James Cameron Has a Convert: Peter Jackson Shooting ‘Hobbit’ at Higher Rate

“Lord of the Rings” director will film the prequel at 48 frames per second to improve the 3D

Last Updated: April 12, 2011 @ 5:54 PM

James Cameron has his first convert. 

Peter Jackson announced via Facebook this week that he plans to shoot "The Hobbit" at 48 frames per second instead of the standard 24 frames. He argues the faster rates will improve the quality of the film's 3D. 

"The Hobbit" will be the first major theatrical release shot at the higher speed. 

"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," Jackson wrote. "You get used to this new look very quickly and it becomes a much more lifelike and comfortable viewing experience. It's similar to the moment when vinyl records were supplanted by digital CDs. There's no doubt in my mind that we're heading towards movies being shot and projected at higher frame rates."

Read also: James Cameron Ramps Up His Calls for Higher Frame Rates

At CinemaCon, Cameron popped up anywhere and everywhere (he was practically the trade show's valet!) to sell exhibitors on the merits of higher frame rates. He mentioned at a special presentation to theater owners that Jackson was also jazzed about the ramped up rates. Now here's the proof. 

At 48 or 60 frames per second, 3D images are clearer and less distorted than they are at current rates, boosters say. 

For theater owners, Jackson implied that faster frame rates would represent a minimal investment, noting that most digital projectors can function at the higher speeds. 

"…despite there never having been a wide release feature film filmed at this higher frame rate. We are hopeful that there will be enough theaters capable of projecting 48 fps by the time 'The Hobbit' comes out where we can seriously explore that possibility with Warner Bros," Jackson wrote. 

Jackson speculated that there would be 10,000 screens capable of projecting the film at 48 frames per second by the film's December 2012 release.