Before James Cameron was crowing about the luscious, otherworldly universe known as Pandora, and before Peter Jackson reimagined the beautiful, haunting landscapes of Middle-earth, there was Douglas Trumbull, a 69-year-old special effects superviser whose credits include "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Blade Runner," and 2012 Best Picture nominee, "The Tree of Life."

This Saturday, Trumbull will receive an honorary Oscar: the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for filmmakers "whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry." For someone like Trumbull, it should come as no surprise that, more than 40 years after his work on "2001," he is once again looking to turn the industry on its head.

In a recent New York Times feature, Trumbull discussed the possibility of screening movies at 120 frames-per-second, which is five times the normal rate. The problem he sees is that at the usual 24 frame-rate, viewers are missing almost half the action on screen (the Times says it's like going through a "simple flip book"). However, with the 120 frame-rate, audiences would be able to get a crystal-clear, more lifelike image.

Peter Jackson and James Cameron recently made news about increasing the rate of their upcoming films (Jackson is shooting the "Hobbit" movies at 48, and Cameron is thinking about 60 for "Avatar 2"), but Trumbull had the same idea years prior, and was even able to accomplish it back before either of them had made a feature.

In the '70s for Paramount, [Trumbull] started the Future General Corporation to develop new film technologies, including Showscan, an IMAX-like format that used 70-millimeter film projected at 60 frames a second. 'Showscan was my favorite,' he said, 'because it was regaining, and going beyond, what I'd done with Kubrick.'"

You can head on over to the New York Times for the entire article, which also includes two accompanying videos, one of which shows Trumbull shooting a fight scene with his new technology, Hypercinema 3D, which shoots movies at 120 frames-per-second.

[via New York Times]
categories Movies