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Do You Care About Frame Rates? Douglas Trumbull Has A New Short Film He Wants To Show You In 120fps

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 18, 2013 at 4:59PM

"2001: A Space Odyssey," "Blade Runner," "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind," "The Tree Of Life"...the resume of VFX legend Douglas Trumbull pretty much speaks for itself. But he's also been a filmmaker as well, helming two oddities from the '70s and '80s -- "Silent Running" and "Brainstorm" (the latter notable for being the film Natalie Wood died while making) -- but hasn't done anything since except for a few shorts and some theme park stuff. But he's got some big plans...if the technology can arrive to make it happen...
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Douglas Trumbull
Douglas Trumbull

"2001: A Space Odyssey," "Blade Runner," "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind," "The Tree Of Life"...the resume of VFX legend Douglas Trumbull pretty much speaks for itself. But he's also been a filmmaker as well, helming two oddities from the '70s and '80s -- "Silent Running" and "Brainstorm" (the latter notable for being the film Natalie Wood died while making) -- but hasn't done anything since except for a few shorts and some theme park stuff. But he's got some big plans...if the technology can arrive to make it happen...

Trumbull has quietly been assembling a short film entitled "UFOTOG," a new ten-minute movie about a photographer trying to snap a photo of a UFO or something that is boasting some big, orgasmic tech details for those of you who are into that sort of thing. You see, it was shot in 4K 3D, on 3D virtual sets at Trumbull's own studio, at 120 frames per second (take that Peter Jackson and James Cameron!). In fact, JMR Electronics had to built the guy a customer workstation so he could playback everything in real time, because waiting sucks. But when you can see this? Not any time actually.

There are no theaters equipped to project 120fps and what's more, Trumbull is even looking at a developing a futuristic screen so it will be displayed properly. He tells THR it will be“an extremely high gain hemispherical screen that reflects all the light from the projector back to the audience. So it triples the amount of light with no increase to the [lamps] in the projector.” Speaking of projects, Trumbull is also working with Christie to get one working that will show 120fps without requiring too arduous of an upgrade.

All this is really in the service of showing Hollywood the capabilities of this new format, but considering no one really gave a shit about "The Hobbit" in 48fps, unless 120fps is mind-meltingly brilliant, we don't see theater owners retrofitting their projectors and cinema screens anytime soon. As for audiences in general, we don't really anticipate them being any more excited.

So good luck to Trumbull and "UFOTOG" -- we admit we're curious -- but with grand plans to shoot two more sci-fi features including one "that takes place about 200 years in the future" that he wants to shoot in this new fangled format, he might want to drop the future tech and get regular cameras if he wants them made and screened in anything resembling the near future. [THR]

This article is related to: Douglas Trumbull, UFOTOG


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