Both James Cameron and Peter Jackson have said they plan to shoot in the higher frame rate of 48 fps for some time and it seems we’ll have our first major motion picture released at that speed by the end of the year. The first part of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will release in 48 fps as opposed to the more traditional 24 fps this December. The catch is, as of now, most theatres can’t accommodate the higher frame rate.
Okay, before you freak out and think you won’t be able to see The Hobbit, come on, do you think movie theatres are going to let the opportunity of making mega-money slip by? Hell no. Most chains will use this opportunity to update their equipment. Of course, if you live in a small, one theatre, one screen kind of town you might have reason to worry.
The frame rate refers to the speed at which the individual frames, of which there are usually thousands making up one movie, move through the projector and are, uh, projected. Twenty-four fps has been the standard of the industry for a long, long, long time. But filmmakers like Cameron and Jackson are hailing 48 fps and its even faster sibling, 60 fps as being better at, “reducing or eliminating jutter and other motion artifacts.”
The Hollywood Reporter has all the nitty-gritty details on the conversion and by all means check out their original article. Are we on the verge of another advancement in movie technology? How long before all films are shot at this higher frame rate and 24 fps becomes a thing of the past? Only the future knows.
And actually, you might know sooner than later if your local theatre will be capable of projecting at 48 fps because it’s rumored the next trailer for The Hobbit will release at 48 fps this summer.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey releases December 14th.