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Author Topic: Trumbulls new Short Movie at 120 fps
Victor Liorentas
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 - posted 06-18-2013 01:00 PM      Profile for Victor Liorentas   Email Victor Liorentas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/douglas-trumbull-natalie-woods-last-569988

Legendary sci-fi visual effects expert Douglas Trumbull hasn't directed a feature since 1983's Brainstorm, when his star Natalie Wood died under mysterious (and infamous) circumstances during a party on Catalina Island as the film was under production.
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Now, the man who created the visual effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner returns to directing after 30 years with an experimental sci-fi short called UFOTOG.

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The innovative filmmaker, inventor (Showscan) and Oscar recipient's new 10-minute project was made in 4K 3D and at a high frame rate of 120 frames per second. (By comparison, The Hobbit was made in 2K 3D at 48 fps. And James Cameron’s high frame rate test from 2011 went as high as 2K 3D at 60 fps.) The short is a test run before the filmmaker embarks on two planned features that take advantage of these technical capabilities.

Trumbull says he has “loved” getting back into directing -- a love that he abandoned after making Brainstorm. “I had to personally make a life decision many years ago when Natalie Wood died under very suspicious circumstances during the making of Brainstorm,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I just had to stop. I had been a writer-director all my life, and I decided it wasn't for me because I was put through a really challenging personal experience. I do not think the story has ever been told. I don’t know the story myself, but I know what my experience was. I decided to leave the movie business.”

The soft-spoken director then changed the subject back to his work. UFOTOG, an acronym for UFO photography, is “based on a longer screenplay that I have” that tells the story of a man’s attempt to photograph an alien spacecraft. “He’s very smart, a serial entrepreneur, like Elon Musk. So he has the wherewithal to get a really good camera and build a system on a mountaintop.” The photographer is played by actor Ryan Winkles.

UFOTOG is one of two features that Trumbull has in the pipeline. “It is not the primary one that I want to make next. I’m also developing a sci-fi epic that takes place about 200 years in the future,” he said.

The projects underscore the director's belief that films shot at ultra-high resolution and frame rates -- and supported by immersive sound, such as Dolby Atmos, which will be used on UFOTOG -- will deliver a kind of experience that will draw more people to movie theaters. “What you see on the screen is less like a movie and more like a live event. The screen becomes a giant window onto reality,” he said, noting that this informs the creative choices, as it creates a more first-person experience.

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UFOTOG was shot with Canon C500 4K cameras and a 3ality 3D camera rig, recording raw data at 120 fps. Actors and other live elements were primarily shot on a greenscreen stage at Trumbull’s studio in Southfield, Mass., and composited into 3D virtual sets. “I think we can save a tremendous amount of money by not going on location and not building many sets at all," the Trumbull said.

But unlike many productions that rely on virtual sets (where CG backgrounds are frequently used), Trumbull said there is actually very little CG in his short, since the environments are largely composites of live-action elements such as trees and skies. “The result is photorealistic,” he said.

To manage the data to accommodate 4K 3D at 120 fps, the production worked with manufacturer JMR Electronics, which designed and built a server and storage system that was used on the set to collect and manage the data while providing real-time playback. Later, it was moved to compositing (also at Trumbull’s location) while linked to the set via an InfiniBand 56GB connection.

“The amount of data that we would be collecting on set was the key issue,” said Timothy Huber of Theory Consulting, the project’s technology consultant. “Doug needed a playback server that would work at 120 fps for both eyes.”

JMR technical products specialist Miguel A. Saldate and COO Mitch Guzik said that they are seeing increasing interest in 4K, and that the company plans to offer the 4K and high frame rate-supported configuration of its system to customers.

For Trumbull’s project, exhibition also needed attention, as theaters are currently not set up to play movies at 120 fps. Trumbull has been working with projector maker Christie Digital, which supplied its 4K projector during production of UFOTOG.

“Almost all of the [DLP Cinema] series 2 projectors are capable of running my material; it just needs a modification to the media block [a piece of hardware required for digital projection]," he said. At this time, Trumbull is bypassing the media block and playing footage off a server. “[For exhibition] we will be using a Christie Integrated Media Block. [For production of the short] we play our material directly out of Eyeon Generation visual effects software, which is frame rate and resolution agnostic. It is the only thing we have found that allows us to work in this high frame rate all day, every day.”

