New 3D Format Risks Backlash in The Hobbit Film

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey | Official Trailer

Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien might be in for some unpleasant surprise, as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will debut in theaters with a new 3D format.

Called as “High Frame Rate 3D”, the new technology runs at 48 frames per second. That is double the frame rate of traditional movies, which is meant to reduce the “judder effect” of the movie. The said judder effect is the result of panning and other fast motion in 3D movies. However, HFR 3D can make a film’s graphics unusually smooth.

Backlash on HFR 3D

Some audience were able to see the preview footage of The Hobbit if HFR 3D, but they were not happy with the experience. There were claims that the higher frame rate is “too real” to the point that it resembles home video or a sports broadcast.

The early complaints come from a 10-minute preview shown to audiences during the Cinemacon last April. One reporter said that the movie has a “soap opera look” from a badly calibrated TVs from retailers. This was echoed by a projectionist who said that the format “looked like a made-for-TV movie.” As what director Peter Jackson said, the new 3D format takes some getting used to.

In response to this, Regal Entertainment Group issued a statement earlier this month to the backlash that the movie received. The letter notes that The Hobbit will also be released in 2D, regular 3D and IMAX 3D. Additionally, the cinema chain stated that the rest of the movie trilogy will also be released in HFR 3D. James Cameron also announced that he has plans to use the format in future projects.

Deflating 3D Hype

Releasing a new and controversial 3D format for a movie like The Hobbit is a risky move. That’s because the hype around 3D has decreased recently. Revenue in 3D theaters has plummeted in the United States, while viewers have shown little interest in watching 3D content at home.

Moreover, the new technology doesn’t provide a real picture. As reported by Mashable, videos don’t become life-like until it exceeds 100 or 150 frames per second. In relation to this, a new projection technology is also needed in order to take advantage of the format. Otherwise, it will result to more stuttering problems.


Although high frame rates really needs some getting used to, but the backlash for HFR 3D suggests that people may don’t like realistic movies. They want the flicks they are watching to remain just that.

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