The Future Is Coming: FX Guru Douglas Trumbull To Direct High-FPS, 3D Film

Appearing at NAB’s Vegas meetup this weekend, 2001 and Blade Runner FX guru Douglas Trumbull signaled his intention to return to directing feature films after a break of 28 years. Variety have some quotes from the man, but here’s a round of key bullet points:

  • He’s almost completed a pair of screenplays.
  • He’s going to shoot live action but use green screen sets, both to cut costs and allow up to 100 camera set-ups per day.
  • He’ll be using Showcan digital, which allows for up-to 100fps filming, though 60fps seems to be what Trumbull is expected to use.
  • He’ll be filming in 3D.
  • He thinks “people are kind of bored… and so along comes Avatar that does something new, and it’s the biggest-grossing film of all time. So there’s a message.”

I’ve read before about Trumbull’s plans to build a studio in Colorado and produce his own movies up there. At the time I said:

The director and FX pioneer gave The Denver Post a call to discuss his plans for a “boutique digital 3-D movie studio” in Colorado. During the conversation, Trumbull expressed his admiration and respect for how Pixar painstakingly construct their films in long development periods, rather than rushing into production. This will be the model for his new studio, he says, noting:

This is a process that I now think can be applied to feature film production.

So we know they’ll be slow-roasted, but what kind of films, what genres, can we expect from Trumbull and co.? Unsurprisingly, it sounds like he’s interested in FX heavy pieces:

The most profitable movies are those that take you to other worlds… I’ve been pretty dissatisfied with the Hollywood world of thinking within the limits of a 35mm rectangular screen, which is why I’ve spent a lot of my time exploring theme-park ride and world expos.

I like Trumbull’s movies Brainstorm and Silent Running a great deal. I think he’s an under appreciated director, and if he’s finally happy to step back onto a feature film set and pick up the megaphone again, I’m all for it. As for higher-FPS shooting and 3D, then I think I’m pretty loud and proud in my support for those too.

Here’s hoping this actually pans out and the films get made.

Here’s the Showscan Digital demo video I ran last week:

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