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The Hobbit: Video Technology You Can Do at Home

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," Martin Freeman, 2012
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," Martin Freeman, 2012Photograph by James Fisher/Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection

Filmmaker Peter Jackson’s new installment from Middle Earth has so much sexy technology you’d think reviewers would swoon: 3D; high def; 48 frames per second. Instead, we’re hearing a big yawn. Where did The Hobbit go wrong?

Welcome to the Q Curve. Consumer technology has gotten so good that the professionals we once paid to produce something startling now have difficulty staying ahead. I call this phenomenon the Quality Curve, where the rising quality of what you can produce with the iPhone or Samsung in your hand, if drawn as an upward line, now often surpasses the quality of professional producers. If the excellence of what you or I create rivals that of pros, our demand for their wizardry starts to slip.