Earlier this week, Douglas Trumbull, perhaps the greatest mind in the history of visual effects, famous for such visual masterpieces as “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Blade Runner,” and “Close Encounters of The Third Kind,” gave a keynote speech in Amsterdam, Holland. It was about Trumbull’s new MAGI process, which is the special effects pioneer’s plan to capture and show images in 4K quality at an astonishing 120 frames per second (as opposed to the standard 24 frames per second that is currently used).
According to Trumbull, the new advances in FPS will lead to a much smoother picture, offering a never before seen sense of realism in films. While high frame rates have been tried in films already, most notably Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit,” they were met with both lukewarm and negative responses. Trumbull was not perturbed by these complaints, stating that “The Hobbit,” which was filmed at 48 FPS, “Fell victim to the ‘uncanny valley,’ but when you dramatically increase the frame rate to 120 fps you jump over the valley to a whole new territory.”
“It delivers extreme fluidity of motion and amazing clarity with no strobing, no double flickering and a viewing experience that far exceeds conventional movie quality,” Trumbull also added. According to the visual effects master, several directors are already interested in trying out this new high frame rate style, including the man who brought this new frontier of digital effects to the world, James Cameron. According to Trumbull, he has had meetings with Cameron as well as Cameron’s long time co-producer and colleague Jon Landau. The two have shown great interest in using the new MAGI system for the upcoming sequels to Avatar, which are as of now, looking to be released in 2016 and 2017.
As of yet, there has been no deal signed, but Trumbull is quite confident that in the coming weeks and months Cameron may sign on to work with the new technology and add it to his already impressive “virtual reality” world of Pandora that was created for the first “Avatar” film. When asked of the future of the digital effects film industry, Trumbull stated that he hopes someday both Cameron’s and his advancements could be combined. “VR [virtual reality] is trying to satisfy the desire for an interactive immersive experience which is much more controlled from the user’s point of view. It’s a one person at a time experience in some kind of virtual world that could possibly be the same as in a movie. There’s no reason why you can’t have a movie called Avatar and a VR world called Pandora. The experiences are different but they might share the same intellectual property.”