I still haven’t quite come to grips with The Hobbit in 3D. I’ve got a few 3D films under my belt—Avatar, Captain America, Green Lantern, and Jaws 3—and to be honest, the added dimension hasn’t done much for me. Avatar made the most of it with its rich images of Pandora; the other films felt like they were trying to capitalize on a fad (hey, look, there’s a shield coming at me!) in order to take in a few extra bucks at the gate.
In short, I still prefer good old fashioned 2D, even after watching the latest The Hobbit production video on Peter Jackson’s Facebook page . Judging by the mixed feelings in the comments, others prefer 2D, too. “Love your work Peter, the technology is fascinating, and I can’t wait for 2012. But this 3d stuff is an absolutely horrid and wretched fad which adds zero value to any movie which incorporates it,” writes one commenter. But there were many more positives than negatives amongst the comments, and having viewed the video I’m a bit more optimistic with the thought of donning a pair of uncomfortable plastic glasses and settling in to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 3D next December.
I’m actually more intrigued with the news (sandwiched in the video between a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo and Red Epic camera porn, at roughly the 5:00 mark) that The Hobbit is being shot in 48 frames per second. This normally would mean nothing to me except to hear Jackson and co. explain that it’s double the amount of frames (24 per second) employed during typical shooting. It’s unclear why other films haven’t employed this technique, but the effect sounds like it will make for a richer visual experience than the much hyped 3D. “The people who have seen scenes of The Hobbit at 48 frames per second often say that it’s like the back of the cinema has had a hole cut out of it where the screen is, and you’re actually looking into the real world,” Jackson says.
At that point in the video, the geek in me starts thinking about 48 frame per second images of the Battle of Five Armies, eagles descending to The Carrock, and Smaug emerging from the Lonely Mountain, and I’m excited again.
Outside of the technical filming aspects the video has some other tantalizing bits for those counting down the days until December 2012. There are some cool looking shots of a psychedelic Mirkwood. Lots more shots of the dwarves. Elijah Woods makes a brief appearance (personally I don’t have a big problem with Frodo as a framing device). Around the 8:45 mark there’s an amusing bit with John Howe and Alan Lee collaborating on a red and blue 3D concept illustration while wearing cheesy 3D glasses, though it’s comforting to hear that most of their composition work is still pencil and charcoal on nice, safe 2D paper.