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Reality is too real until it’s not real enough

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 10, 2013

Kevin Kelly on the realism of the 48 frames/second version of The Hobbit.

What’s going on here? I really struggled to figure out what was happening to my own eyes and my perception that something as simple as changing a frame rate would trigger such drastic re-evaluations of cinema?

I researched on the web without much satisfaction, since few people had actually seen 48HFR. I asked a few friends in the advance cinema industry and got unsatisfactory answers. Then I was at a party with a friend from Pixar and asked him my question: why does HFR change the appearance of the lighting? He also could not tell me, but the man next to him could. He was John Knoll, the co-creator of Photoshop and the Oscar-winning Visual Effects Director for a string of technically innovative Hollywood blockbusters as long as my arm. He knew.

I saw The Hobbit at 48fps and it was a unique experience. At times, it was amazing, like you were in the movie, tromping around Middle Earth. At other times, the effect was laughably bad, like having a bunch of cosplaying dwarves in bad makeup standing around in your fluorescently lit living room. Dwalin, son of Fundin, I can see your skin cap.

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