The Hobbit film leaves fans with an unexpected sickness

    Latest J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation was filmed at a   higher frame rate, but the results have left viewers queasy

LAST UPDATED AT 12:33 ON Sun 2 Dec  2012

MOVIEGOERS who went to see the first screening of The  Hobbit in New Zealand have complained a cutting edge new filming  technique employed by director Peter Jackson left them feeling dizzy and  sick.

Jackson filmed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first in a  two-part adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien novel, in 3D and at a camera speed of  48 frames per second, which is double the normal rate, The Sunday Times reports.

The result is supposed to make 3D look smoother, eliminating flicker and  motion blur. But the results have been too realistic for some.

The first complaints came six months ago at CinemaCon in Las  Vegas, where Jackson showed clips of The Hobbit in 48 fps. One tech  writer summed up the general feeling thus: “It’s a subtle change, but one that  makes a huge difference. Your favourite shows all of a sudden look like amateur  productions. It is very unpleasant.”

The issue has come back to haunt Jackson following last week’s premier in New Zealand.

“My eyes cannot take everything in, it’s dizzying, now I have a migraine,”  said one fan, who nevertheless can’t wait to see it again.

Another tweeted: “It works for the big snowy mountains, but in close-ups the  picture strobes. I left loving the movie but feeling sick.”

One fan said watching the film was like a being on a rollercoaster. “You have  to hold your stomach down and let your eyes pop at first to adjust. This is not  for wimps.”

The Sunday Times attempts to explain the reason for the queasiness  scientifically by quoting the work of Adrian Bejan, author of Design in  Nature.

Apparently, eye movement normally combines “long and fast horizontal sweeps  with short and slower vertical movements”.

However, 48fps film “requires the eye to sweep up and down faster than usual  in close-ups to absorb unparalleled detail on a big screen, causing cognitive  strain”.

Happily for fantasy fans with weak stomachs, hardly anyone will actually be  able to see The Hobbit in its 48fps glory, because fewer than five per  cent of cinemas have the necessary equipment. ·

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