On the eve of 48 frames a second

The controversy over 48 frames a second is not dying down.

Although the 48 FPS version of The Hobbit is only going to open in a limited number of theaters, some people have reportedly experienced motion sickness while watching the movie at 48FPS, while many aren’t thrilled with how the format looks. (The running joke being it makes a movie look like a Telemundo soap opera.)

According to the L.A. Times,  60% of the Hobbit buzz on Twitter and Facebook regarding 48 fps is negative, where 40% of online comments regarding the movie is positive. The Times also reports that The Hobbit is on track to potentially make over $100 million this weekend.

One dissenting view on 48 fps comes from Wired, which raves, “The movie looks like nothing you’ve seen before. Middle-earth in 3D looks so crisp it’s like stepping into the foreground of an insanely gorgeous diorama.”

Director Peter Jackson has finally revealed where the idea of jumping on the whole 48 fps thing in the first place: A Star Wars ride. Jackson went on Star Tours at Disneyland, and as he told i09, “I remember going to Disneyland and seeing the Star Tours ride that George Lucas did, which is a high frame rate. You’re speeding in the Star Wars spaceship. Then I had direct experience with it about three for years ago.”

Jackson did a short 3D film for the King Kong attraction at Universal Studios, and he shot it at 60 frames a second. Jackson thought, “Wow, this is so cool. I wish we could do a feature film like this.” The problem? Flm projectors were traditionally set to play 24 frames a second, but now with digital you can do a much higher frame rate. 

We all know that Jackson has totally been sold on 48 fps from day one, but it still may take the movie going public some time to get used to it. In the geek-o-sphere, good and bad news travels fast, so if audiences dig it or hate it, word will get out there pretty quickly, and whether 48 frames a second lives or dies will ultimately be in the audience’s hands.