| 12.5°C Dublin

How Jackson hopes hi-tech Hobbit will put magic back into the movies

DIRECTOR Peter Jackson hopes the new technology he used on his Hobbit movie trilogy will create a magical experience that will get people into cinemas.

Speaking in Wellington, New Zealand, before today's premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Jackson said the films were shot at 48 frames per second instead of the traditional 24 to give them greater clarity. He likened the technology to the leap from vinyl records to CDs.

He said we live in an age when many younger people are happy to watch movies on their iPads.

"We just have to make the cinema-going experience more magical and more spectacular to get people coming back to the movies again," he said.

At the Cinema Con theatre owner's convention in April, Jackson got a mixed reception for preview footage of The Hobbit shown at 48 frames per second. Some observers thought the result was so realistic that it took away from the magic of the film medium.

Jackson that when the movie opens worldwide next month that only about 1,000 cinemas will be equipped to show the movie in 48 frames, so most people will see it in the more traditional format. The movie has also been shot in 3D.

Jackson and most of the stars of the trilogy, including lead actor Martin Freeman, who plays hobbit Bilbo Baggins, held a relaxed, joking news conference at the museum Te Papa.

Jackson turned serious, however, in addressing claims that animals depicted on screen had been mistreated.

The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is planning protests at The Hobbit's global premieres after several animal wranglers said three horses and up to two dozen other animals had died during the making of the movies because they were housed at an unsafe farm.

Jackson said the allegations were an insult to everyone who worked on the films.