'The Hobbit' Will Premiere in High Frame Rates Using Christie Projection System

9:29 AM PST 11/21/2012 by Carolyn Giardina

Peter Jackson’s Epic is the first major Hollywood movie to be made at 48 frames per second.

Christie’s digital cinema projection system was chosen for the world premiere of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which in a first will be shown in 3D at a high frame rate of 48 frames per second (fps). The premiere will be held at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand, on Nov. 28.

The Hobbit, presented by Warner Bros. Pictures, MGM, and New Line Cinema, is the first Hollywood movie to be made at 48fps—what Jackson believes creates a more realistic movie-going experience as well as more comfortable 3D. Said Jackson in a released statement: “With Christie's support, our Wellington Premiere will present ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' at its full technical potential – in vibrant, bright high frame rate 3-D. I thank Christie for helping us push the boundaries and give audiences a glimpse into the exciting future of cinema presentation.”

When The Hobbit opens wide next month, it will open in 3D HFRs on an estimated 400 screens in the U.S. and an additional 500 worldwide. The majority of theaters will offer the movie in 2D and 3D at today’s standard of 24fps.

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For the premiere, a pair of top-of-the-line Christie Solaria CP2230 series digital projectors—using the Christie Duo integration kit to combine the two—will fill the screen with more than 12 foot lamberts of light. The exhibition community has been looking for ways to increase the brightness of 3D presentations, which according to Christie generally reach just 3 to 4.5 foot lamberts (a measurement of light) while 2D light levels tend to offer 14 foot lamberts.

The technical installation at The Hobbit premiere will also include a HFR-supported Christie Integrated Media Block, or IMB, which is a piece of hardware required for this projection. 3D will be provided by RealD and Dolby’s new Atmos sound system will also be used at the premiere.

Christie’s selection comes after it teamed with Jackson’s Park Road Post Production and Weta Digital earlier this year to cooperate in developing cinema production and projection with an emphasis on HFRs. As part of that agreement, Park Road and Weta upgraded their facilities with Christie projectors and provided Christie with review, testing and feedback on new hardware and software developments related to high-bandwidth interfaces and HFR technology, as well as sample movie content for Christie to use in testing its projectors and IMBs.

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“The success of our joint research and knowledge exchange has led to the creation of the most reliable high frame rate IMB/projection solution available,” said Park Road’s general manager Cameron Harland in a released statement.

Christie digital projectors, installed by its Xebex cinema partner, will also contribute to the Tokyo premiere of The Hobbit, taking place Dec. 1 at the Toho Cinemas in Roppongi Hills.

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