News Production & Post

High frame rates for The Hobbit

14 December 2012
High frame rates for The Hobbit

Park Road, the company that was involved in the post production of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, has been using the Rohde & Schwarz DVS CLIPSTER DI workstation for DCI mastering of The Hobbit trilogy. Besides the 48 fps package, DVS also developed additional parameters in CLIPSTER, which allow precise JPEG2000 adjustment for DCP generation. With the higher frame rate of 48 fps, movements appear noticeably crisper and smoother to the viewer – especially with fast tracking shots or jerky actions. The high frame rate of 48 fps eliminates critical image issues that are annoying to the eye such as shaking or judder caused by the lack of continuity between consecutive frames. As such, the results at 48 fps are much more realistic than at the standard rate of 24 fps, especially in 3D. In parallel to the high frame rate, a higher bit rate was important to Park Road. The DCI standard limits the bit rate to 250 Mbit/s to prevent any projector failures in traditional 2D cinema. For this special New Zealand project, CLIPSTER exceeds this bit rate, thereby delivering high image quality, even at 48 fps. In discussion with various Integrated Media Block manufacturers, the projectors were correspondingly upgraded to handle the new bit rate of up to 500 Mbit/s. The specially developed CLIPSTER version introduces 3D subtitles, which are also animated along the depth axis, leading to continual depth-adjustment of the subtitles to the stereoscopic situation of the image. In this regard CLIPSTER supports the relevant SMPTE draft standard, which is still being standardised, and already offers additional options: The animated 3D subtitles can be edited, included in the final image and output as XML with the DCP. Ian Bidgood, technical director at Park Road: "DVS has consistently proven themselves to be an invaluable partner. They showed real willingness to work with Park Road and make significant advancements to the CLIPSTER platform. They developed the CLIPSTER to be able to encode 48 fps 3D for DCI mastering, with the increase in bit rate and proprietary encoding hardware the quality and speed of the final output of JPEG2000 is unprecedented. Arguably without DVS’ willingness to innovate and push the boundaries we would not have been able to deliver this film."

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