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{movie fun} Choosing Your Hobbit Tickets

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Last week, I bought my tickets to a midnight showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey  (it opens at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, December 14) and discovered it was a little more complicated than just picking a location and a time. The film is being shown in 2D, RealD 3D, IMAX 3D and High Frame Rate (HFR) 3D. Depending on what tech your local theatre uses, you’ll have up to four ways of seeing Bilbo Baggins begin his long trip toward the Lonely Mountain. Here’s a quick rundown to help you decide.

High Frame Rate 3D

Director Peter Jackson’s suggested viewing method (and the one I chose for my ticket) is high frame rate (HFR) 3D. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first film to use this new format. “Frame rate” refers to the number of still frames that occur in one second to give the illusion of a moving picture. The film industry long ago adopted the standard of 24 frames per second. But new advances in digital filmmaking allow for much higher frame rates. Jackson says that he wanted to make The Hobbit at 48 frames per second to better immerse people in the story and make the 3D experience more life-like and less blurry. (Our eyes can handle up to 55 frames per second.) I’m curious how different the movie-going experience will be with the higher frame rate. I do love the cinematic quality of 24 fps and sometimes get annoyed with HDTV’s over-crispness; I’m not sure how I’ll handle the ultra-detail of HFR 3D. But I’m a sucker for The New Thing, and have to find out for myself.

See it in HFR 3D if you’re curious like me, an early adopter who has to be first in line for new tech, or have always wanted to feel like you were really in Middle Earth. See if your theatre has HFR 3D here.


The Hobbit: An Unxpected Journey is also shown in IMAX 3D. IMAX theatres are fitted with proprietary floor-to-ceiling curved screens and have a specific seat layout designed to make you feel like you’re in the middle of the film (the screen takes up your entire field of view…and maybe more) . IMAX 3D is known for its ability to make images look like they are popping out of the screen toward you.

See it in Imax 3D if you love the feeling of being in the middle of a movie and can’t get enough of the “it’s right in front of me” effect. See if you have an IMAX 3D showing in your area here.

RealD 3D

RealD 3D is the “normal” 3D experience offered at most big cineplexes. The 3D digital projection is known for pictures that look deep, like the action is extending out behind the screen’s plane. You’re probably already familiar with the sunglasses-style 3D eyeware and the way 3D (when done well) can increase the immediacy of the film’s world.

See it in RealD 3D if you like the immersive 3D experience but also want to be able to easily see the edges of the screen (good for people who are interested in artistic composition more than feeling like they are inside the screen). See if RealD 3D is at your local theatre here.

Classic 2D

This is movie-going for film purists, and will be available at theatres everywhere.

See it in Classic 2D if you like the look of 24 frames per second and don’t want to change it, thank you very much, or aren’t a big fan of 3D.

How will you see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey?

Enter the Gimme Some giveaways (New Hobbit giveaways below)!

» Gimme Some Film: Hulu Plus Giftcards Giveaway

» Gimme Some Life: Hobbit Giveaway & 2012 Holiday Book Giveaway

» Gimme Some Oven: “The Baker” Gift Set Giveaway & “The Cook” Gift Set Giveaway

» Gimme Some Reads: Hobbit Gift Set Giveaway & Literary Brass Cuff Giveaway

» Gimme Some Style: Hobbit Giveaway & Jo Totes Giveaway

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Sarah Magill

Sarah Magill has a full-time movie habit made possible by a day-time greeting card writing gig. She blogs at Gimme Some Film and is learning to write scripts and direct. She tries to balance her screen obsession with trail running, jazz singing, book clubbing, and hanging out with The Best Golden Retriever Ever, Copa.

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12 comments on “{movie fun} Choosing Your Hobbit Tickets”

  1. Literally EVERY review I have read of the film says to avoid, at all costs, seeing the film in the high-res 48fps. Apparently it makes the sets, costumes, characters, etc, all look fake and like a very expensive soap opera.

    I will be opting for the standard 2D experience at my local, unbelievably outdated theatre in hopes that I cannot tell that Gandalf’s staff is make of polyurethane.

    • Dang. Hope that’s just a bunch of whiners talking b/c Sarah & I already got our 48fps tickets. Ah well, I can watch it again the regular way and see what I think.

    • I’ve heard mixed reviews…but I’ve been only skimming so I can watch it unbiased. People have such different visual esthetics and reasons for viewing movies; I’m curious a) if the HFR will appeal to me and b) if it will appeal to a specific demographic in particular. Younger kids are growing up with HD and might not have the expectations for a certain cinematic look that I have (and I’m guessing a lot of major publication reviewers have) for film. I’ll let you know how it goes. Your classic 2D experience is bound to be a good one : )

  2. Yay! Love this, Sarah. So helpful. All that 3D-talk just jumbles in my head normally. I’m typically a 2D purist – but as you know, I’ll be going to see the New-Thing with you at midnight on Thursday. :) If that’s how Jackson meant it to look – that’s how I want to see it. CAN’T WAIT!!

  3. Oh my goodness. Those Hobbit slippers just MADE MY DAY. :)

    Thanks for the awesome guide. So many options!!!

  4. I plan to see it in both HFR and Real3D. I have to believe Jackson has found a way to temper the “soap opera” effect, and that it might be a projectionist issue (just a guess). The factory (and showroom) settings on HD TVs are set to the maximum brightness and “motion smoothing” so that everything looks like a soap opera. All you have to do is adjust them to your liking when you unpack yours at home. I wonder if the digital projectors have a similar process…

    Regardless, the movie better be good.

    • Ah. That’s an interesting theory that it might have to do with projection settings…will have to look into that around the internets.

      Yes, it better be good…high hopes…

  5. Yep, definitely going to have to try HFR. Then if it makes me nauseous, I’ll see it a second time in 2D or regular 3D. Still debating about whether I should try for the midnight show with you this week! Either way, I should be able to see it within the week. Thanks for this run down!

    • Let me know which part of you wins out on the midnight debate! So interested to see how HFR plays out with everybody…have a feeling it’s going to be divisive.