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Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Receives Lukewarm Reception at CinemaCon

Screened footage described as a "work in progress"

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Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Receives Lukewarm Reception at CinemaCon
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In order to help convince theater owners that upgrading their projectors to handle motion pictures lensed at 48 frames per second, Peter Jackson screened roughly 10 minutes of his upcoming epic “The Hobbit” for a select group of individuals at this year’s CinemaCon. Unfortunately for Jackson and the suits over at Warner Bros., the reception to the filmmaker’s latest bid-budget adventure was less than stellar.

According to The Wrap, both theater owners and film bloggers were less than impressed with the footage Jackson made available during the screening, some of which was missing key special effects work. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that many individuals in attendance claimed the footage looked too crisp, too lifelike. Instead of looking like a full-bodied motion picture, a few people thought it looked more like a poorly-conceived stage play. I’m sure this isn’t the sort of feedback Jackson and his cohorts were hoping to receive from the event.

Some of the screened 3D footage included moments with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gollum (Andy Serkis), and a few battle sequences involving giant trolls and the like.

In a pre-recorded introduction — the director is currently hard at work editing all the pieces together in New Zealand — Jackson explained that upping the frame rate from 24 to 48 frames per second would make for a richer, more believable experience. He also claims that the higher rate would help with 3D, making the footage easier for movie-goers to digest.

“The movement feels more real, it feels smoother,” Jackson explained in the segment. He also noted that the screened footage was a “work in progress.”

The presentation, which is geared towards exhibitors, also included some early footage from Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” and Adam Shankman’s “Rock of Ages”.

At present, there are roughly 4,000 screens in North America that have projectors capable of screening movies that were filmed at 48fps. Warner Bros. is hoping to increase that number by leaps and bounds by the time Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” arrives on December 14th, 2012.

Apparently The Hobbit’s 48 fps framerate looks a bit bum. Oh dear. http://t.co/ClZVlWFa(image) 3 hours ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Take your 48fps and stick it where the sun dont shine…. http://t.co/G9BcBEDl(image) 50 minutes ago via Facebook ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Interesting debate on the future of 24fps filmmaking and the emergence of 48/60fps technology. End of narrative cinema?
http://t.co/pHuPSo8B(image) 3 hours ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

#TheHobbit‘s 48fps look so real that it looks fake: the #transmedia remedy would be to read the book and dream it 24fps http://t.co/CmycYVA3(image) 2 minutes ago via TweetDeck ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

How disappointing!@flipsideza: The Hobbit footage sucks!? CinemaCon audience react negatively to sneak peek! http://t.co/hmXNy0nQ(image) 7 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Receives Lukewarm Reception at CinemaCon
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    That’s how I felt when I watched the Pirates of the Caribbean on blu-ray, exactly as the test audience described this 48 fps film: it was too crisp, too real, like a theater play. In Audio, they “compress” sound and the “wall of sound” approach is not as crisp but is preferable in the pop world as it provides the illusion that more sound is happening that what is actually being played. I think something similar can be said for the Visual arts, where there might be such a thing as just too damn crisp.