Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Reel Facts & Opinions: The Innovators Episode II

FACT: Last week, Reel Speak took a peek into the brilliant and complicated minds of Peter Jackson, James Cameron, and Christopher Nolan for some insight into their ideas and theories for improving the cinematic experience and moving the industry forward.
Somewhat buried in that peek was the equally brilliant (if not more so) Douglas Trumbull, a visual effects pioneer who is not only advocating faster frame rates, but is pushing for a totally brand new, immersive style of theatre.

To be clear, Trumbull is not some whiz-kid fresh out of college looking to make a big name for himself with zany ideas. Trumbull worked with Stanley Kubrick in creating never-before seen sights in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY when he was in his early 20’s. He went on to head up the visual effects on stunning eyeball-poppers such as CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE, and BLADE RUNNER. Recently, he worked with Terrence Malick on the Oscar-nominated TREE OF LIFE.
Last week, Trumbull appeared on Ain’t It Cool News in a fascinating interview to expand on his ideas for changing the cinematic experience. These ideas include improving the look of 3D, larger and curved movie screens, faster frame rates (up to 120fps!), and an overall more enjoyable experience at the movie theatre.

OPINION: From multiple screens to vibrating seats to handing out scratch-and-sniff cards to (goddamn) 3D, the industry has tried a zillion tricks and gimmicks to bring people in and to enhance the movies. To be clear, Douglas Trumbull is no trickster. Right away, he obviously cares very much about the quality of the presentation on the screen (enthusiastically shared by this Blogger); he knows that the content of the movie itself is worthless if the presentation looks (and sounds) like ass.
The industry as a whole has been really been stuck in the past; projecting with film, using slower frame rates, and using flat, square screens. The advent of digital projection has finally given innovators like Trumbull the tools to break out of the 1800’s and into a new frontier. Some of his ideas will likely be dismissed as the same type of gimmicks that the industry has toyed with over the years, but if the world knows what’s good for its movies, then it should stop and listen to the people who know what they are doing. Trumbull is the guy who was called upon by Kubrick, Malick, Spielberg, and Sir Ridley to bring their visions to life; they knew his knowledge transcended that of lesser mortals.

To see the interview: Ain't It Cool News

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