Categories
Cinematography Dolby People Technology VFX

UFOTOG, a new film by Douglas Trumbull

I have always been a great admirer of Douglas Trumbull. Here is the press release about his newest project.

SEATTLE, April 30, 2014 — Academy Award winner Douglas Trumbull, announced today his forward-looking ten-minute demonstration movie UFOTOG. Produced at TRUMBULL STUDIOS in western Massachusetts, the experimental sci-fi adventure written and directed by Trumbull in 4K 3D at 120 frames per second, demonstrates his new process called MAGI, which explores a new cinematic language that invites the audience to experience a powerful sense of immersion and impact that is not possible using conventional 24 fps or 3D standards.

UFOTOG is a dramatic short story about a lone man attempting to photograph UFOs. Trumbull felt that it would be ideal to premiere UFOTOG at Paul Allen’s iconic Seattle Cinerama Theater as the headlining event at the annual Science Fiction Film Festival Sunday May 11, 2014, in conjunction with special screenings of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, both of which have alien contact stories. In addition, Trumbull will introduce his movie BRAINSTORM, on Friday, May 9, which marked the beginning of his quest for immersive cinema.

Trumbull has embarked on a project to write, produce, and direct using the MAGI technology for the production of his own feature films at Trumbull Studios. Through his comprehensive understanding of the needed technological advances, Trumbull has constructed a laboratory/stage/studio where he can shoot 120 fps 4K 3D live action within virtual environments, and see the results on the large screen adjacent to the shooting space. Trumbull announced: “This way, we can explore and discover a new landscape of audience excitement, and do it inexpensively and quickly – we are pushing the envelope to condense movie production time, intending to make films at a fraction of current blockbuster costs, yet with a much more powerful result on the screen.”

Trumbull Studios partnered with Christie to explore the potential of 3D 4K 120 fps projection, using the latest Christie Mirage 4K35 projection system. A special Mirage system will be installed in the Seattle Cinerama Theater for the premiere of UFOTOG, and the theater will soon offer the first public installation of Christie’s new laser illumination system in the fall of this year.

Trumbull Studios is committed to Eyeon Software, which has enabled the production of UFOTOG with the unheard-of impact of 3D in 4K at 120 fps, using Eyeon Fusion, Generation, Connection, and Dimension.

Trumbull’s pioneering work also included his Academy Award winning 70mm 60 frames per second SHOWSCAN process, which was widely acclaimed by industry professionals, and that led to the development of the film BRAINSTORM, which was to debut the process worldwide, with Trumbull directing. Yet in the days of celluloid film and the attendant high 70mm print costs and projector upgrades, the process did not get traction. Now, with digital projectors regularly operating at 144 frames per second for 3D, implementing much higher frame rates and increasing resolution is proving to be a cost-effective way to improve movie impact and profitability.

One objective of Trumbull’s initiative is to demonstrate to the film industry that the successful future of the movie-going experience needs to be a “special event” on larger screens, at high brightness, and with ultra-high frame rate 2K and 4K presentations that cannot be emulated on television, laptops, tablets, or smartphones. “Today, the multiplex is in your pocket…” says Trumbull, “…so younger audiences are enjoying the benefits of low cost and convenience via downloading and streaming, causing tidal shifts in the entertainment industry, and particularly in theatrical exhibition. Theaters must offer an experience that is so powerful and overwhelming that people will see the reward of going out to a movie.”

Trumbull is legendary for his ground-breaking visual effects work on films such as 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, and BLADE RUNNER, as well as his directorial achievements on SILENT RUNNING and BRAINSTORM and special venue projects such as BACK TO THE FUTURE – THE RIDE, and a trilogy of giant screen high frame rate attractions at the Luxor Pyramid in Las Vegas. Trumbull has more recently been pursuing what he believes can usher in a powerful transformation of cinema itself. At a time when the major studios have embarked on a business model to produce only tent pole-franchise-superhero-comic book action films, theater attendance is in decline. Trumbull believes that a jolt of high technology energy is needed to improve the impact of these expensive productions via photographic and exhibition technology that fully delivers the production value that is presently being throttled down by 24 fps, 2K resolution identical to television, and low brightness 3D on small screens.

Trumbull Studios includes equipment provided by Christie, Dolby Laboratories, RealD, Eyeon, Stewart Filmscreen, Composite Components, Abel Cine, Vision Research, nVidia, 3Ality Technica, Codex, Motion Analysis, Virident, Limelight Productions, and many more. Facilities include a shooting stage, production offices, multiple workshops, screening rooms, editorial, compositing, and sound mixing.

