Inside the Tech Of The Hobbit: Frame Rates and 'Softening' Desolation

As you’ll know, if The Hobbit trilogy means anything to you, an Unexpected Journey caused controversy with its high framerate, unsettling viewers and, in come cases, making them feel physically sick. And while a tangible reaction is something all auteurs strive for, Peter Jackson will have been looking for goose bumps rather than sick-bags.

Martin Freeman in The Desolation of SmaugMartin Freeman in The Desolation of Smaug

An Unexpected Journey was one of the first major cinema releases to be screened at 48 frames per second, which caused many to complain about the super high frame rate. Usually, on a smaller screen, people strive for 60 frames per second – videogamers especially – but on the large cinema screens, it didn’t sit pretty.

So, learning from the mistakes of the first film, Jackson set about making changes for The Desolation of Smaug, which recieves its worldwide release tonight. "Forty-eight frames per second is a way, way better way to look at 3D," Jackson told Variety. "It's so much more comfortable on the eyes." He said the screen blur, or strobing effect of lower rate film "certainly is one of the contributing factors to eyestrain and people having an uncomfortable experience in 3D".

For Jackson, the crux of the complaints was just how sharp the image was – something cinemagoers hadn’t experienced before. But considering he’s essentially got something to sell, change wasn’t something the director was scared to adopt. "So what I did is work that in reverse," he said.

"When I did the colour timing this year, the colour grading, I spent a lot of time experimenting with ways we could soften the image and make it look a bit more filmic. Not more like 35mm film necessarily, but just to take the HD quality away from it, which I think I did reasonably successfully. The film speed and the look of the picture are [now] almost, kind of, two different things."

With this slight softening, Desolation takes on a more classic look, while retaining the clarity and crystal clear qualities that come with an HD picture. It’s not solely been responsible for the 9% hike in positive reviews since Unexpected Journey, but it’s certainly a sign the trilogy is moving in the right direction, and right in time, too.

Watch the Desolation of Smaug trailer right here


Tags: Peter Jackson - Martin Freeman


More Peter Jackson

Film Franchises That Go On Forever

The Hobbit trilogy has been criticised by some viewers for having too little content spread too thinly over the course of too many films. Originally,...

The Best Movie Trailers To Emerge From Comic-Con 2014

The San Diego Comic-Con may be over but the buzz surrounding its contents is only just beginning. Showing teasers left, right and centre, the convention...

Middle Earth is Ravaged By War in 'The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies' [Trailer + Pictures]

As promised by the release of Smaug from Eribor, war has descended upon Middle Earth and threatens to strip landscape of peace, serenity and beauty....

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Trailer

Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the mini-army of dwarves led by Thorin are facing an evermore deadly path in their pursuit of the Lonely Mountain and...


"The Hobbit" Hits Comic-Con With Nostalgic Panel And Colbert's Trivia Quiz

If you were not at SDCC over the weekend, fret not, because some panels, like the one with the cast of The Hobbit and Stephen...

Peter Jackson Still In Line To Direct an Episode of 'Doctor Who'

Peter Jackson, whose big budget adaptations of the J.R.R Tolkien novels The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit have grossed almost $5billion worldwide, might...

'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Gets a Facebook Photo Tease

‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ won’t be out for another 6 months, which means it’s just the right time to start dripping...

Viggo Mortensen Calls Lord of the Rings Movies "Straight to Video, Sloppy" Films

Viggo Mortensen, the actor best known for playing Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings movies, says the second and third films in the franchise...



Peter Jackson Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Peter Jackson

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All