How to See ‘The Hobbit’


The location of Hobbiton, as used in the Lord of the Rings films. Near Matamata in New Zealand. Original photo by Rob Chandler. CC SA

How you see a film is ultimately up to you and your personal preference, but if you want to see what the director intended, then there are some important things to consider when you buy your ticket to Peter Jackson’s upcoming The Hobbit trilogy.


  1. Frame rate: virtually all films are shot and projected at 24 frames per second. The Hobbit has been shot, and will be projected at 48, which means it will appear much smoother and motion will be more true to life. However, the effect may be jarring and uncomfortable for many, as we are so used to the standard rate. Check this list to see if your cinema can present the film in the new format.
  2. Resolution: if you thought Peter Jackson was trying to one up James Cameron with his fancy frame rates, you might be right, as the trilogy has also been shot at a resolution of 5K, as opposed to the standard 4K. This means the image should be incredibly detailed, probably surpassing 35mm film. Unfortunately, most cinemas, including major multiplexes, use 2K projectors as they are cheaper and seeing the film in genuine 4K (I doubt any cinemas project beyond that for the moment) might end up being a rare experience.
  3. 3D: OK, so Jackson really is trumping Cameron with these films. Not only is he increasing frame rate and resolution, he’s also shooting the film in 3D as Cameron and a few other directors have done, rather than doing some awful conversion in post-production. Why do so many filmmakers think genuine depth is too much to ask for? Just do what Jackson did and stick two cameras together! Furthermore, the new frame rate should allow for clearer motion which will undoubtedly produce a better 3D effect as well.


Whether The Hobbit will be as well received as The Lord of the Rings trilogy is almost impossible to predict, but the film is already a cinematographic marvel.

For a more detailed look into the impact of high frame rate cinema, see my earlier post about The Hobbit.


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