Brendan Shick | Freelance Film, Broadcast, & Digital Media

4 Must Watch Director’s Commentaries – Even if You’re Not a Film Geek

4 Must Watch Director's Commentaries - Even if You're Not a Film Geek

4 Director's Commentaries for any sensibility or taste! At least one of these will appeal to you...
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Learning the Pitfalls of HFR

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Don't make the mistake of paying more for a lower quality theater experience. Here's a look at what HFR really does to your image straight from a cinematographer's mouth...errr...pen...err...whatever.
Baseball Broadcasts: Behind the Scenes

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Ever wonder how the game gets from the field to your television set? We're sharing a behind-the-scenes look.

Quick Followup on HFR and The Hobbit

Dec 20 2012 by Brendan Shick Add Your Thoughts

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) film posterMy commentary on the use of HFR in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) was posted last week, several hours before the public release of the film. Naturally, there were no audience reactions to include at the time.

Since the official US release last Friday most of the audience reaction I’ve heard has consisted of one of two things:

1) The 3D was pretty good, quite possibly the high frame rate helped.

-or-

2) The high frame rate was a disaster.

If you read my predictive post last week, you’ll recall that I cited #1 as a possibility.

Number two is interesting. Although many people have expressed their distaste of HFR since time unknown, proponents of HFR mostly passed us off as “traditionalists” – people who think 24 frames per second is the artistic way to shoot a film and are only unwilling to change out of some vague sense of nostalgia.

Put that way, it’s a rather highbrow stance – but it’s actually not the main complain I’m hearing from moviegoers. Among the demographic who didn’t like the 48 frames per second, the most common complain is something much different.

An overwhelming number of people are saying the sense of heightened reality made the sets, make-up and costumes look cheesy, cheap, and cartoonish. This is an interesting development because it doesn’t at all match what the proponents of HFR said the nay-sayers would dislike.

On a high budget production like, The Hobbit, it’s unlikely that the film was stingy with the art department budget. Nor do I think that the designers slacked off while working on such a coveted property. So, if we’re truly left to blame those complaints on the frame rate, I feel sorry for the designers who have poured their heart and soul into the project only to hear a complaint about their work based on something completely beyond their control (frame rates are of course an executive decision made by a completely different department).

I’m looking for other opinions on this, so, if you’ve already seen The Hobbit, take a moment to share what you thought in the comments below.


Brendan Shick

Brendan Shick is a freelance DP, gaffer, and sports broadcaster serving primarily the Chicago, IL; Pittsburgh, PA; Grand Rapids, MI; and Fort Wayne, IN, regions. You can find out more by following this blog, his recent work on Vimeo, or by connecting with him on Twitter or LinkedIn. Brendan is also an occasional contributor to the Project Updates feed for one of his most recent films, To Turn Back Time.


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