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Description of THE HOBBIT Footage Screened at CinemaCon

I really wish I could have made it out to CinemaCon in Las Vegas this year. Unfortunately sometimes life says no you can't do that right now. So like the rest of you I have to live it through other the other blogs that were able to attend.

Warner Bros. screened ten minutes of new footage of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at the convention, and it was screened in 48 Frames Per Second. This is the first time the film was screened in this new projection standard. I would have love to see this as The Hobbit is at the top of my most anticipated films of the year. Unfortunately the footage is getting mixed reviews on twitter, not the content, but the way it was filmed. Turns out this new higher frame rate of 48fps isn't selling a lot of people. Apparently it has kind of a TV/video vibe to it that a lot of people seemed to be disappointed with. That's a shame, but maybe it's a new standard that I think people just need to get used to. Up until now everything we've seen on the big screen is shown at 24fps, this is a big leap. I don't know, as I haven't seen the footage myself. Here's how Badass Digest felt about the 48fps:

The 48fps footage I saw looked terrible. It looked completely non-cinematic. The sets looked like sets. I've been on sets of movies on the scale of The Hobbit, and sets don't even look like sets when you're on them live... but these looked like sets.The other comparison I kept coming to, as I was watching the footage, was that it all looked like behind the scenes video. The magical illusion of cinema is stripped away completely.

That doesn't sound good at all, in fact that sounds terrible. Maybe this new frame rate isn't the future like Jackson and James Cameron claim it to be. Just from this description, I don't feel I need to see The Hobbit in this higher frame rate. Now here's a breakdown and description of the footage screened:

There was a lot of the helicopter shots you expect in a Lord of the Rings movie. Lots of shots of the dwarves trudging over mountains (again, this stuff looked spectacular). There was some of the business we saw in the trailer, with the introduction of the company of dwarves. There were also some quick shots - the company floating down a river in barrels, Gandalf running through a dungeon, being jumped on by a wild man of some sort, Legolas sliding in front of spider-webbed dwarves and knocking an arrow, warning he would kill them. There were also a handful of longer scenes that we saw. 

We saw Bilbo's meeting with the three trolls. One positive aspect of the 48fps is that since everything looks so video, the digital creatures look more like they're on the set. The tone of the scene is very playfully threatening, with the trolls having dim reactions. The scene ends with the dwarves coming to Bilbo's rescue in a big battle against the trolls. 

We also saw Gandalf investigating the rising darkness. In one scene he is at a table with Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman, talking about ancient tombs that have been opened - ancient tombs with such strong binding spells no one should have been able to get in. Then there's a scene of Gandalf investigating the open tomb, where he runs into a very silly Radagast the Brown, who has some birds under his hat (we also saw a shot of his sled being pulled by bunnies). It turns out the opened tombs belong the nine Ring Wraiths. 

The biggest scene was Bilbo meeting Gollum. Despite being told what we were seeing were unfinished effects, Gollum looked great (and again, the 48fps gave him more of a sense of being actually there). The scene was cut a little slackly; I imagine the final version will be tighter. But it was good.

The footage screened sounds awesome! I can't wait to see for myself one day. What do you think about this 48fps business? Do you think it's as bad as it sounds?

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