Douglas Trumbull To Keynote SMPTE High Frame Rates Symposium

Douglass Trumbull Panavision Camera - H 2012
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Douglass Trumbull Panavision Camera - H 2012

Prior to the opening of “The Hobbit” -- the first major motion picture to be made and released at 48 frames per second -- Hollywood’s creative and technical community will explore its impact on movies.

Pioneering filmmaker and inventor Douglas Trumbull will keynote the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers’ upcoming Symposium on High Frames Rates For Digital Cinema.

The Academy Award winner-- whose visual effects credits include 2001: A Space Odyssey and whose inventions include ShowScan, a large format system that incorporated 65mm film, shooting at 60 frames per second (fps) – is an advocate of the use of higher frame rates in motion picture production and exhibition.

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This has been a hot topic this year, particularly as Peter Jackson is making his trilogy of The Hobbit at a high frame rate of 48fps. The first of Jackson’s films opens December 14, and much attention has been placed on the subject since an early preview of some unfinished footage from the movie was screening at April’s CinemaCon at 48fps, drawing mixed reactions.

Movies have been shot and projected at a standard rate of 24fps since the arrival of talkies, but proponents of moving to higher frame rates have argued that it can create a more lifelike image and truer illusion of continuous movement, in particular improving 3D and action sequences by eliminating or greatly reducing motion artifacts such as blur. Others argue that it looks too real, resembling video.

Trumbull is aiming to provide an aesthetic choice by developing a system that effectively allows filmmakers to embed high frame rates such as 48 or 60fps into a standard 24fps movie.

Scheduled to occur October 22 in Hollywood, the High Frame Rates Symposium will explore the impact that high frame rates have on the movie system, from production through postproduction, distribution, and exhibition. The symposium is designed for creative professionals as well as the technical community.

This full-day program will kick off SMPTE’s annual technical conference and exhibition, which will be held Oct. 23-25 at Loews Hollywood Hotel. Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood is slated to deliver a keynote during the conference.