Monday, 10 December 2012

Cinema format war

Are we headed for a format war in movie cinemas? Right now we have 2D, 3D, IMAX, IMAX 3D and, coming soon, High Frame Rate (HFR) 3D, starting with the first Hobbit movie. This, according to the pre-emptive flyer sent out by Warner Bros, is going to provide "another option in the movie theater for each consumer's taste", but there's a big problem and assumption here. We aren't getting any more screens just because we're getting extra formats, and there won't be any extra screening time per day, so if you have a preferred format (such as Good Old Doesn't Suck 2D), you will now have fewer sessions to choose from, because other sessions have to be allocated to other formats.
This is quite obviously a Bad Thing.

Now, I'm all for making 3D not suck any more - call me when you've sorted that out - but I think we should probably be trying one thing at a time. If you are going to have HFR 3D movies, then that's the only 3D format that should be shown. Naturally, the problem is hardware. Not every cinema will be equipped to show HFR 3D right away, so some will need the lower frame rate 3D. That's just the way it is. And there will always be a transition period where some movies were filmed in HFR 3D and some were filmed with the older 3D technology.

So The Hobbit is going to be a test to see whether people want higher frame rates on their 3D movies, but probably won't give an accurate answer to that question, because you won't always get your chosen format playing at your chosen cinema at a convenient time, and you'll be forced to compromise.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm curious to see how HFR 3D movies would look compared to normal 3D.
PPS - Not curious enough to buy a ticket, just generally curious.

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