'The Hobbit' Gets Cold Feet? Comic-Con Footage Won't Be 3D/48FPS

July 12, 2012
Source: LA Times

The Hobbit Footage

One of my most anticipated presentations at Comic-Con 2012 is Warner Bros' Hall H panel on Saturday, partially due to The Hobbit getting a big show. It's obvious this (Comic-Con) is the perfect fanbase for Peter Jackson to bring footage to and introduce his cast to, but apparently it's not the crowd for 48FPS. As we all know, when Jackson revealed the first 10 minutes of 48FPS Hobbit footage at CinemaCon earlier this year, reactions were very negative (even I agreed, unfortunately). I was looking forward to seeing how this crowd would react to 48FPS and if it looked any better now. But, it looks like that will not be happening.

Director Peter Jackson spoke with the LA Times' Hero Complex as prep for his presentation on Saturday, but one of the most revealing and interesting news items in it, was that he would not be showing the footage in 3D or 48FPS, at all. That is quite a surprise. Especially because I was hearing buzz that they tried to tweak the 48FPS to look even better. His quote about Comic-Con is one of the most honest I've ever heard.

"I think it’s more about protecting the downside, rather than helping the film in any significant way. There is a huge audience waiting to see The Hobbit, and any positive press from Comic-Con will truthfully have little impact on that. However, as we saw at CinemaCon earlier this year, with our 48 frames per second presentation, negative bloggers are the ones the mainstream press runs with and quotes from. I decided to screen the Hobbit reel at Comic-Con in 2-D and 24 frames per second, so the focus stays firmly with the content and not the technical stuff. If people want 3-D and 48fps, that choice will be there for them in December."

Wow. Cold feet? Or, as our friends at The Playlist said, "nice dodge?" Too nervous they're going to get more negative reactions? Why not flaunt the new 48FPS? I am truly surprised and kind of shocked that he made this decision about the footage. I honestly felt like the Comic-Con crowd and these fans would be the most open to 48FPS, and accepting of the other creative choices Jackson has made (we all trust in him, right?). But I guess that won't be the case anymore. I am still very curious to see how the footage plays and I'm sure fans (myself included) will be going crazy anyway. And if anyone asks Jackson about 48FPS during the Q&A.

We'll still be at the Warner Bros' presentation on Saturday, and we'll keep you updated on any other news or any other happenings regarding The Hobbit. Are you still concerned about seeing 48FPS footage?

Find more posts: Comic-Con 12, Discuss, Movie News, Rumors



Why would this crowd be the most open. Fanboys are the worse too often and I say that being one myself. But I'm pretty open about new stuff and formats. Look at the constant whining about 3D as good example. And like he said, media outlets and fanboys and fans in general are too often guided by the negatives more than the positives, even when the former is just a minority. Probably because the "haters" are always the loudest

rocky728 on Jul 12, 2012


I think this is right move. I would be a terrible thing if the Hoard, turned on the film while it was showing. It would a massive blow to the hype this film has going for it. The venue is simply too big and unpredictable. "This is why fanboys can't have nice things."

DAVIDPD on Jul 12, 2012


"Why not flaunt the new 48FPS?" Because, as Jackson indicated, the result last time was little more than comments about the technical stuff, as though The Hobbit were nothing more than an otherwise meaningless technical exhibit, with the negative reactions given the most attention. And your response? Mostly a negative reaction focusing mostly on the 48FPS issue as though The Hobbit is little more than a meaningless technical exhibit. The Hobbit is The Hobbit. People can watch it 2D, 3D, 24 FPS, 48 FPS, in any combination they happen to prefer. He's absolutely right to focus on the movie itself, and leave the technical discussions to the side for those who wish to argue about them. Those of us who actually care about the movie will go to see it in our favorite format, or maybe in all the formats, just for the fun of it.

MyrtleMartha on Jul 12, 2012


My only concern is that (cheap 3rd world) cinemas in South Africa would not screen it in 48fps. I want to see it the way it was intended!

Rider on Jul 12, 2012


You know Ster Kinekor, the largest cinema chain, is going all-digital right?

mrmaboea on Jul 12, 2012


As sad as it is to say (because I respect Jackson tremendously as a filmmaker), this reeks of someone who has no faith in the product he's trying to sell us (48fps). Plus, using negative reaction from film/media professionals as a scapegoat? You're better than that, Sir Peter. I think - if anything - Comic Con is EXACTLY the place to showcase this new tech. If it's everything they say it is, then you'll get nothing but praise from fanboys that will become word of mouth, and make the changeover easier. If it's sh**, then maybe you should trust your core audience and stop chasing after it when no one wants it.

