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Avatar: The Way of Water broke movie projectors across Japan

High frame rate (48 fps) tech was to blame

Since it was released last month, Avatar: The Way of Water made waves in Japan, but not necessarily in all the right ways. As reported by Bloomberg, Avatar caused multiple theaters throughout the nation to face major technical difficulties, with one theater having to chop the framerate in half from 48 fps down to the traditional 24 fps.

The Avatar sequel is available in multiple formats, including regular 24 fps, 48 fps, and 3D 48 fps. As the high frame rate (HFR) 48 fps is still relatively new technology, with most theaters being unequipped to support it, theaters needed to plan accordingly as to which format they were receiving. The theaters that had issues in Japan, including those who reportedly offered refunds and turned moviegoers away, have yet to issue a comment.

The HFR format made headlines in 2012 when it was used for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, with many moviegoers praising the advancement in technology, while others found it jarring, saying it looked “unnatural.” To combat this unwanted effect, the HFR format of the  Avatar sequel employs 48 fps only during action sequences, while expository scenes are reduced to the more familiar 24 fps.

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