Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Hobbit film to pioneer high-speed 3D technique

Peter Jackson with the 3D video set up filming for The Hobbit. Picture / supplied
Peter Jackson with the 3D video set up filming for The Hobbit. Picture / supplied

Peter Jackson has lifted the lid on the production of The Hobbit, the much anticipated prequel to his Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings movies.

Pictures on Jackson's Facebook profile give a glimpse into how the movie is being shot in 3D and reveal the film will break with nine decades of cinema tradition.

The Hobbit has so far been shot at 48 frames a second as opposed to the usual 24 - which Jackson said "hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness".

Films have been shot at the slower rate since the late 1920s and while modern cameras can shoot at a faster rate, most cinemas can't project the footage.

"Looking at 24 frames every second may seem okay - and we've all seen thousands of films like this over the last 90 years," Jackson said.

"But there is often quite a lot of blur in each frame, during fast movements, and if the camera is moving around quickly the image can judder."

While acknowledging the technique would offend film purists, Jackson likened the moment to when digital CDs supplanted vinyl records. "There's no doubt in my mind that we're heading towards movies being shot and projected at higher frame rates."

Jackson said the technique meant it was possible to watch two hours of 3D footage without getting eyestrain.

After watching The Hobbit footage for several months he noticed the lack of clarity in normal film and TV.

"I saw a new movie in the cinema on Sunday and I kept getting distracted by the juddery panning and blurring. We're getting spoiled!"

Jackson hoped Warner Brothers would consider showing the movie in the higher frame rate when it is released in December next year.

- NZ Herald

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