UFOTOG was written and directed by Douglas Trumbull, produced by Julia Hobart Trumbull and Steve Roberts, executive producers Donald Rosenfeld and Andreas Roald, starring Ryan Winkles, director of photography Richard Sands, original music by Claes Nystrom, produced at Trumbull Studios, with special production services provided by Eyeon.

RELATED LINKS
http://www.douglastrumbull.com

Categories
Dolby Film Sound Oscars People Technology

Ray Dolby Tribute by Walter Murch at 2014 MPSE Awards

Special thanks to The Soundworks Collection for this video.

Ray Dolby was a brilliant scientist whose inventions are in use every day in recording studios, sound editing suites, mix stages and cinemas worldwide,” said MPSE president Frank Morrone. “He was a giant in our industry and we take great pride is saluting his many contributions to our craft.”

Dolby, who passed away last September, is the founder of Dolby Laboratories. He is credited with developing a noise reduction system which delivered sound recordings with greater clarity and fidelity that was previously possible. The Academy Award winner also developed the first commercially-viable surround-sound system, which led to the widespread use of 5.1- and 7.1-channel sound systems in theaters and homes.

In 2012, the home of the Academy Awards was renamed the Dolby Theater, and the grand ballroom at Hollywood & Highland is now known as the Ray Dolby Ballroom.

Ray Dolby Tribute by Walter Murch.

Categories
Animation Dolby

Dolby Presents: Silent, a Short Film

The recent Oscar telecast made me think again how fast things change. It wasn’t that long ago that the Dolby Theatre was called the Kodak Theatre. I just read that IMAX theaters in Los Angeles are switching to laser projection. Even the Chinese Theatre is going with the IMAX Experience. Technology has certainly changed film making as we knew it, (and caused me to start this blog).

Anyway, Dolby released a short about film sound and I thought it would be nice to show it and the “making of” that goes with it. “Silent” reminds me of Disney’s film Paperman.

“Silent” is an animated short film created by Academy Award® winning Moonbot Studios. It celebrates how storytellers, inventors, and technology work together to create cinema magic.
The story follows two street performers who dream of bringing their “Picture and Sound Show” to life. When they discover a magical contraption inside an old theatre, they embark on a cinematic adventure of sight and sound to find the audience they always wanted.

Dolby Presents: Silent, a Short Film from Dolby Laboratories on Vimeo.

Dolby Silent – The Making Of from Dolby Laboratories on Vimeo.

 

 

Categories
Dolby Film Sound People Technology

Ray Dolby

I have always been impressed by Ray Dolby. Like Steve Jobs and Edwin Land, who himself inspired Jobs, he was a great combination of creative technology and business acumen. He was a member of the Ampex team that perfected the first Quad video tape recorder.

Dolby has posted a very nice tribute to Ray Dolby. Local 695 also has a nice article about him, including links from their Quarterly Magazine about his contributions to film sound.

A Tribute to Ray Dolby

by Scott Smith, CAS and David Waelder

To be an inventor, you have to be willing to live with a sense of uncertainty, to work in this darkness and grope towards an answer, to put up with anxiety about whether there is an answer.

–Ray Dolby

The Dolby name appears so often on films that it has become like Kleenex or Xerox, a generic for noise reduction. But the many innovations of Dolby Labs are largely the work of Ray Dolby, a man of prodigious ingenuity. He died of leukemia on September 12, 2013, at age eighty, at his home in San Francisco. Born January 18, 1933, in Portland, Oregon, Mr. Dolby was hired straight out of high school by Alexander Poniatoff of Ampex Corporation. At the time, Mr. Dolby had volunteered as a projectionist for a talk that Mr. Poniatoff was giving. Impressed by his talents, Poniatoff invited the young Mr. Dolby to come to work with him at Ampex, where he contributed to the design of the first quad videotape recorders.

After completing studies in electrical engineering at Stanford and physics at the University of Cambridge, Ray Dolby invented a system of high-frequency compression and expansion that minimized recorded hiss. He formed Dolby Labs in 1965 to bring this noise reduction system, called Dolby A, to market. Mr. Dolby later turned his attention to the problems of sound recording for motion pictures, which still relied on decades-old technology. His endeavors would lead to the introduction of a surround sound system that could be duplicated using traditional optical soundtrack printing techniques. It replaced the expensive and cumbersome printing techniques previously used for big-budget films.

At Dolby Labs he is remembered as much for mentoring a new generation of scientist/engineers as for his particular innovations. He was a scientist who expanded creative horizons for artists.

His contributions are covered in greater detail in Scott Smith’s series “When Sound Was Reel” in the Summer 2011 and Winter 2012 issues of 695 Quarterly. These are available at:

When Sound was Reel-7

When Sound was Reel-8

 

Ray Dolby Tribute from Dolby Laboratories on Vimeo.