Elijah Wood Discusses Returning to The Hobbit, Peter Jackson Talks Frame Rates
04.13.11 by Ryan
Peter Jackson's two-part adaptation of The Hobbit is reuniting the director with many of his Lord of the Rings cast members including Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Andy Serkis as Gollum, and possibly Orlando Bloom, who recently admitted that he was "given the script to look through" for a likely return as Legolas.
Also returning is Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins. While he admitted to ComingSoon that he had "not read" the script for The Hobbit yet, Wood said he was excited for the movie and that the experience will "feel very familiar, and different as well."
Look, I'm just looking forward to going back to New Zealand and spending a bit of time there. There will be plenty of old friends that will be a part of it. Largely I would imagine the entire crew would be relatively the same. So in some ways I think it's going to be a very surreal journey. It will feel like traveling back in time a little.
But I'm excited. There's a lot of new elements to this. They're shooting on the Red [camera]. They're shooting in 3D, so that should be interesting. And I'm excited to read the script. I'm very excited to see what they've done with The Hobbit. They've stretched it out over the course of two films. I'm so curious as to what other elements they've woven in, because there are certainly additional works that refer to that same time period that they could weave into it. So I'm just very excited to sort of see what the ultimate vision is. I was down there about a year ago, February, and I saw some of the design. This is when Guillermo [del Toro] was still attached. So I've seen a lot of the design work.
Production on The Hobbit began in March, but Wood says he won't need to be in New Zealand until "December or November." Jackson, meanwhile, is already at work and mired in the technical aspects of the movie. He offered an update on the movie's progress on Facebook, revealing a photo of himself at the 3-D video setup on the set, while addressing the "news that has been reported about us shooting The Hobbit at 48 frames per second."
We are indeed shooting at the higher frame rate. The key thing to understand is that this process requires both shooting and projecting at 48 fps, rather than the usual 24 fps (films have been shot at 24 frames per second since the late 1920s). So the result looks like normal speed, but the image has hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness. Looking at 24 frames every second may seem ok — and we've all seen thousands of films like this over the last 90 years — but there is often quite a lot of blur in each frame, during fast movements, and if the camera is moving around quickly, the image can judder or "strobe."
Shooting and projecting at 48 fps does a lot to get rid of these issues. It looks much more lifelike, and it is much easier to watch, especially in 3-D. We've been watching Hobbit tests and dailies at 48 fps now for several months, and we often sit through two hours worth of footage without getting any eye strain from the 3-D. It looks great, and we've actually become used to it now, to the point that other film experiences look a little primitive. I saw a new movie in the cinema on Sunday and I kept getting distracted by the juddery panning and blurring. We're getting spoilt!
Jackson had plenty more to say about the history of frame rates, but for those not currently enrolled in a film study course, Jackson offered this take-away; "if we do release in 48 fps, those are the cinemas you should watch the movie in. It will look terrific!"
So start asking your local movie theater whether they plan to project their movies at 48 frames per second to watch Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Sylvester McCoy as the wizard Radagast, and 13 other actors who will play the company of dwarfs that accompany Bilbo to Lonely Mountain to steal from the dragon named Smaug.