The key–note presentation for the ‘higher frame rate’ symposium was given by the respected Douglas Trumbull – filmmaker, visionary, and more. Douglas explained that his father was an Engineer and his mother was an Artist. (You blogger wonders if that makes him an Artineer?). He argued that cinema had to become a more immersive experience, if audiences were to be held and regained. Brighter screens and more are needed, so the audience becomes ‘part of the movie’.
Douglas’ revealed his personal history – his triumphs such as the cinematography for the movie 2001, and his disappointments – the fallout from the death of actress Nathalie Wood while making his movie ‘Brainstorm’.
One of his achievements was the idea for the system ‘Showscan’ which offered 70mm film shot at 60 pictures/second. It was this, he explained, that led to his lifelong commitments to raising the quality bar for movies.
He had a basic concept to offer. This was that different types of scene, and different components of a scene, need different picture rates. A future system should allow individual elements or segments of pictures to run at different picture rates. In other words, the picture rate becomes a component of the production grammar, like colouring or contrast. This would create the most efficient and highest quality delivery system. To make this work, the movie could all be shot originally at, say, 120 pictures per second, and individually elements could be ‘sub-sampled’ to their optimum rate. It’s an intriguing concept if it can be made to work.
Douglas has also being working on using higher picture rates for 3D movies – apparently a 3D movie shot at 120 pictures per second is a great experience.
His keynote was a very thoughtful one, and his commitment to high quality is a breath of fresh air. Outside the meeting room, your blogger asked him if he might work with the 33 Megapixel ‘Super Hi Vision system’ (ITU UHD-2), at the 120 pictures/second it may offer in future. Could we ever see a Super HiVision Trumball remake of his 2001 or Brainstorm movies? Wouldn't that be something.