Mixed Responses To First Hobbit Footage

Extended preview footage from The Hobbit, Peter Jackson’s long-awaited (and also much-beleagured) two-part Lord Of The Rings prequel was unveiled at CinemaCon in Las Vegas last night and the word has been…decidedly mixed.

Attendees were treated to a presentation from Jackson (via recorded uplink) which showcased footage at the higher 48 frames-per-second format – something which Jackson has been touting as “the future of cinema”. Variety has it that the footage didn’t impress everyone – major complaints were levied that the actors appear to be overlit and sharp that drew comparisons to modern sports broadcasts.

“It reminds me of when I first saw Blu-Ray, in that it takes away that warm feeling of film,” one chain owner said. “It looked to me like a behind-the-scenes featurette.”

“It looked like a made-for-TV movie,” another projectionist told the LA Times. “It was too accurate – too clear. The contrast ratio isn’t there yet – everything looked either too bright or black.”

Most films are shot at 24fps but with the advent of HD screens, this has allowed film-makers to increase the frame rate and increase resolution – making images appear sharper and more defined. Whether that’ll work on the big screen is something that remains to be seen but it probably won’t be a concern for mainstream cinemagoers for a while as most projection rooms will be ill-equipped to handle the upper frame rate.

The first half – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be in cinemas in December, so there’s still time for Jackson to do some tinkering. Warner Bros said it was not fully colour-corrected and did not feature completed effects work – so that might be something that can be fixed in the editing suite.

Meanwhile, here’s the trailer to The Hobbit which actually looks rather good…