To create his envisioned entertainment experience, Trumbull also believes that theaters need to increase the size and gain of the screen. He is currently testing a prototype from Stewart Filmscreen, which he described as “an extremely high gain hemispherical screen that reflects all the light from the projector back to the audience. So it triples the amount of light with no increase to the [lamps] in the projector.”

Trumbull is looking to demonstrate the configuration and the potential of 120fps to Hollywood. “We’re trying to find a venue in Los Angeles where we can set it up and show UFOTOG properly,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “We are shooting for some dates in August.”

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Gavin Lewarne
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 - posted 06-18-2013 03:20 PM      Profile for Gavin Lewarne   Email Gavin Lewarne   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
isn't 120fps a waste of data and bandwidth ? I mean since digital projectors are not based on shutters and the light is constant there would be absolutely nothing to be gained by super high frame rates if you have dark or relatively motionless shots.

If a pixel isn't moving, 24 or 120fps of a pixel not moving wont make a blind bit of difference.

It seems to be a bit of "keeping up with the jones's" now and all logic and reason has left the room.

bah

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Victor Liorentas
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 - posted 06-18-2013 03:46 PM      Profile for Victor Liorentas   Email Victor Liorentas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
He is as always trying to raise the bar on what can be achieved in a cinema or special venue environment.
His system is capable of multiple frame rates even on a pixel level.
To me "keeping up with the Jonses" is D cinema 2k at 24 fps with little concern for what could be. He is trying to create a you are there event level experience to rival Cinerama and 70mm 2001 type of spectacle which can also replicate 24fps when needed.

You should read his mission statement on his website.

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Gavin Lewarne
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 - posted 06-18-2013 04:24 PM      Profile for Gavin Lewarne   Email Gavin Lewarne   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It may very well be the best thing since sliced bread, but reading what you posted it sounds like a mediablock / IMB modification or upgrade is required. Whether this is a software/firmware or hardware modification does not really matter. All I see is another bunch of potential costs involved for those of us who don't have the money to keep up with all the new developments in digital. For some of us, 2k 24fps is the best we can do and will remain so for quite some time.

Whats next - 8k 240fps ?

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Carsten Kurz
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 - posted 06-18-2013 04:59 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There is no way any current 4k projector can play 120 fps. Sony is limited to 60fps, DLP is limited to 30fps at 4k input signal. Question is wether the article is correct about these 120fps, that is, is 2*120 fps 3D, or 2*60fps 3D. The Canon C500 has a slomo mode up to 120fps in 1080p, so it may be they were shooting 2*120fps on a two camera stereo rig.

- Carsten

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Marcel Birgelen
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 - posted 06-18-2013 06:31 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Gavin Lewarne
isn't 120fps a waste of data and bandwidth ? I mean since digital projectors are not based on shutters and the light is constant there would be absolutely nothing to be gained by super high frame rates if you have dark or relatively motionless shots.
You could probably easily employ a motion video compression algorithm that takes care of this. Although it will almost always come at a price of losing some quality.

quote: Gavin Lewarne
Whats next - 8k 240fps ?
Although I see the potential benefits of 8K for large formats (15/70 IMAX replacement), I guess anything above 120 fps would just be a total waste of bandwidth for presentation purposes. I guess that 120 fps is even higher than needed, most people don't even notice flicker above about 75 Hz.

quote: Carsten Kurz
There is no way any current 4k projector can play 120 fps. Sony is limited to 60fps, DLP is limited to 30fps at 4k input signal. Question is wether the article is correct about these 120fps, that is, is 2*120 fps 3D, or 2*60fps 3D. The Canon C500 has a slomo mode up to 120fps in 1080p, so it may be they were shooting 2*120fps on a two camera stereo rig.
I guess it is hard to tell if those limits are actually due to limitations in the current generation IMBs or if it is a real limitation in the SXRD/DLP engine and/or the LVDS connection between the IMB and the projector.

Regarding the Canon C500: They're probably using the dual 3G-SDI interfaces to record the raw sensor data to some external storage. That way, it might just be possible to get 120 FPS at 4K.

