to show films at 48 frames per second. The remedies range from a simple software upgrade in newer systems to a complete overhauls in other cases. Most of the modern 3D projectors fall into the former category.
Warner Bros. will use The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to test how the higher film rate is accepted both by audiences and theater owners, but studio executives are hedging their bets by converting the film to the more traditional 24 frames per second. That’s no small task, as the people doing the conversion will have to go in and add motion blur where frames are dropped out to maintain a smooth look.
The studio sees the higher frame rate as the future and hopes that, once these hurdles are jumped, people will realize how much better films shot this way look. Theaters presumably will follow suit by making the necessary changes, preferably in time for the release of the second and third Hobbit movies.