‘The Hobbit’ VFX Supervisor Joe Letteri Defends High Frame Rate Filmmaking: ‘You Now See Any Motion More Clearly’ (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

As reviews for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey poured in on Monday, a generally positive reaction to the story was almost invariably paired with a decidedly more mixed one about the technology used to tell it: HFS (high frame rates), which director Peter Jackson used to photograph the film in 3D.

Among the criticisms of the format were the complaint that the motion seems too fast, and a repeated question of what is “the point” of using higher frames rates for moviemaking going forward.

But during a conversation with Celebuzz about the The Hobbit on Wednesday, VFX Supervisor Joe Letteri insisted that even those persistent observations about the clarity and speed of the image were simply a result of audiences being exposed to more information than ever before.

“There’s no difference,” Letteri told Celebuzz. “It’s just that you now have more information. That gap [between frames] is filled by another picture with sort of a micro-movement in between, but the overall flow of the motion, the movement, it’s exactly the same.

“So you’re probably just reacting to having more temporal information than you had in a movie before.”

Additionally, Letteri said that shooting 48 frames per second rather than the previous industry standard of 24 eliminated a lot of the problems commonly associated with 3D exhibition, especially the eye strain of trying to adjust to a dimensionalized but still flat picture.

“Stereo is this illusion that you’re seeing into a three-dimensional world,” he said. “It’s two fixed eyes giving you a point of view. But you can’t look at something in a frame that’s out of focus and have it immediately snap into focus, where in the real world, you can. Your eye is used to doing things like that.”

“With [higher frame rates], you now see any motion more clearly,” he continued. “It confounds your eye less and makes the 3D experience more comfortable.”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in theaters nationwide on December 14, 2012. Watch Celebuzz’ exclusive interview with Letteri above, and the film’s theatrical trailer below.

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