What might The Hobbit look like at 48 fps?

What might The Hobbit look like at 48 fps?

| June 25, 2012

Ever since filmmakers Peter Jackson and James Cameron announced they’d be shooting at higher frame rates on future projects, audiences have been wondering just what this might look like. One of our own fxphd members was so keen to see how Jackson’s The Hobbit may appear that he converted the film’s teaser trailer from 24 fps to 48 fps. Luke Letellier, who joined fxphd in the October 2011 term, used Nuke, Kronos and After Effects to complete the conversion. Check out the results below.

Luke’s research, it should be pointed out, is not part of any official role on the film, nor is this test anything but a technical exploration by Luke himself – he is just keen to explore this hot topic for the future of feature film production, and it shows what one motivated individual can do when they set their mind to it.

[fx_video src=”/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/The_Hobbit_Trailer_48fps_web.mp4″ link=”/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/The_Hobbit_Trailer_48fps_web.mp4″]Watch the converted trailer.[/fx_video]

To complete the conversion, Letellier took the source footage – the trailer – and in Kronos reduced the speed by 50%. As he explains in his blog posting on the process, “Kronos examines the original frames before creating new frames. The source frames are then discarded so that flickering doesn’t occur in the new footage.”

Two trees of SplineWarp nodes; each grey rectangle represents a single new frame.

The settings in Kronos had to be tweaked to deal with distortion seen in the converted footage. Where there was too much motion between the frames, Letellier relied on SplineWarp nodes inside Nuke, “which allow the user to ‘warp’ between two master frames, thus allowing the creation of additional frames in between.” This was a time consuming process – on average it took Letellier 15 minutes to complete one frame this way, or 12 hours to convert two seconds of footage. Other distortions were fixed with hand painting, and finally exporting and sound syncing was done in After Effects.

Luke Letellier.

Letellier says he used The Hobbit trailer as a fast way to dive into Nuke after he had got some basics from fxphd training. “I wanted to learn more about compositing and visual effects, as there wasn’t a suitable study path at my school,” he says. “I went all in, taking Intro to Nuke, Intermediate Nuke, and Advanced Nuke all in the same term. At the time I didn’t have the hardware to actually get hands on inside the program itself, so I immersed myself in the lectures, soaking up everything I could.”

“The first time I actually used Nuke was when I began this Hobbit project in the latter half of May,” he adds. “It was kind of funny, researching a never-before-done technique and at the same time trying to remember that you have to press “Alt” to navigate around the node graph.”

28 Responses to “What might The Hobbit look like at 48 fps?”

  1. Anonymous

    Sounds interesting but the video unfortunately doesn’t really help much in getting a real idea of what it looks like – a higher res download would be very nice.

    • Anonymous

      The downloadable version is slightly better but still, I’d love to see an HD version.

      From what I see here, I’m not exactly thrilled about the look of this in 48fps to be honest… :/
      And I say that as somebody who genuinely hopes 48fps will work and rid us of the horrors of excessive motion blur and especially strobing of 24fps.

      Maybe it really just takes some getting used to like Peter Jackson suggested but looking at this I can only say that right now I’m not used to this look at all!

    • Anonymous

      The critical aspect is the movement, not resolution, when talking about frames per second.

  2. Anonymous

    While this is an impressive and commendable effort to create 48 FPS, this is not what the hobbit will look like. The hobbit will be at 96 FPS or 48 per eye. This is a huge difference in the way things look and how our brain perceive motion and depth. Even watching true 48 FPS stereo footage on a desktop monitor will not have the same impact as seeing it on a big screen. You can’t judge how the Hobbit will look based on a 48FPS 2d quicktime.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think that’s the point of the exercise. It’s a comparison of the frames per second aspect of the trailer. By definition a trailer on the net won’t look like the same thing in a theatre.

      As for the stereo presentation, well it depends on the theatre you’re in but for flashing of frames like with Real-D, the projectors run on 144 frames per second (to reduce ghosting, which IMAX doesn’t do, because that’d be too much film!). I don’t know how it’s broken down for 48 frames per second, but obviously for 24 it’s a thrice flash per eye, so for 48 perhaps they will change up the projector fps, or perhaps even lower it, since some of the unwanted artefacts of stereo go away with higher FPS.

  3. Anonymous

    I commend your efforts! What a huge undertaking. I have been very curious about the 48 fps thing also and have often found that things tend to remind me of day time television like Coronation Street once they get around 30 fps. For some weird reason I am pulled from the fantasy and feel like I am watching a live action set.

    However, the reality of this is that we are used to the look of film at 24fps and it represents a style that is associated with the fantasy of movies and TV has a different look. I am very curious what the response of the audience will be. I am sure in 3D it will be less obvious. I worked as a film and video editor for years and would often have the discussion of 24 versus 30 fps. The tech guys hated film fps and would be super annoyed at film makers that came in with work at 24p because of the extra blur and grain.

    Anyway, great work. Nice conversation piece. I am certainly more use to the film fps for cinema, but I am certain that, with such leaders in blockbuster film as Peter Jackson and James Cameron being in support of it, they probably know what they are talking about and have given it due consideration.

  4. Anonymous

    I was on a lecture with Douglas Trumbull, who was the guy who made Jackson and Cameron change their mind about shooting 24p and go 48 fps (he showed a demo to them with even higher framerate first). I also got a talk with him afterwards. The whole lecture (with me asking some questions in the end) can be seen here : http://medea.mah.se/2011/04/artist-talk-med-douglas-trumbull/

    Anders Printz

  5. Anonymous

    I must say, I rather like it…

  6. Anonymous

    Forgive me but it doesn’t appear to make a bit of difference to me. Need to see the real thing. Mr Jackson needs to post a native 48fps version in HD so we can get a genuine feel for it.

