During CinemaCon yesterday, Barco and Qube Cinema projected 3D test footage via dual projectors and a single Qube XP-I server running at 120 fps.
During the Filmmaker’s Lunch, attended by Martin Scorsese, guests witnessed the world first super high frame rate 3D demo, just a day after a preview of 'The Hobbit', filmed at 48 fps, received mixed reactions.
The demonstration used two stacked Barco projectors to show a combined 240 fps projection driven by a single Qube XP-I server sending 120 fps per eye to the Qube Xi IMBs in the two projectors.
“Delivering two streams of 120 fps from a single source is a first in digital cinema,” said Eric Bergez, Qube Cinema’s director of sales and marketing for the Americas. “Qube is not only showing that technology for the new HFR films is ready but demonstrating how far this technology can take you with currently shipping products.”
“When you see HFR 3D at 48 and 60 fps for each eye, you can really appreciate the tremendous improvement over 3D at 24 fps,” said Rajesh Ramachandran, president of Qube Cinema, “but 120 fps 3D truly blows everything else away. Filmmakers can now be truly liberated from the barriers that technology has imposed – with no visual artifacts."
Qube Cinema’s product lines include the Qube XP series of digital cinema servers, Qube Xi 4K Integrated Media Block, QubeMaster software solutions, and Qube Keysmith KDM generation system.
Higher frame rate capture and projection is considered to be the next big evolution in digital cinema with directors such as Peter Jackson and James Cameron filming their new blockbusters at 48 fps, twice the current standard. However, whilst Peter Jackson claims it is smoother, more natural motion free from artefacts like strobing, the audiences for a ten minute preview of The Hobbit appeared to be less convinced.
A projectionist from a rival studio said "It looked like a made-for-TV movie. It was too accurate — too clear. The contrast ratio isn't there yet — everything looked either too bright or black.”
3D movies in particular are expected to benefit from higher frame rate filming, especially during fast panning shots. Higher frame rate filming was experimented with in the late 70’s and early 80’s by special effect pioneer Douglas Trumbull who created a 60 fps format known as Showscan. The 1983 film Brainstorm was intended to be the first Showscan film, but the technology was not implemented in the end and Showscan was confined to motion simulation rides. Is it time for higher frame rate filming to now take off?
In other CinemCon news, RealD awarded its third ‘RealD Innovation in 3D Award’ for the movie ‘HUGO’. Director Martin Scorsese accepted the award on behalf of the film from RealD Chairman and CEO, Michael V. Lewis.
“’HUGO’ set a new bar for innovative use of 3D, representing a leap forward in 3D filmmaking by utilizing 3D techniques to draw audiences into the story in ways unobtainable in 2D,” said Lewis. “With his work on ‘HUGO,’ Mr. Scorsese has embraced 3D as a creative tool and demonstrated its true potential to bring a life-like and fully immersive world to the big screen.”
Martin Scorsese added "I had a fascination with 3D that goes back to the View-Master. I'd always dreamed of making a film in 3D. It's like a combination of theatre and film. There's something 3D gives to a movie that takes you to another land," said Martin Scorsese in his comments upon receiving the award. "Working with RealD creatively was a liberating experience. Thank you RealD for allowing us to make something like ‘HUGO.
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