Peter Jackson erklärt seine Entscheidung für HFR 3D, Kritiker-Meinungen zeigen sich durchwachsen

Wie gut sieht der Hobbit in HFR 3D wirklich aus? Das ist die Frage, die uns alle diese Tage umtreibt. Da wir in Deutschland weiter auf eine Pressevorführung des Hobbits warten, kann ich euch noch keine persönliche Wertung der Technologie geben. James Cameron ist sich sicher, “High frame rate is the future.” Den Look beschrieb er mal wie folgt: „Mit 3D haben wir der Leinwand ein Fenster gegeben, durch das wir hindurchsehen können. Mit HFR nehmen wir nun die Scheibe aus dem Fenster.“  Zwar liegt den Kinos zur Zertifizierung 20minütiges Testmaterial in HFR 3D vor, doch handelt es sich dabei um den wiederholten Trailer plus Landschaftsaufnahmen. INtern habe ich gehört, dass der Look in 3D schon sehr beeindruckend sein soll, aber wir haben ja auch gelernt, dass gerade Landschaftsaufnahmen davon profitieren.

Der Verleih Warner Bros.  hält sich ja beim Thema HFR 3D offiziell zurück, lediglich die deutsche Fassung des FAQs ist erschienen. Doch Peter Jackson hat in seinem Facebook-Account die Gründe für den Einsatz der Technik erläutert:

QUESTION:  Why did you shoot The Hobbit Trilogy using the High Frame Rate (HFR) format?

PETER JACKSON:  We live in a rapidly advancing digital age. Technology is being continually developed that can enhance and enrich the cinema-going experience. High Frame Rate shooting for a mainstream feature film has only become viable in the last year or two, and yet we live in an age of increasing home entertainment. I started shooting The Hobbit films in HFR because I wanted film audiences to experience just how remarkably immersive the theatrical cinema experience can be.

 

What is the history of frame rates and why do you think the time has come to increase them in the theater?

Silent movies were shot at somewhere between 16 and 18 frames per second (fps) with hand-cranked cameras. In 1927, when sound came along, the industry needed to agree on a motor-driven, constant camera speed. 35mm film stock is very expensive, so it needs to be as slow as possible. However, the early optical soundtrack required a minimum speed to achieve fidelity of the sound. 24 fps was decided on, and became the industry standard for over 80 years, with cinemas all around the world installing mechanical projectors only capable of projecting at 24 fps. 24 fps was a commercial decision — the cheapest speed to provide basic quality — but it produces movement artifacts, like strobing, flicker and motion blur.

Now, in the digital age, there’s no reason whatsoever to stick to 24 fps. We didn’t get it perfect in 1927. Science tells us that the human eye stops seeing individual pictures at about 55 fps. Therefore, shooting at 48 fps gives you much more of an illusion of real life. The reduced motion blur on each frame increases sharpness and gives the movie the look of having been shot in 65mm or IMAX. One of the biggest advantages is the fact that your eye is seeing twice the number of images each second, giving the movie a wonderful immersive quality. It makes the 3D experience much more gentle and hugely reduces eyestrain. Much of what makes 3D viewing uncomfortable for some people is the fact that each eye is processing a lot of strobing, blur and flicker. This all but disappears in HFR 3D.

Having shot the film using HFR technology, what are your thoughts on the experience?

I think HFR is terrific. As a filmmaker, I try to make my movies immersive. I want to draw the audience out of their seats, and pull them into the adventure. That is the experience I hope to offer moviegoers no matter which format they choose at the theater. While I personally prefer watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in HFR 3D, I can assure you that every format will provide you with an incredible and immersive experience.

HFR 3D is “different” — it won’t feel like the movies you’re used to seeing, in much the same way as the first CDs didn’t sound like vinyl records. We live in an age when cinemas are competing with iPads and home entertainment systems. I think it’s critical that filmmakers employ current technology to increase the immersive, spectacular experience that cinema should provide. It’s an exciting time to be going to the movies.

Ihr merkt, alle Buzzwörter sind enthalten. das Erlebnis soll immersiver werden. Ob das Bildergebnis von HFR dann aber vergleichbar mit 65mm oder IMAX ist, mag für Großformat-Liebhaber ein Sakrileg sein. Die Kollegen von TotalFilm hatten die Chance mit Jackson persönlich über unterschiedliche Aspekte von HFR zu sprechen:

I’m fascinated by reactions. I’m tending to see that anyone under the age of 20 or so doesn’t really care and thinks it looks cool. I think 3D at 24 frames is interesting, but it’s the 48 that actually allows 3D to almost achieve the potential that it can achieve because it’s less eye strain and you have a sharper picture.

Warner Bros were very supportive. They just wanted us to prove that the 24 frame version would look normal, which it does, but once they were happy with that, on first day, when we had to press that button that said ’48 frames‘ even though on that first day we started shooting at 48 FPS, you could probably say there wasn’t a single cinema in the world that would project the movie in that format. It was a big leap of faith.

The big thing to realize is that it’s not an attempt to change the film industry. It’s another choice. The projectors that can run at 48 frames can run at 24 frames – it doesn’t have to be one thing or another. You can shoot a movie at 24 frames and have sequences at 48 or 60 frames within the body of the film.

You can still do all the shutter-angle and strobing effects. It doesn’t necessarily change how films are going to be made. It’s just another choice that filmmakers have got and for me, it gives that sense of reality that I love in cinema.

