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What is 3D+ in HFR?

Posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 3:45 PM

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The release of Gemini Man in theaters October 11, 2019 brings with it additional showings using a technology being branded as 3D+ in HFR. Those showings are labelled as Gemini Man 3D+ IN HFR and Gemini Man: The IMAX 3D+ in HFR Experience.

What is 3D+ in HFR?

Most everyone knows what 3D is, but not all movie fans may recognize the HFR portion. Toss the two terms together with a + for good measure, and it's bound to have a few people asking some questions. We went looking for answers!

3D

This is the easy one. Using specially designed glasses in a specially equipped movie theater auditorium, moviegoers can enjoy three-dimensional effects in the movie. These effects may be as recorded by a 3D camera or converted to 3D after the movie was filmed. 3D movies date back to beginning of movies as a medium, but it really caught on in the early 1950s, and then faded into obscurity a few years later.

It came back every once in a while, but the most recent trend started when James Cameron released his hit movie, Avatar, which spawned a resurgence of the format. Because very few movies have matched the 3D impact of Avatar, its popularity has been waning, but hasn't completely disappeared.

HFR

Most movies are made with a frame rate of 24 frames per second (fps). This means that for each second of onscreen time, 24 individual images are shown to the viewer.

In 2011, director Peter Jackson committed to making his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit in 48 frames per second, a technique that would become known as HFR, which stood for High Frame Rate. Since that time, talk has surfaced from time to time of making movies in 60 fps and 120 fps, which would also be considered HFR. Of course, for the sake of one-upsmanship, no self-respecting marketer would ever allow their 60 or 120 fps movie to be equated with those lowly 48 fps movies, so a new designation would be necessary in order to achieve world domination and differentiation, right?

3D+ in HFR

So all that brings us to the release of Gemini Man in 3D+ in HFR. We went looking for answers, and the great Google took us very quickly to the IMAX web site, where they explain the designation and how it translates to their IMAX auditoriums:

What is 3D+ in HFR?

3D+ in HFR (High Frame Rate) is a revolutionary digital format with a frame rate of 60 frames per second, more than double the standard movie frame rate of 24 frames per second. With 60 3D images projected every second, derived from a pristine 120 frames per second master, 3D+ in HFR renders images closer than ever before to what the human eye sees. The 3D+ in HFR experience puts the viewer right in the center of the action.

What is IMAX 3D+ in HFR?

The combination of—3D+ in HFR images (projected at a 60 frame rate), IMAX’s large screens, powerful sound system and IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) process—creates the fully immersive spectacle that visionary filmmaker Ang Lee intended. Gemini Man also features innovative CG technology to allow Will Smith to battle a younger clone of himself – a visual experience that you won’t want to miss on the large IMAX screen.

In the following featurette produced by Paramount Pictures (the studio behind Gemini Man), technical supervisor Ben Gervais refers to "high frame rate 3D" as "3D+" so adding "in HFR" just drives the point home.

The ending of the Paramount featurette explains the reason for being when Gervais says "3D+ is something that really puts the audience into the action. You really feel like you're there, and it gives them an experience that they can't get at home."

The most popular 3D technology company, RealD, has produced a featurette that also explains 3D+ in HFR:

If you're convinced and you want to see the movie in this format, check out the Showtimes pages for the movies and buy your tickets now!

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Please Note: These comments are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

Oct 15, 2019 - BigScreen Reader  

Of course the studios and sometimes even the filmmakers have to come up with new ways to try to WOW the public with what they put on the screen...always hellbent on luring more butts into seats. It used to be, and most observers of the movie industry will say that almost always is with a great story which is the most powerful marketing hook ever invented to grab those butts and viewer dollars. And while that is demonstrably true, that never stopped the studios from trying to foist new technology on us that will cause eyes to pop and ears to perk up with sound all around them. However, that being said, this HFR gimmick is, well, quite hard to define.

HFR -- has a number of variants -- 48, then 60 and some systems even toying with 120 frames of information per second. This in an attempt of presenting more visual information to the eye than was done for decades with standard, 24 frames per second movies. Problem is, that extra information, as intuitively would seem like it would make a very positive impression, fact is that HFR when it was tried with Peter Jackson's THE HOBBIT at 48fps, that extra information had the opposite effect. Most people complained that it looked like a soap opera on TV. This critizism was so nearly universal with audiences that it HFR got said to have a "soapy" look or a "soap opera" look. In short HFR via THE HOBBIT went over pretty much as a dud.

The heart of the problem was, the new HFR technology didn't give audiences that WOW factor that earlier technologies were able to deliver. The screen didn't get demonstrably wider like it did the first time audiences saw Cinerama or CinemaScope; it didn't get monstrously bigger like with IMAX; you weren't all of a sudden surrounded with sound as you were with stereo or hear sound that came from around you, like 5.1 or 7.1 or over your head and under your like Dolby Atmos; you didn't see objects on the screen felt like they are in different spacial planes, some far back into the screen and some even in front of the screen like do in 3D. About all people who saw THE HOBBIT presented at 48fps seemed to come up with as an explanation of the experience was that "it looked like a TV soap opera." That 48fps version of HFR even got the nickname "soapy".. . . And now THAT is something movie makers DON'T want people thinking about their Motion Picture. Embedded in the movie industry mogul's DNA is the instinctual obsession to NOT have their product look ANYTHING like television. Their montra has always been that every new technology must give the that audience something they CAN'T get at home, i.e, on your TV.

That smell of HFR "looking like TV" seemed to be enough to keep much from happening with it, at least by the studios. A handful of filmmakers however still seemed to be enamored by it and hence GEMINI MAN. And of course they've upped then frame rate numbers, the idea I guess being, if 48fps didn't wow them, how about 60fps. Heck why stop there..the public gets transfixed like a dear caught in headlights when you flash big numbers, so hey, let's try 120fps. THAT should be irresistible to then,

If you are not a fan of the television "look" and you actually like the cinematic look of 24fps and would rather not have your movie have the same feel as your TV set, you might want to pick a theatre than isn't advertising +HFR. And if you can't find one -- they have all been running around exasperated and trying to get this new technology to work on old digital systems and anyone who has had even a passing encounter with computers knows how difficult it is to get old hardware to work with new software and vice versa. Hardware and software can become obsolete and "no longer supported" in the blink of an eye.

So maybe the best thing to do is wait until they release GEMINI MAN on BluRay and watch it on a regular TV in a regular living room and with people who don't chat on their cellphones during the movie, and then decide if, thru all the frame rate ranting, the STORY is any good.  

Oct 18, 2019 - Jonathan Winchell  

It is my opinion that I prefer a strong script without using special effects for the storyline. However this film has overdone the special effects.
 

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