Change Your Frame Rate and Change Your World

By. Andy Janning, NO NET Solutions

By changing a setting on a film camera, Peter Jackson, director of The Hobbit, touched off a controversy this year that stretches from Hollywood to your office.


Jackson decided to shoot his latest movie about halflings and heroes at 48 frames per second (fps), which is twice the frame rate (the number of pictures taken by the film camera every second) of the typical movie but closer to the rate at which the human eye actually sees the world.

While there were a number of technical and artistic reasons behind why he did this (explained in exquisite film-school level detail at Gizmodo), his biggest reason was to make the film feel more “immersive” and real to his audience – to draw them into the action in a way that 24 fps (even in 3D) never could.


The decision to radically alter a standard camera setting has a few lessons for business leaders:

What’s your frame rate?

In other words, how often are you taking a high-definition picture of your world as it really is? In film, the higher the frame rate, the sharper the picture. In the real world, the mindset goes by many names: management by walking around, reality check, accountability, or simply shutting down the spreadsheet and getting the scoop directly from those who make your numbers happen. That isn’t easy, though, because…

Your audience will probably hate it at first

Numerous film critics and viewers alike lambasted Jackson’s decision, chiefly because the film looks too real as a result. You’ll find the same thing. When you increase your frame rate, it will be astoundingly uncomfortable for those around you. By either tradition or choice, they’ve constructed an artificial fantasy world for themselves where they can ignore certain issues and believe the lies they’ve told themselves about their performance and worth. When you start peeking behind their carefully arranged curtain, they’ll find all sorts of creative ways to throw you out or tear you down.

Start small

Of the approximately 4,000 US screens upon which The Hobbit is shown, only about 450 of them can actually show it in its native 48 fps format. Jackson knew this going into the production process, which minimizes the damage if the experiment fails. If you’re going to start HFR’ing your way through your work, start with one area first but be prepared to expand your scope because…

Reality sparks revolution

Every major evolution in film history began by relentlessly adding reality – despite heavy resistance from film traditionalists at the time – to what started as silent monochromatic works: sound (The Jazz Singer in 1927), color (popularized by The Wizard of Oz in 1939) and 3D (perfected by Avatar in 2009). By including more reality in your world, you give yourself and your company the power to transform it.

Next month, we’ll break down the opening scene of 2010’s The Social Network and show why it’s important to your work not just for what you saw…but for the 98 versions of it you didn’t see.

The president of NO NET Solutions, and creator of, Andy Janning is an 8-time state and national award winner for excellence in organizational development and former credit union executive. He helps clients across the country become better leaders, mentors, and parents. Find out more at and follow him on Twitter at @andyjanning.

Andy Janning

Andy Janning

Andy Janning is the author of the books Heroes, Villains, and Drunk Old Men and The Breast Cancer Portrait Project, an 8-time state and national award winner for overall excellence ... Web: Details