I recently came across an article about the anxiously anticipated follow-up to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. But the article wasn’t about the movie per se. It was about the warning/explanation that will accompany many of the 3D showings of the movie. It’s an explanation about why the film may look “different.”
Below is “The Hobbit” HFR 3D FAQ. HFR stands for high frame rate. As many of you may know, Peter Jackson has filmed The Hobbit at 48 frames per second. That is twice the usual frame rate of 24 fps. Ostensibly this is because the higher frame rate is better for the 3D technology Jackson is using. However, that frame rate renders a more video-like, “realistic” look more akin to soap operas than the soft, tactile look of 24 fps film. Here’s the FAQ:
Not A Good Sign
IMHO, it’s never a good sign when an artist has to explain his or her art. It’s one thing if you have some kind of ambiguous storyline that is designed for people to have their own personal interpretation. In situations like that, you may offer yourexplanation
for the meaning of the story. That’s different. What we have here is an artist who has chosen a particular kind of technology for a particular reason, and because the technology could be off-putting or confusing, an explanation is accompanying it.
Any choices an artists makes should serve the story. I don’t care if it’s effects, frame rate, shutter speed, aperture setting, use of cranes and dollies, whatever. If an artistic decision isn’t serving the story, worse, if it detracts from the story, then one must seriously question the use of said technology.
I have no idea if it was Jackson’s idea to include these explanations, the Studio, or the theater chain. Regardless, it doesn’t bode well.
Faith in the Filmmaker
I seriously doubt I will watch the film in 3D. I strongly dislike 3D (I’m just shy of actually hating it). I hate having to wear those glasses and the effects do little to add to the story. I wasn’t even too crazy about it on Avatar (which many have claimed was an effective use of the controversial technology).
All this being said, I also have faith and confidence in Jackson’s ability as a craftsman. I am confident that the rest of the movie will more than make up for any “soap opera-like look caused by the higher frame rate. I also know that great artists take risks and push boundaries. For that, I deeply respect Jackson’s gamble to spend so much money on such an important franchise. I guess this December we’ll find out if the gamble pays off.
Have you ever found yourself having to explain your art?