    Don’t like the speeded up part as they fall through the door. Soon as there is silliness in a movie like this it kills it dead. As Mr Lucas found with Jarjar and the stupid villains in Superman 3.

    • Anonymous

      You obviously never read the source material. The Hobbit is filled with comedy… gets darker as it goes on.

  7. Anonymous

    This is pretty weird to me was a very bad and cheap looking looks like a cheap movie…..48FPs SUUCKS!

  8. Anonymous

    wow. This is one hell of a case study!! 48fps still feels a bit weird. We’ll just have to wait and see how it looks in theaters.

  9. Anonymous

    Higher frame rates create a “look” that I do not associate with high-end film. To me, even 29.97 interlaced looks “too smooth” — like I’m watching a soap opera or other “television” show shot on video.

    There is something to be said about the slower, “progressive” frame rate (and motion blur) of 24 frames per second. The “look” is something we associate with quality — it just ‘feels’ more magical.

    Frame rates, in my opinion, are just as critical as color grading — as it sets a tone for the film. I cringed when I first heard Jackson was shooting at 48… in stereo. Still, I’ll give it a shot and keep an open mind about it… but if “getting used to it” is all it has to offer, I’m not going to be impressed.

    • Anonymous

      I am a fan of 24 fps as well, I am not going to like getting used to it if it happens that way.

  10. Anonymous

    It looked way to tweaked to me as well. Too many frames makes it look fast and twichy.

    I feel the final thing we see might look better paced.

    Nice attempt though


  11. Anonymous

    I applaude the effort and time it took to create this demonstration. I think that this looks pretty amazing, especially considering that the missing frames were created by “human assisted” algorithm (if I understood the article correctly). It certainly adds a dose of realism to the movement and it’s readilly apparent even at small video size. I can only assume that the “real deal” should look even better. One can only wish that current filming/projecting equipment could handle even higher framerates, though it’s questionable if our tiny brains could handle the information load to actually notice any difference.

  12. Anonymous

    I honestly find this motion more distracting than what i am used to. it jars, it feels too life like for me and reminds me of the days when you used to de-interlace your videos to avoid this look. As an indie film-maker we often tried to avoid this look as much as we could to replicate the awesome look that film gave us. The texture was great. Now P. Jackson is saying this is the way forward. If he wanted this look he should shot the Hobbit on a Z1 and just not de-interlaced is film.

  13. Anonymous

    The effect may add to the humor. I think the director is right, this is the future, but I don’t like it.

  14. Anonymous

    there is such thing as going too far and this is going a bit too far. maybe it’s a good stopping point and maybe it’s just going beyond the limit.

    It’s like watching a movie zoomed in. Sure, we can see everything closer, but that doesn’t mean it’s better. We can boost the base and each thumb rumbles our bodies, but that doesn’t always make it better. There’s a level of comfort for our senses judging by the clip, it might be breaking comfort in a bad way.

  15. Anonymous

    I’ve seen the 48fps theatrical 3D version of THE HOBBIT and I have to say that this experiment comes very close to replicating the nauseatingly bad look of the film. The problem is that there’s a degree of motion blur and image persistence capitalized upon in 24fps that create a stylized look to film that we’ve grown accustomed to. Will we overcome this if we keep watching 48fps? No, because the rate at which our optical cortex processes imagery will not change.

    Too sharp of an image removes all disbelief and we might as well be standing outside, rather than the feel of looking at a moving picture that carries with it a certain emotional impact.

    Depending on the degree of fantasy and artistic emotional impact you want to create, 48fps a solution best left for perhaps sports documentaries where sharpness and motion acuity is necessary. But our motion acuity is poor compared to our color acuity. We might perceive 15 frames per second as continuous motion, but we can detect variances in color as little as one nanometer in wavelength.

    There’s a certain degree of distance between the subject material and the viewer that has to be maintained to give the viewer the sensation they seek when they’re going to watch a fiction.

  16. Anonymous

    My name is Mohit I am a fag.

  17. Anonymous

    i just watched the movie 48fps , 3d and 4k HD big theater screen, and i really liked the results, specially when cg scenes, combat and fx scenes, in fact i felt the movie looked even smoother than the 48fps sample in this blog, since i did not notice that micro “stuttering” from the sample, in the final movie. just hope this hfr tech becomes more popular, specially for action, and cg movies like this one. the only thing i did no like, but was not that bad, is still noticiable motion blur.

  18. Anonymous

    At points it felt like I was in the scenes. Pretty epic. I could see some of the green screens but I don’t care. It made me feel weird. I’ve already seen it in 24fps 2d and Im going to see it in 3d 48fps tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.

  19. Anonymous

    “fxphd | What might The Hobbit look like at 48 fps?” actually makes myself imagine
    a small bit more. I personally treasured every individual portion of this blog post.
    Regards -Maricruz

  20. Anonymous

    After watching The Hobbit in 48 fps (and 3D) I can say this (low resolution) preview is amazingly similar to the real effect of 48 fps. I was skeptical that you could convert a 24 fps video to a realistic 48 fps, but I was very wrong!

    BTW to the people who complain that this preview is too small, the fps difference is clearly visible in this small preview.

  21. Anonymous

    I do not like this at all! It is like watching a soap opera! 48fps is not suitable for film. It takes away from the fantasy. I do not like the way that this looks. I hope this is not the future. IT IS TOO SMOOTH! IT LOOKS AWFUL!


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