Seeing Red

Those firmly in RA Universe know by now Peter Jackson screened 10 minutes of ‘The Hobbit’ at CinemaCon, and it was ill received by a significant number of attendees. The plan by Warner Bros. was to highlight the potential sea change in movie making with the advent of cameras like the Red Epic. What I found completely predictable, and I’m going to be shocked if Sir Peter and Warners didn’t as well, were the stunned reactions of a bunch of theater owners and some journalists who needed something interesting to write. This gathering was not conducive to appreciation of something highly creative and inventive in film making. It was mostly about the bottom line, about consumption and give it to me now.

After the lean years of movie going and fear of not being in the black, I can understand theater owners not being eager to embrace something that requires them to invest lots of money and must in part be an acquired taste for the public. As for most of the journalists, they did not do their homework as per usual and must hear the same things over and over. For those who did do their homework, they knew Peter Jackson had already made it plain how 48fps will look and for ‘The Hobbit’ film will require some additional work on his part. Check out 5:00 to about 6:45 and especially the part about “grading down.”

For now I’m assuming Peter Jackson was not thrown a bit by the reaction at CinemaCon:

Peter Jackson responds to complaints about ‘The Hobbit’ footage — BREAKING

by Anthony Breznican
Peter Jackson says the negative reaction this week over new technology he’s using to shoot The Hobbit won’t hold him back, and he hopes moviegoers will give it a try and judge for themselves.

“Nobody is going to stop,” he said. “This technology is going to keep evolving.”

He hopes critics of the format will change their minds when they see the finished film.

“At first it’s unusual because you’ve never seen a movie like this before. It’s literally a new experience, but you know, that doesn’t last the entire experience of the film; not by any stretch, after 10 minutes or so,” Jackson tells EW. “That’s a different experience than if you see a fast-cutting montage at a technical presentation.”

So what does he say to people who just decide they don’t like the glossy new look of the format he’s using?

“I can’t say anything,” Jackson acknowledges. “Just like I can’t say anything to someone who doesn’t like fish. You can’t explain why fish tastes great and why they should enjoy it.”

Right now, every second of a motion picture is made up of 24 images, or “frames,” but Jackson is shooting his two Hobbit films at 48 frames per second, which he says creates a more lifelike picture and will make 3-D less of a strain on the eyes.

Read the rest here

As for me, I found the Ain’t It Cool write up on ‘The Hobbit’ screening about the most fair assessment, and I’m willing to wait for the finished product.

I’m also glad I finally got to highlight this vlog. It has been the most fascinating to me so far, but in the autumn I had a few things going on to keep me from giving the piece its due. Oh well, I got a chance to begin now and will have more to say on the subject.

Obviously something interesting happened. :D See you on Tuesday.


  1. As Servetus said, people are so quick to reject or be highly suspicious of anything new. Just human nature. Also, we all know technology is constantly evolving and changing and that there bugs that have to be gotten out of the system as progress is made. I have every confidence in Sir Peter and his team. It’s not like it’s his first time at the rodeo in terms of high tech filmmaking.

    I for one was very impressed with how the original trailer looked, which a number of people were panning in some of the articles I read online. Of course, some people will not be happy with the film no matter what because they have already decided they will hate it.

    Oh, and have I mentioned how much I dislike journalists who don’t do their homework? ;)

  2. Resistance to change is as old as time. That’s just one reason why Sir Peter and Warners had to be completely expecting this reaction. But surely they understand the theater owners’ viewpoints. They have been through a rough time and are not in a mood to take a financial risk, which is exactly what this is. So it’s in PJ’s best interest to have this film in several formats. I’m glad that’s happening although I will go see the 48fps if for no other reason than to satisfy my inner geek.

  3. Yeah, I did mean to add I can understand concerns about sinking more money into the theaters to support the technology . . . our multiplex has a theater designed to show 3D but they haven’t yet invested in all the equipment because quite frankly, they couldn’t afford it. This is a town of 7,000 people (granted it’s the only movie theatre in the tri-county area and a REALLY nice one). We went for years and years without a local theater so I am just glad they’ve been able to keep their heads above water.

    I agree several formats are needed in order to allow the most saturation of the product. We’ll have to go to Montgomery as we did for CA in order to see anything in 3D. I am also curious about the 48 fps. I;ve always been a geek and now I seem to be getting more techno geek, too. ;)

  4. I can feel your pain about a local movie theater. We don’t have one in this town. And as nice as the two theater are to the east of me, I doubt they’re going to invest in equipmen to show 48fps. I’ll have to travel three hours to watch it in that format. Wah. :D

  5. […] On the whole Peter Jackson / 48 fps thing, I’m absolutely in agreement with RAFrenzy. […]

  6. I’ll be watching this movie no matter what format it comes in, although I was a little disappointed by the description of this new technique. I was expecting something a little more enchanting …and in your face realism (which is what this sounds like) doesn’t sound very enchanting.

  7. For now I have no reason to trust PJ more than anyone responsible for Spooks or RH. I wait what he delivers. The criticism has been very specific and addressed a kind of look I really dislike: The look is so realistic that you can clearly see that you are not in middle earth with dwarves and elves but on a (well made but nonetheless fake) studio set with actors. In my opinion nothing can beat real locations, likewise no wig can ever look like real hair.

    The production vlog explains nicely what they are doing with sets, wigs and make up to a achieve a real look, so they are obviously aware of the problem, but we will have to wait and see if they manage to make anything fake look real with such a clear picture. I suspect part of the problem is the lighting, I often feel the lighting in old studio productions and soaps looks really too harsh and unnatural, we will see if they adjust that and if it helps.

  8. Frenz, in agreemnt. I’m lousy at technology, but it must march on and experiment inspite of Luddites, like me. :D (Would we have “talkies” otherwise?) The critics were a wee bit out of context with the small segment of Hobbit shown. I recently saw TinTin, with trepidation about 3D. It was lovely, and the technique was just in the right proportion to the story.

    It might take PJ a while to achieve what he wants to achieve with 48F, but it could well be worth experimenting.Or perhaps it won’t be. Whatever, it is probably worth the try.

  9. Well. I, for one, am a blithering mess of happiness over this thing. I can’t wait for it! And their explanations totally make sense. Anytime something new is employed, people will balk. People don’t like change.

    I keep telling people, don’t stop at 3-D! Let’s make it 4-D! My kid and I saw “Dora & Diego’s 4-D Adventure” at the Louisville Zoo, and we smelled BANANAS! I WANT TO SMELL THE SWEAT OF THE DWARFS, DAGGONE IT! GIVE ME 4-D!


    But seriously. Can you imagine a 4-D Hobbit movie?

    PJ has his work cut out for him to get the public to accept this, but I hope that once it’s out, it’ll be a splash.

  10. […] a further series of aesthetic criticisms of 3D film that don’t need to occupy us here. Readers who have been following the saga of this particular film know that media journalists –…, which led to a decision not to show that version at ComicCon in San Diego. And some industry […]

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