Video Frame Rates on the Rise

Stephen Yagielowicz

News that Peter Jackson’s film version of “The Lord of the Rings” prequel, “The Hobbit,” would be released in some movie theatres at 48 frames per second (fps) caused quite a stir among videophiles and technologists alike. The higher rate is double the frame rate of traditional motion pictures and enables smoother visual effects, among other benefits, especially when fast moving action scenes are involved.

The move was enabled by Christie, a provider of highend visual solutions, which has developed new hardware that enables movie theaters to use a single projector to present films at the higher frame rates being advocated by directors such as James Cameron and Peter Jackson.

The higher rate is double the frame rate of traditional motion pictures and enables smoother visual effects, among other benefits.

The Christie integrated media block (IMB), is an internal upgrade to the company’s Solaria Series 2 projectors, offering up to 60 fps at 4K resolution, replacing the external servers that are usually required to feed a 4K 60fps 3D signal into the projector.

While Cameron has been discussing his desire to shoot new Avatar installments at 60fps, Jackson has already made the plunge by committing to 48fps for his two planned installments of The Hobbit.

“Film purists will criticize the lack of blur and strobing artifacts, but all of our crew — many of whom are film purists — are now converts,” Award winning director Peter Jackson stated. “You get used to this new look very quickly and it becomes a much more lifelike and comfortable viewing experience.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re heading towards movies being shot and projected at higher frame rates,” Jackson added.

The first of the two Hobbit films is scheduled for release in December of 2012.

While it’s unlikely that too many adult productions will be shown at 60fps on a big screen, creative adult videographers may want to experiment with higher frame rates for the unique “look” they can offer, as the equipment becomes more widely available.

For more information, visit www.higherframerates.com.

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