Klingt für mich alles ein bisschen versöhnlich. Die angesprochene Reaktionen der Jugendlichen finde ich interessant, da sie eh mehr auf Eyecandy stehen und anscheinend noch keine visuelle Bindung zum „historischen“ filmischen Look haben. Dass Warner Bros. beim Thema very supportive war/ist, gilt wohl nur für den Regisseur. Bis heute gibt es zum Thema HFR von Warner Bros. Deutschland keine Stellungnahme, Fragen bleiben weiterhin unbeantwortet. Auch werden einige umgerüstete und „technisch zertifizierte“ Kinos nicht mit der HFR 3D-Fassung des Hobbits beliefert.  Da raucht es noch ein wenig in der Branche.

Hobbit - Charakterposter Galadriel

Doch was sagt denn die Presse, die den Hobbit schon sehen konnte? Die Meinungen sind eher durchwachsen. Slashfilm sieht eine „gemischte Tüte“ mit Anfangsproblemen:

At times, the film looks immaculate. Regular landscapes and normal shots with static digital effects look so beautiful, it’s almost as if you could press pause and step through the screen. However, when there are a lot of effects on screen, or they move quickly (as when animals are present, for example) they look overly digital and obviously inserted. Fortunately, even with this problem, the look of the film never took me out of the story. I left feeling that HFR is a technology with a promising future, but it’s not quite there yet.

 

Collider ist ebenfalls unentschieden und listet nach Sichtung des Hobbits in 48fps in einem Screening Room das Positive und das Negative gegeneinander:

  • Pros: Incredible clarity and sharpness of detail. Characters and objects in the background are nearly as clear and defined as those in the foreground of a shot. It makes for absolutely gorgeous establishing shots and exploration of new settings (Erebor, the Dwarven Kingdom before Smaug’s attack, is amazing. I’d love to see a film just about the Dwarves and their lives under the mountain). It’s great when steady or slow-moving camera work is applied. Beautiful for scenery or landscape shots; would make for excellent documentary applications.
  • Cons: Definite “motion sickness” potential during scenes of chaotic action or fast-movement; the increased clarity often feels as if you’re standing on set with the actors/characters, so when they take a crazy tumble down a rabbit hole, for example, you feel just as disoriented…which might not be too pleasant for some. There is a bit of an adjustment period for 48fps; I was jarred by it at the start but warmed up to 95% of its usage over time. 48fps means you cannot hide mistakes…period; there were some poorly-rendered VFX sequences that were unintentionally comical and resembled the old-school tactic of filming a stationary actor in front of a moving background. These effects were bad, bad, bad; there’s no way around it.

 

Cinemablend mag es salomonisch und empfiehlt, den Hobbit in beiden Fassungen zu sehen. Eine Einstellung, gegen die Warner sicher nichts einzuwenden hat:

I saw An Unexpected Journey in the much-touted 48 frames per second and in 3D, an experience I recommend, but maybe only on second viewing. I never adjusted to the look, which makes everything feel more real and closer to you, an effect that’s utterly bizarre when seeing giant trolls or goblins or even a band of tiny dwarves. The technological experimentation may have helped Peter Jackson get excited about a smaller-scale return to Middle Earth, but its effect on the movie is harder to gauge; it’s fascinating seeing familiar characters like Gollum move with an unbelievable realness, but also nearly impossible to feel as swept away by this journey to an imaginary world.

 

Für Yahoo verändert sich mit HFR die Erfahrung, ist sich aber über den Einsatz im Kino noch unklar:

And while the new presentation does make the 3D easier on your eyes, losing the traditional „film flicker“ does fundamentally change how you view the movie. It takes a while to adjust to the effect (the first few scenes almost looked like they were in fast motion), and even after you get used to the effect it never does look like „a movie“ as we’ve come to understand it.  Some shots do create an astonishing effect like you really are there, but others just look like you’re watching a really expensive HDTV.  It was a worthwhile experiment to try making a film in the new system, but theatrical features are probably not the best format for the technology.

 

Dem Kritiker von Boxoffice ist das Thema sauer aufgestoßen und beschreibt das Seherlebnis als 166-minütigen Projektionisten-Fehler.

What the 48 frame-per-second projection actually means is flat lighting, a plastic-y look, and, worst of all, a strange sped-up effect that makes perfectly normal actions—say, Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins placing a napkin on his lap—look like meth-head hallucinations. Jackson seems enamored of 48 fps, but I can’t imagine why. To me, it turned the film into a 166-minute long projectionist’s error. I wanted to ask the projectionist to double-check the equipment, but really, I should just ask Jackson why he wanted his $270 million blockbuster to look like a TV movie.

 

Variety versteht den Einsatz von HFR, findet der „Preis“ dafür aber zu hoch:

More disconcerting is the introduction of the film’s 48-frames-per-second digital cinematography, which solves the inherent stuttering effect of celluloid that occurs whenever a camera pans or horizontal movement crosses the frame — but at too great a cost. Consequently, everything takes on an overblown, artificial quality in which the phoniness of the sets and costumes becomes obvious, while well-lit areas bleed into their surroundings, like watching a high-end homemovie. (A standard 24fps projection seems to correct this effect in the alternate version of the film being offered to some theaters, but sacrifices the smoother motion seen in action scenes and flyover landscape shots.)

Ehrlich gesagt, schreckt mich das bisher nicht ab, im Gegenteil, es macht mich neugieriger. Und ich will jetzt endlich Den Hobbit sehen!
To be continued…

 

Bild © Warner Bros. · Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

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