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Paramount unspooled roughly 15 minutes of Ang Lee’s sci-fi action thriller Gemini Man in 3D and at a high frame rate of 60 frames per second Wednesday at theater owners confab CineEurope in Barcelona.
The Skydance movie stars Will Smith as an elite assassin who is pursued by a younger clone of himself and also stars Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong. It’s slated to open Oct. 4.
The inventive production, which is nearing completion in post, includes a fully CG younger Will Smith, immersive sound and a cutting-edge high frame rate of 120fps with 3D and 4K resolution. The CineEurope presentation was screened in 60fps in 3D at today’s more commonly used 2K resolution, using a Cinionic (Barco) laser projection system with RealD for 3D capabilities.
Gemini Man was lensed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe (Memoirs of a Geisha), who shot the movie using new models of the lightweight ARRI Alexa M camera, modified by ARRI to photograph 120fps at 3.2K resolution, on a 3D rig. Weta Digital created the performance-captured CG young Smith and additional visual effects.
Directors such as Lee and James Cameron are exploring the potential of employing frame rates higher than 24fps in movie production to take advantage of capabilities such as the ability to create a smoother 3D image and reduce judder. Cameron has said he would use high frame rates in the production of his Avatar sequels, though he hasn’t elaborated on his approach. To make Gemini Man, Lee is using what he learned in helming his 2016 experimental film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which was made in 4K, 3D at 120fps, though when the film opened, there were only a handful of theaters capable of showing the movie as it was intended.
With Gemini Man, the plans are to use various theatrical display options. The movie will be released in 2D and 3D at today’s standard 24fps. There also are select existing theater installations — including those equipped with certain laser projectors from Christie and Cinionic, Dolby Vision, Imax or Samsung Onyx LED auditoriums — that could display another version of Gemini Man, such as one in 2D at 120fps or 3D at 60fps. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that test footage is available and various manufacturers and exhibitors are working with the studio to determine the best route for release.
Earlier this year, China’s Huaxia Film Distribution, projector maker Christie and cinema tech firm GDC signed a deal aimed at developing a cinema system with the ability to produce and project movies at 120fps per eye, along with 4K, 3D, high dynamic range (HDR), a wide color gamut (WCG) and immersive sound. The first projection systems of this joint development, which use Christie dual RGB laser projectors and GDC’s new media servers, are scheduled to launch in August with 100 auditoriums using RealD 3D systems and Ultimate screens in China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, so this group could have a small installed base to display the full format in time for Gemini Man‘s theatrical release.
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