Wednesday, April 06, 2011

THE HOBBIT Shooting At 48 Frames Per Second!

I had to do some digging on this and it seems to be true! After James Cameron told us that Peter Jackson had CONSIDERED shooting THE HOBBIT in a higher frame rate, it turns out that they are in fact shooting at 48 frames per second (fps) rather than the industry norm 24 fps.

All of this has come out of an email to IF from THE HOBBIT cinematographer Andrew Lesnie:
- Being shot on 30 RED EPIC cameras (knew this already)
- Using Zeiss Ultra Primes, Master Primes and Optimo zoom lenses (would expect no less)
- Shooting at 47.96 frames per second
- Using 3ality Digital rigs (knew this already)

Amazing! We are in for a treat!!

Now this lends itself to a bit of discussion surrounding AVATAR 2 actually. Cameron was going to let the industry decide between 48 and 60 fps and if THE HOBBIT is shooting at the lower rate then I would wager there is industry movement as a whole to adopt 48 fps as the top end standard. Cameron said that one of the reasons why Jackson didn't choose a higher frame rate (before this new info of course) was because he didn't want to select the wrong frame rate if the industry went to the alternative. It all points to a consensus on 48 fps to me. Which means... AVATAR 2 has better odds of being in 48 fps now.

60 fps adds some further integrity to shots but it is not all that much more improvement over 48 fps. This means you have to weigh the cost / time / resources of rendering those extra frames per second vs. actual improvement for the audience. Bottom line: 60 fps would be significantly more expensive to implement for the modest visual gains.

It seems we have a winner in 48 fps!
I am just happy higher frame rates are being adopted!! Another victory for digital. Just think: THE HOBBIT in 3D, directed and written by Peter Jackson in 48 fps! Can't get much better folks. And I can't wait to get my first set spy shots!! (that's a hint to all my sources... :-)

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