Conference The State of VFX Then & Now
Tuesday, May 04, ROOM T brought to you by TRIXTER, 22:30

Cinema of the Future

Cinematic Immersion is my goal as a filmmaker. I have learned to write, produce, and direct films, and now realize that my vision is not getting to cinemagoers. The concept behind improving the cinematic experience is that many of today’s movie theaters as well as the film production industry itself, can be dramatically improved by altering some standards to new ones: 1) The old standard of frame rate at 24 fps began when movies transitioned from “Silents” to “Talkies” in 1927 for the release of THE JAZZ SINGER, can now be reconsidered in order to reduce blurring and judder of image motion, which will unleash vast potential for action films, and “digital dark frames” can be built into the movie’s DCP to emulate mechanical shutters that have been a vital component of the “cinema look”, 2) The width of screens can be widened for a more immersive and spectacular presentation by both widening and curving the screens in a design similar to the great “road show” days of 70mm SuperPanavision, Todd-AO, and CinemaScope, using the popular “wide screen” 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 3) It is important that the industry recognize that digital projectors have no shutters, as did all film/mechanical projectors of the best days of filmed cinema – resulting in a flicker-free but problem-ridden presentation that is more like television than cinema. This loss of the “cinema look” has been diminished by the advances in streaming and low cost 4K TVs, and poor/dim 2K digital projection. My conclusion is that we need to couple movie production standards with movie exhibition standards, and I suggest that the movie industry adopt 60 fps 4K as a standard that will be compatible with television, while providing a greatly improved theatrical experience. 60 fps with interleaved dark frames solves motion problems while retaining the all-important “cinema look”.. 

Doug Trumbull, President, Trumbull Ventures

Academy Award Winning Visual Effects Pioneer and Filmmaker

Douglas Trumbull was one of the Special Photographic Effects Supervisors for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). He went on to become the Visual Effects Supervisor for such classics as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), and Blade Runner (1982), each of which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.

He directed Silent Running (1972), Brainstorm (1983), Back to the Future…The Ride (1991) and numerous other special format films.

He is the recent recipient of the coveted Gordon E. Sawyer Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement as well as Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Society of Cinematographers and the Visual Effects Society, for his outstanding contributions in the field of filmmaking.

Douglas has devoted recent years toward a goal of improving the cinema experience by reimagining the format, frame rate, resolution, and projected screen image field of view in order to enable a more immersive cinema experience. This work has been underway at Trumbull Studios in the Berkshires, and includes a new kind of all-digital cinema experience in his prefabricated theater concept called the Magi Pod, exploring 2D and 3D in 4K resolution at 120 frames per second. 

Trumbull is continuing to write and perform photographic experiments toward a goal to develop motion picture projects combining his new technologies with his groundbreaking filmmaking magic. He is presently developing a feature science fiction project that he plans to direct.