Douglas Trumbull is best known for his contributions to visual effects. If you’ve ever seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, or Blade Runner: The Theatrical Final International Director’s Cut Work Print, you’ve seen his stuff. He also recently came out of retirement at the request of Terrence Malick, providing an alternative to CGI in the upcoming film Tree of Life, which looks absolutely stunning.
But a long time ago in Sci-fi filmmaking’s humble past, the industry legend took a spin as film director, notably with Brainstorm starring Christopher Walken. Not yet content with returning to a cave, Doug Trumbull announced his intention to direct again, with a 3D feature film using 48 or 60 frames per second. The most interesting factor here is that Trumbull seems to have more experience with this technology than all other directors combined. Details after the jump…
“48 or 60 fps” is championed by James Cameron as the way of the future and seconded by Peter Jackson who will direct The Hobbit in this format. What you might not know is that big-name-supporter #3 practically invented it. In the words of Peter Jackson:
“Doug Trumbull developed and promoted a 60 frames per second process called ShowScan about 30 years ago and that looked great. Unfortunately it was never adopted past theme park use. I imagine the sheer expense of burning through expensive film stock at the higher speed (you are charged per foot of film, which is about 18 frames), and the projection difficulties in cinemas, made it tough to use for “normal” films, despite looking amazing. Actually, if anybody has been on the Star Tours ride at Disneyland, you’ve experienced the life like quality of 60 frames per second. Our new King Kong attraction at Universal Studios also uses 60 fps.”
That same statement voices concerns on how many digital projectors will be updated for 48 fps in time for The Hobbit‘s 2012 release, curiously omitting what complications 60 fps could bring. For the moment I’m content with calling it the 48 fps movement until further developments merit more.