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Carsten Kurz
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Barco should know:

http://www.barco.com/~/media/Downloads/White%20papers/2011/Getting%20ready%20for%20high%20frame%20rates%20in%20di gital%20cinema.pdf

Besides that, I question Trumbulls authority on cinema content in HFR. He is and was more into the event/ride aspect of it.

Yet this is one of my favourite Trumbull statements;

'I love high frame rates, because I like to make simulation rides and reality-based experiences that are looking to be as realistic as they possibly can, but 24 frames is what I call the “texture” of feature films. And I don’t think anybody’s really ready to see what you would categorize as a feature film shot at 60. And that was one of the tests I did when I was at Showscan; we shot a fully dramatic short film with sets, props, actors, the whole thing at 60 and it was very disturbing. Because it was like live news, or sports, or something.'

- Carsten

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Victor Liorentas
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 - posted 06-18-2013 09:56 PM      Profile for Victor Liorentas   Email Victor Liorentas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes this is why he has patented this new system of multiple frame rate options within a feature and individual pixels.

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Victor Liorentas
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 - posted 06-19-2013 03:53 PM      Profile for Victor Liorentas   Email Victor Liorentas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Storage systems innovator designs customized playback system for world's first 120 fps, 3D movie.

Chatsworth, CA, June 19, 2013 | SHOOT Publicity Wire | --- JMR Electronics recently designed and built a high performance server and storage system for the production of the world's first high-frame-rate (120 fps) 3D movie. UFOTOG, a 10-minute short that tells the story of a man's attempt to photograph alien spacecraft, is the work of director, visual effects pioneer and filmmaking visionary Douglas Trumbull. In a cinematic first, Trumbull shot the film in stereoscopic 3D at 4K resolution and at a camera speed of 120 frames per second. JMR's unique server and storage solution was used on the set to collect, manage, playback and edit the huge amounts of image data produced during the making of the film.

UFOTOG is more than a demonstration of high-frame-rate imagery; it embodies Trumbull's concept for a new form of cinematic entertainment. Known for his work on such films as "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Blade Runner," Trumbull believes that films shot at ultra-high resolution and frame rates (and supported by equally rich soundtracks) will deliver a kind of immersive experience that will draw more people to movie theaters.

"Profoundly increasing the frame rate, results in a tremendous increase in vividness and saturation, and an extremely lifelike illusion," Trumbull says. "What you see on the screen is less like a movie and more like a live event."

The production of the type of films that Trumbull envisions will entail significant changes to current production workflows, in part to manage the volume of data produced by high-resolution cameras shooting at ultra-high frame rates. UFOTOG was shot with Canon C500 cameras (paired in a 3ality 3D camera rig), recording RAW data at 120 fps. Actors and other live elements were primarily shot on a green screen stage (at Trumbull's studio) and composited into 3D virtual sets.

In order to make this work, Trumbull and his production team needed the ability to perform real-time playback of the 120 fps, 4K, 3D camera media, and quickly provide it to compositors. Designing an appropriate workflow for that task proved daunting.

"The amount of data that we would be collecting on set was the key issue," recalls Timothy Huber of Theory Consulting, the project's technology consultant. "Doug needed a playback server that would work at 120 frames per second for both eyes. Virident Systems had a flash storage device with the bandwidth to playback material at that speed, but the motherboards and graphics processors couldn't handle it. The bottleneck wasn't the storage infrastructure, it was everything else."

Huber sought the support of JMR Electronics, which has been designing and building storage solutions for more than 30 years. "They plugged in the Virident cards and found the right combination of motherboard, processor, memory and GPU," Huber recalls. "Within two weeks, they got it working."
"JMR has a long history of pushing the envelope and maximizing the performance of their systems," Huber adds. "They know how to integrate all the pieces. It's more than knowing the specs for each processor; you have to know how they all work together."

The JMR capture server was initially brought onto the set and used to facilitate real-time playback and compositing. Later, it was moved to a near-set compositing facility while linked to the set via an InfiniBand 56 GB connection. JMR provided round-the-clock tech support.

"The system kept chugging away despite all the footage that was thrown at it and some very long work cycles," notes JMR Electronics Technical Products Specialist Miguel A. Saldate. "It speaks to the quality of our engineering, the way we build our boxes, the materials we choose, the way we design air flow, the power provisioning, the component and software selection."