Pete the Geek on Jul 12, 2012


I would agree if it were possible to make a good opinion based on a couple of minutes of footage. The fact is that something new and radical will jolt you at first but after maybe 15 minutes you stop focusing on it and it becomes a non-issue. Here at the con fans will react without having ample time and footage to truly digest the format, IMO

rocky728 on Jul 12, 2012


It's not even specifically about "the format" - it's just that 48fps is jarring and not what people associate with the "cinematic look". I haven't seen his footage specifically, but I've seen a wide variety of fps/shutter angle combos over the years, and what he's filming in is going to look bad to a lot of people. The story will still be there, the performances, but honestly - the cinematography is going to be a sticky issue and this comment feels like he knows it. That's why it got negative reviews (because it looks wrong), not some convenient perceived negativity in the media. It's not about "what looks better" or "the next level of film" or any of those ridiculous promises (just like it wasn't when they used the same lines to justify 3D). This is a move to increase ticket sales and cut back on digital piracy, that's why Hollywood and filmmakers are all about it. But the fans... we get the short end of the stick. Sure, if you are a HUGE fan of 3D films (I know exactly no one like that, but I understand there are people out there), shooting in 48fps improves the clarity of the 3D footage, but it does nothing for regular 2D viewing (which is why Jackson is simultaneously filming in 24fps for the 2D version). The reason Hollywood as an industry stayed with 24fps instead of increasing the framerate isn't because of "outdated technology" or "antiquated tradition"... it's because that's what audiences like best - that's what makes film look like "film". Otherwise we would have moved to the standard video framerate (29.97fps) a loooong time ago. Instead, we just built all our high end cameras with a 24fps mode so that we could make our videos look more like film.

Pete the Geek on Jul 14, 2012


24 fps is what people think of as "the film look". That being said, you simply can't go changing the frame rate willy-nilly with film. The inertia of the existing infrastructure in cinemas was absolutely mindboggling: - most projectors run at a fixed speed of 24 fps, with no easy way to change it at all - let alone *switch* between frame rates - going from 24 fps to 30 fps is a 25% increase -- in print costs, shipping, storage, etc. We are now finally reaching the point where the infrastructure in the cinemas is flexible enough accommodate pretty much anything up to 120 fps (2D) / 60 fps (3D) -- except for the 1st generation digital projectors, which can't go above 48 fps (2D) / 24 fps (3D) due internal bandwidth limitations. Your argument "if it was better, we'd have moved already" is very naive...

Jussi Siponen on Jul 17, 2012


As much as film quality enhances visuals, the story has to be there. I remember watching ET on a terrible pirate copy as a child on video, I still enjoyed it even though it was pretty much 3 pixels moving around. I'm not so fussed about 3d for the Hobbit, it isn't going to make a difference to me, also I think humans miss frames and can actually fill in the blanks with their minds. Sometimes the clarity takes you outwith the fantasy.

Carpola on Jul 12, 2012


ill see the hobbit, regardless of what they do to it. They could show it at cinamas wiht a cam corder and id still watch it.

nyran125tk on Jul 13, 2012



Carson Tietjen on Jul 13, 2012


Dissapointed that they won´t show it in 48f/s to the comic con crowd. Would have been great to read about their reactions. The director/studio should have chosen a 20 minute clip and just run with it. Like they did on lotr in Cannes but with 48f/s.. After 5 minutes they eye would have adjusted and the fans would have been more positive than last time they showed 48/s. Why not show the troll shaw scene: dwarves arriving, the fight against trolls and then cut before gandalf shows up. Show another scene from mirkwood or any other set piece that the director feels can represent what he is doing.

Frodos cousin on Jul 13, 2012


When it was annouced that The Hobbit was going to be shot in 3D, Jackson was quoted as saying that he had to agree to do so to ensure that he got the financial backing from the studio to do the project, so that alone said he wasn't in favor of 3D. No interest in 3D anyway, I just want The Hobbit movies to have the same look and texture of the LOTR's movies

Hattori Hanzo on Jul 13, 2012


guess we have to wait till cameron does it 48fps, then everyone will follow

me on Jul 13, 2012


Readers should go to FB and read his whole statement. PJ sounds more confident about the 48fps than this article makes it seem.

veritas on Jul 13, 2012


He absolutely made the right decision. Lots of people criticize anything new, but wouldn't even notice the difference if it weren't brought to their attention. This will help the Hobbit avoid those naysayers. As far as I'm concerned, a faster frame-rate can only be an improvement. I could be wrong (I haven't seen the footage), but I tend to think that people who don't like the 48fps don't know what to look for/are letting their expectations determine what they see.

JayArby on Jul 13, 2012


I don't know what 48fps is going to look like as a movie, but I will keep an open mind. However I still do not like 3D projection.

rennmaxbeta on Jul 13, 2012


I say stick with the format we all know and for the most part love bunches.

Xerxexx on Jul 14, 2012


"Wow. Cold feet? Or, as our friends at The Playlist said, "nice dodge?" Too nervous they're going to get more negative reactions?" ... Well yes. Did you not read the quote you posted where he said exactly that? He wants some press about the film's content rather than a load of negative stuff about the tech. Good move IMO and not really a "dodge".

Joe Wheeler on Jul 15, 2012

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