Instead, Jackson showcased a light-hearted, 15-minute behind-the-scenes video of the final days of physical production, as well as roughly 12 minutes of footage from the two actual films, in 2-D and in 24 frames per second, the industry standard since the 1920s.
The preview, which featured scenes from both this December’s “An Unexpected Journey” and 2013’s “There and Back Again,” received an enthusiastic reception from audience members, many of whom had camped out outside the screening hall to assure their entry into the presentation.
The footage included encounters among the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), royal elf Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), 13 dwarves and the ring-obsessed creature Gollum (Andy Serkis, who also served as the production’s second unit director.)
Fans also got a first look at Evangeline Lilly’s elf Tauriel, who co-producer Philippa Boyens said was created for the films to bring more “feminine energy.” “We believe it’s completely within the spirit of Tolkien,” she said.
The warm reaction to the footage was quite different from the mixed reception the film – presented at 48 frames per second — received at CinemaCon, a theater owners conference, back in April.
In a press conference following his presentation, Jackson said that Comic-Con was “not the place” to demonstrate the new frame rate, which is designed to reduce eye strain and the amount of visual “strobing,” or blurriness, that occurs in standard-speed displays. Though he still believed 48 frames per second to be a game-changer for the industry, he said he didn’t want to repeat the CinemaCon experience and instead have the audience focus on the film.
McKellen, who earned a standing ovation from the Comic-Con crowd during the studio presentation, defended the concept of new technologies at the press conference. He noted that many of the younger fans at Comic-Con had never even seen the original “Lord of the Rings” trilogy on the big screen and questioned “what is going to happen to their heads” after they see the new films in 3-D and 48 frames per second.
To the detractors, McKellen said, “Bollocks! 3-D is life” adding that little kids are going to be “thrilled” by the new movies.