The Hobbit: An Unexpected Masterclass in Why HFR fails, and a reaffirmation of what makes cinema magical

By Vincent Laforet

Peter Jackson, a terrifically talented film maker and pioneer of new cinema technology, has given the world of cinema a very important, and perhaps unintended, gift with his latest film "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", as we wrap the year 2012.

Tonight I went to see his latest film in all three flavors of its release: 3D HFR, Standard 3D, and in 2D.

On one end of the spectrum I had one of the most disappointing cinematic experiences in recent memory, and on the other extreme I fell into the film and enjoyed it very much – all watching the EXACT same film mind you…

I recommend any filmmaker out there try doing this – as it will reaffirm so many of the things that make film "magical" and ultimately what differentiates the medium from all other forms of entertainment and visual media. For some, HFR will be a potential new tool in their arsenal for telling certain types of stories in a new and exciting way, while others will be reminded of why the 2D format at 24 fps has stood the test of time for so long.

With his latest film, Jackson shot the film not only in 3D, but also at twice the normal frame rate or "HFR" which stands for High Frame Rate – in an effort to make the film feel more "immersive" in his own words. Ironically – I think this new technology accomplished just the opposite for me, in terms of becoming immersed in the narrative and connecting with the actors on many levels. read more...

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