Based on their experience with UFOTOG, Trumbull and Huber have begun drawing up workflows for future high-frame-rate productions that include a similar flash storage capture server as its data hub. "Once data is captured by the camera, it has to be downloaded into a storage medium and then made available to compositors, editors and post production people to manipulate and manage," Trumbull explains. "That's where the JMR's technology comes into play for us. Their products are at the leading edge of workstations that allow artists to work at high bandwidth."

JMR founder and CEO Josef Rabinovitz commented, "We're pleased to create cutting-edge solutions for visionaries such as Doug Trumbull, and keep actively engaged providing systems for 4K high frame-rate productions. Similar hardware from JMR is used in high-resolution digital airborne mapping for government agencies, and by technologists around the world."

About JMR Electronics, Inc.
JMR is a leading value provider of scalable storage systems for high performance and capacity driven applications for multiple markets including; video and post-production, military and government, education, VOD, DCC, gaming, security, medical imaging, HPC and Web 2.0. Since 1982, JMR's reliable and innovative RAID systems are proudly made in the U.S.A., manufactured entirely from their Chatsworth, California facilities. JMR's complete line of SilverStor™ and BlueStor™ PeSAN™ DAS, NAS and SAN solutions handle nearly every project's need. Reliability. Innovation. Performance. This is JMR. For further information please visit www.jmr.com.

Contact Info
Mitch Guzik
JMR Electronics, Inc.

http://www.shootonline.com/go/index.php?name=Release&op=view&id=rs-web3-624436-1371666283-2

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Carsten Kurz
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quote: Carsten Kurz
There is no way any current 4k projector can play 120 fps.
I should have written 'There is no way any current DCI 4k projector can play 120 fps'.

Because Christies new Mirage 4k special venue projector actually can display 4k at 120fps input-output rate. However, the input section necessary to enable this throughput is 'beefy' to say the least.

Christie will love Trumbulls footage to advertize the Mirage 4k's capabilities.

- Carsten

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Gavin Lewarne
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I have to wonder...If he continues down this path and creates a 4k 120fps full length feature who is going to be able to play it?

It seems an awful lot of time and money into developing a format that pretty much no one can play and will be unwilling to or unable to pay for the new equipment to do it.

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Carsten Kurz
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 - posted 06-20-2013 05:47 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Trumbull is not so much into producing content himself. I think he sees himself more as a demonstrator. Also, capturing 120fps for him doesn't necessarily mean displaying at 120Hz. He likes the idea of a common high frame rate to create 24fps, 48fps, 60fps slomos, etc. from it.

- Carsten

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Jarod Reddig
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Cool to see Trumball back at it again. Would love to be at the premier of UFOTOG.

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Frank Angel
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I live in NYC and have access to Broadway plays by top notch actors, directors and with high production values. But I go to see a play mostly only when JoAnne drags me to them; I never really can get deeply engrossed in a live play the way I can in a movie. For some reason, sitting watching the actors, I am always very consciously aware of a bunch of actors up there acting; I find it hard to get past that reality. That awareness never really fades into the back of consciousness; the suspension of disbelief never happens to the extent that it does for me when I watch a movie and I can get completely engrossed in what is going on on the screen. Live theatre is just to "real" to be enjoyable the same way I enjoy movies.

Perhaps that is similar to what people have said happens with 48fps and what Trumbull himself said about 60fps -- it's just disturbingly real. Besides, wouldn't it be much more productive to emphasize higher resolution than on higher frame-rates? Wouldn't 8K or even 16K and bigger, brighter screem images be a much better goal?

Oh yah, as for the "hemispherical screen," wasn't that already tried with disasterous results with that concave torus screen?" Doesn't that create terrible sound problems -- flanging type issues?

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Carsten Kurz
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Yep - that's IMHO the big misconception with this 'hyper realism' approach of HFR. As if being on set with the actors would create increased 'realism'. Well it does, but not in the sense of dramatic realism, but in acted realism. You're not IN a movie, you're in a movie being shot. Gandalf looks like a cheap pretzel vender on a medieval market when you're close to him on set.

- Carsten

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