Peter Jackson, Oscar-winning director of Lord of the Rings, posted a note on his Facebook page on April 12 explaning his decision to shoot The Hobbit at 48 frames per second, instead of the standard 24 frames per second.
"You get used to this new look very quickly and it becomes a much more lifelike and comfortable viewing experience," wrote Jackson, noting the image improvement is especially noticeable for 3D films with less blurriness during action sequences. "It will look terrific," he stated.
Jackson will be the first director to release a major motion picture shot at a higher frame rate. He compares this change to the time when vinyl records were supplanted by CDs, predicting that cinemas will be able to project at higher frame rates in the future.
He hopes that by December 2012, when The Hobbit will be released in theaters, that 10,000 cinemas will have the capability to show 48 frames per second. It will be easier as more theaters convert to digital projection.
On Facebook, Jackson suggests that 24 fps, used in film since 1927, was chosen when it was the best and cheapest option given the cost of film stock - a factor that isn't applicable now with digital technology.
Jackson also points out that theme parks use films at 60 frames per second, such as the Star Tours ride at Disneyland and Jackson's King Kong exhibit at Universal Hollywood.
"I see it as a way of future-proofing THE HOBBIT," states Jackson.