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Peter Jackson will shoot The Hobbit in 48 FPS + Andy Serkis to direct second unit + Casting news

Peter Jackson has written a post on the official “The Hobbit” Facebook page detailing his decision to shoot the films at 48 frames per second. Jackson explained some of the key advantages to shooting at 48 fps vs. the standard 24 fps:

We are indeed shooting at the higher frame rate. The key thing to understand is that this process requires both shooting and projecting at 48 fps, rather than the usual 24 fps (films have been shot at 24 frames per second since the late 1920′s). So the result looks like normal speed, but the image has hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness. Looking at 24 frames every second may seem ok–and we’ve all seen thousands of films like this over the last 90 years–but there is often quite a lot of blur in each frame, during fast movements, and if the camera is moving around quickly, the image can judder or “strobe.”

Another added benefit is that shooting at 48 fps helps with eye strain that is sometimes common in 3D films:

Shooting and projecting at 48 fps does a lot to get rid of these issues. It looks much more lifelike, and it is much easier to watch, especially in 3-D. We’ve been watching HOBBIT tests and dailies at 48 fps now for several months, and we often sit through two hours worth of footage without getting any eye strain from the 3-D. It looks great, and we’ve actually become used to it now, to the point that other film experiences look a little primitive. I saw a new movie in the cinema on Sunday and I kept getting distracted by the juddery panning and blurring. We’re getting spoilt!

Click here to read the rest of Jackson’s post. In other news, Gollum actor Andy Serkis will serve as Jackson’s second unit director on the two-film project:

“I think I understand Peter’s sensibility and we have a common history of understanding Middle Earth,” Serkis told The Hollywood Reporter. “A lot of the crew from The Lord of the Rings was returning to work on The Hobbit. There is really a sense of Peter wanting people around him who totally understand the material and the work ethic.”

In casting news, Bret McKenzie has joined the cast of “The Hobbit”, playing Lindir, an Elf of Rivendell. McKenzie actually appeared in the first and third ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies as an extra with the fan-created nickname “Figwit”. In other casting news, Orlando Bloom confirmed that he has been approached to appear in the project [Collider]:

Collider: Are you going to appear in The Hobbit?

Bloom: Yeah, it’s looking like that. I’m really excited about going to see Pete [Jackson] again. It’s still a little up in the air, but the idea of working with Pete is fantastic. I can’t actually really talk too much about it, at this point. I just was given the script to piece through, so it’s quite exciting.

Also, 24 Frames | LA Times has an interview with Saiorse Ronan who hopes to have a part in the films:

“Pete[r Jackson] is adding a lot of characters in the film adaption,” Ronan said. “Hopefully they have a part for me…It would be great to go back. I love Pete,” she said. “It’s such an amazing family unit down here because it’s such a small country, and they use a lot of the same crew [for each film].”

“The Hobbit: There and Back Again” (rumored title) is scheduled to hit conventional and 3D theaters in December 2012 followed by its sequel “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (rumored title) in December 2013.

This article was included in my latest edition of Sci-Fi Movies, which you can read in full here.