Businessweek has joined the Hobbit-bashing party, with a new article slaying Peter Jackson’s decision to make his fantasy movie using new 48 frames-per-second high definition digital film cameras. The publication’s not alone. According to Businessweek the problem is that of the creeping quality curve: The argument being consumers can purchase tech like a Go Pro camera for reasonable prices for home use, and shoot high-definition video at 60 frames a second. And thus when we see The Hobbit on screen we see it like we watch a home video.
That may be true, but what’s actually happening is that Jackson’s film is exposing one of cinema’s oldest lies: 24 frames per second. This speed was chosen a century ago because film was expensive, and this film speed was roughly fast enough to beat the “persistence of vision” flaw in human eyes. As viewers, have trained our eyes to like the quality of 24 “moving pictures” per second.
As any number of super-high-tech flops will tell us, no amount of superior tech can make a movie great on its own. Little things like storytelling still matter.