Trumbull’s MAGI Cinema Solution Discussed at TIFF and IBC

Digital Cinema – Back in early May, I wrote an article about the first public debut of Doug Trumbull’s new cinema capture solution call MAGI (First Screening of 4K 3D 120 fps Content Coming to Seattle Cinerama). At the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and at IBC, Trumbull again showed his first short film, UFOTOG, produced in the format.

The purpose of these showings is to illustrate what Trumbull feels is the future of cinema. He wants to show this to anyone who is interested, including top name directors, so that maybe someone will pick up the baton and carry this forward. He hopes to also expand UFOTOG short into a full length feature, if a studio will support that.

These demos used Christies’ 6-primary laser projection system and 40+ speaker QSC sound system featuring Dolby Atmos by showcasing in 120 fps 14 fL Dolby 3D (at 2K resolution). Christie’s 6p laser system is a dual head system meaning there are two projection engines that use different RGB laser primaries for the left and right eye images. This allows the simultaneous delivery of left and right eye images instead of alternating left and right eye images. These projectors are capable of running at 144 fps, but are apparently run at 120 fps in the demo.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Trumbull is set to show the UFOTOG film to Jon Landau, James Cameron’s right hand man, for consideration in the next two Avatar films. Cameron is reportedly in seclusion now working on the screen play.

Trumbull also hopes to convince Peter Jackson, JJ Abrams and even film stalwart Michael Bay to try the system.

MAGI is also capable of filming at variable frame rates, so frame rate can be used for story-telling effect as well. “The Hobbit fell victim to the ‘uncanny valley'”, said Trumbull in the HR interview. “But when you dramatically increase the frame rate to 120 fps you jump over the valley to a whole new territory”.

The UFOTOG film was shot and produced at Trumbull’s studio in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. Trumbull is the Academy Award winner whose visual effects credits include ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’, and ‘Blade Runner’. He is also a writer and director (‘Silent Running’, ‘Brainstorm’, ‘Back to the Future – The Ride’). He developed the Showscan process for 60 fps 70 mm cinematography which delivered imagery onto the cinema screen that was said to be indistinguishable from reality.

The video below explains a bit more of the process. –Chris Chinnock