Last week I had the fortune to see the Hobbit in the new high frame rate format.
All standard movies have been filmed in 24 frames per second for over a century.
Peter Jackson has decided to film this new trilogy with this format to provide a more immersive experience, but does it work? The answer is yes and no.
There are sequences where it just looks like junk. These sequences tend to be very heavy effects laden scenes. The effects look 2 dimensional and fake. When the HFR works it works brilliantly. These sequences tend to be in natural light or sweeping New Zealand vistas . They look beautiful almost like you would walk into the screen and be there.
When the film starts the videoness of the movies look can be quite startling to people who are used to a more filmic look. It grows on you, its this for everyone no of course not ,its like 3D it would have its chosen applications. This HFR format would be fantastic for nature documentaries or anything where a feeling of realism is important to telling the story at hand.
For those who would like to geek out on further technical information about the HFR format and its use in the Hobbit, I include a few links to some of my favourite articles on the matter.
So after all this talk about the technical aspects of the film the question remains ,is the movie any good?
At 3 hours I only felt it dragged at the beginning whilst Bilbo was still in his house. Once the journey got going it was a lot of fun. My problem with the film really is the fact there is not a lot of story. This comes from a book that isnt very thick ,and is a children’s book made simpler to appeal to younger people.
I do feel making it a trilogy is a way to drag out the income from this franchise. The story isnt as rich as the Lord of the rings trilogy. There is a lot of time standing around talking about story points that seem out of place. I did enjoy it I found it moved along at a good pace and kept me interested. The HFR didn’t work all the time for me and the story felt light and less meaty than Lord Of the Rings. In years to come I do feel from a technical stand point that this film may the a water shed in technology for the future of cinema.
Already James Cameron has signed up to shoot Avatar 2 in this same format. I believe with time and development, this technology could be incredible.
Recently I upgraded to a zoom lens on my Xpro 1.
So I sold my 18mm wide angle prime on ebay.
When I listed the lens I said it was in perfect condition and clean.
Once the buyer had received the lens, I got a nasty shock.
He requested his money back as it said it was scratched and marked.
Believing I had the proof that he was wrong I stuck it out and let paypal decide.
They came down on his side. Keep in mind the following
I said I didnt accept returns.
The lens was near new and perfect.
it went to him anyway. He submitted a macro shot picture of a few micro dust particles that had fallen on the lens when he unpacked it.
He also said he had wiped it and used a blower to remove the dirt.
Fast forward to today I get it back.
One wipe with a non static cloth and all those 5 or 6 dust particles gone. Yes gone.
Lesson learned . You cant appeal . It will go the buyers way every time no matter what.
I am now down $50 dollars in fees and shipping for something that wasn’t my doing.
I also have a lens that I dont need and money in a lens that now I cant afford.
It is the last time I ever sell on Ebay I just cant afford to screwed like this.
So you are going to a new 3D movie. Exciting hey?
What the cinemas never tell is how the 3D effect drops of the more off axis you are from the screen.
I recently went to see the Life Of PI as it was the first day of the film seating was limited.
We sat on the side aisle . So the film starts I could barely see any 3D depth.
Just consider for a second the theatres told you this was the case they would have to sell you the side tickets more cheaply.
I for one love 3D , but I am also a realist the technology is far from perfect. It doesn’t work for anyone with eye tracking problems.
It can hurt and even make you feel sick if your eyes are not rite. Yes you have to sit straight in front of it.
My 3D tv at home works in a very similar way the effect drops off when off axis. But when I am viewing from straight ahead its very strong.
My other tip is this. When deciding where to sit in a theatre for a 3d presentation , make sure that your field of view is covered by the screen.
Visual distractions can also ruin the 3D effects . Put simply sit back and not to far forward as being to far forward can induce motion sickness.
I love this time of year. Not for the reasons you might think.
I am not a christmas person and hey I dont even subscribe to new years.
What I enjoy and look forward to is movies lots of movies.
This time of year is the lead up to the oscars, all the contenders tend to come out in December through March. There tends to be so many films that come I have to list them and plan out my viewings.
So this week I went to my first couple of big contenders. The first was on new years eve Les Miserables.
The film was everything I had hoped for,grand powerful and sweeping. It enlarged on the world the stage show presented and changed elements that bought it closer to the story presented in the book. The opening sequence of Jean Valjean in the chain gang pulling in a french ship into dock was amazing, and so well done. The way it was directed was truly daring and different. There were no rapid cuts , the camera would sit on the actors faces . At times it would feel like you could see into there souls . Also I must mention that all the signing was recorded live on the set. This tended to give it a realism that has sorely lacked from other movie musicals. I remember seeing Phantom of the Opera which was completely mimed . You could hear the audio cut from the pre record back to the location sound. It didnt work.
The next day I went to see Life Of PI.
The story of an indian family ship wrecked at sea on there way to canada . The ship sinks and the son being the only surviver along with his tiger funnily named Richard Parker. He goes on a fantastical adventure on the seas where many wild and wonderful things occur. The film starts with the boy now a man recounting his story to someone who is writing a book about his adventure. The adventure on the sea and his relationship to the tiger is very well done. You feel for the pain of the boy who has lost his family. This film was shot in 3d but it wasnt the best example of the 3d I have seen. It was incredibly subtle maybe to subtle to make it worth while. The acting was superb and the lesson in this film is about holding onto ones faith when it is surely tested. Also note the twist at the end is a doozy .