Dive Into ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ with this Short Featurette
Ang Lee is one of the most stylistically ambitious filmmakers of this decade, stunning viewers with his all-CGI (except for the star) 3D adaptation of Life of Pi in 2012. His latest, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, is even more ambitious, having been shot in 4K, 3D, and on 120 frames-per-second cameras (that’s 96 frames more than film standard, which is 24). If your brain doesn’t hurt yet, the crew has released a short featurette that discusses the challenges of shooting in such a way, and how the film will look when it hits theaters.
Billy Lynn will be the first full-length film shot in 120fps to be screened in that same format at its world premiere at the New York Film Festival on Friday. If you’re wondering what that’ll be like, for context, when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was shown in theaters at its frame rate of 48 fps, twice the rate of a normal movie, a lot of people had to leave halfway through due to headaches and nausea. 120fps is more like the kind of rate one would use if they wanted a super hi-def slow-motion scene, so seeing a movie in normal-motion with a frame rate like that could be a little weird.
On the other hand, Billy Lynn’s protagonist is a soldier returning from war with plenty of lingering post-traumatic stress, who is then expected to attend the halftime show of a Thanksgiving Day football game, full of flashing lights, fireworks, and screaming people. A ridiculously high frame rate coupled with Lee’s technicolor filmmaking could give viewers a similarly disorienting experience to that of a still-traumatized soldier.