James Cameron’s Avatar sequels may become the first features to be produced and screened using Douglas Trumbull’s developing system for 4K 3D.
Hollywood effects legend Trumbull told The Hollywood Reporter he has talked with Avatar producer Jon Landau about viewing the short film UFOTOG, which is a showcase for Trumbull’s patented process, dubbed MAGI, for capturing and displaying images at 120 frames per second in 4000 pixel resolution and 3D on giant screens using conventional digital projectors.
“I know that Cameron admired Showscan [Trumbull’s earlier large-format high-frame rate system] and that he is a huge advocate of high frame rates. The use of HFRs for Avatar would be very appropriate and very successful. I don’t know if Cameron is interested [in using MAGI]. He’s in seclusion writing the screenplay for Avatar. I am talking to Jon Landau, and we plan to have a screening soon.”
During his speech at the IBC Convention in Amsterdam on Monday, Trumbull indicated that he has already talked with directors “who are very interested in this, and this will be driven by the directors. If directors like Cameron, J.J. Abrams, Peter Jackson want this, then I think we’ll start getting some traction.”
MAGI is a technique that involves shooting 4K 3D, shooting 60 fps with alternate shutter speeds. This alignment means that when played back through a standard 3D theatrical projector, the picture is delivered in sync with the system’s alternating left eye, right eye cadence. Trumbull describes the system as delivering “extreme fluidity of motion and amazing clarity with no strobing, no double flickering and a viewing experience that far exceeds conventional movie quality.”
He also joked that if MAGI is accepted, “Michael Bay is going to make an even worse Transformers movie because there won’t be any motion blur.”
Douglas Trumbull is knows as both a special effects producer and director, most famously building and shooting the Discovery for 2001: A Space Odyssey and directing Silent Running, but he will also have a special place in every geek and nerd’s heart for his contribution to the redesigned USS Enterprise for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.