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 James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...

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PostSubject: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:56 am

http://www.slashfilm.com/cameron/#

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In 2005, James Cameron and George Lucas held a presentation at ShoWest which changed the course of the history of cinema. In a room full or movie theater owners, managers and execs, Cameron and Lucas started their big push to convince the entire industry to invest in new digital cinema equipment for the upcoming 3D revolution. Sure, there was hesitation from some, and the success of Cameron’s Avatar certainly sped up the adoption process. Like it or not, we now live in a world of 3D cinema.

Six years later, Cameron has returned to ShoWest, now renamed CinemaCon, to hold a presentation titled “ADemonstration and Exclusive Look at The Future of Cinema”. What is the next revolution in cinema? I was in attendance at this presentation, and have a full report after the jump.

You might guess that Cameron was back in Las Vegas to convince the industry to upgrade to 4K projectors. We’ve seen beautiful footage and films projected at 4K over the last few years at these types of industry events, but the movie theater chains have been slow in adopting the higher resolution projectors — most have settled on cheaper 2K digital projectors. Are 4K projectors the next leap in the future of cinema? Nope.

Cameron believes the time has not yet come for the 4K resolution upgrade as most films are currently authored at 2K (especially in the post production stage where most visual effects are rendered at 1 or 2k).

According to Cameron, the next revolution in cinema will be… to begin shooting and projecting films with faster frame rates.

What does that mean exactly?

35mm movies are shot and projected at 24 frames per second. The 24 FPS rate became the industry standard for feature films in the mid-1920s after sound motion pictures were introduced, and has not changed since. The low frame rate results in a strobing effect when their is moderate camera movement. You have probably accepted this technological artifacting, but it looks artificial and your brain interoperates it as such. Raising the framerate makes movement look a lot smoother, and gives the impression of an enhanced resolution. It is also one of the major factors of why some people experience discomfort while watching 3D movies.

Cameron presented test footage that he shot a month ago. Scenes in a medieval castle — people drinking at a royal dinner, a sword fight, and a couple ladies dancing in slow motion. He shot (using the Arri Alexa, Red Epic and Phantom cameras using the same lighting set-up) and screened the footage at 24, 48 and 60 frames per second, giving back-to-back comparisons between each of the framerates.

I know this is all a bit techie, and you probably just want to know what I thought, so here goes: The footage shot at 48 frames a second looked incredible. The best way to describe it, is to quote Cameron: “If watching a 3D movie is like looking through a window, then [with this] we’ve taken the glass out of the window and we’re staring at reality.”

The bump up to 60 frames per second isn’t as drastic, although I did notice a slight improvement. Cameron himself isn’t sure what a new standard should be set at — 48fps or 60fps. It seems to me that setting the bar at 60fps would be futureproofing, and is a smart way to go.

Even sports on television is broadcast at 60 frames per second — we have the technology in our homes. Cinema has lagged behind on pushing the technology to new, better, levels. So if Hollywood were to adopt a higher framerate it would improve not only the cinema 2D and 3D presentations, but would also improve the 2D and 3D presentations on your home set.

It’s worth noting that the frame rate discussion is not new. Academy Award-winning cinematographer Douglas Trumbull developed a process called Show Scan in the early 1980′s which used film to project images at 60 frames per second. The problem is that the mechanical nature of film projection made the process too cumbersome and costly for theater owners to adopt.

The genius of Cameron’s Frame Rate push is that (in theory) it requires no new equipment to implement. The high definition video cameras being used for movies today are able to capture images at high framerates, some reaching as high as 220 fps. The second generation digital projectors (basically any projector bought since January 2010) are able to project at very high framerates. In fact, every 3D presentation we see now is being projected at 140 frames per second, projecting each eye a half dozen times. According to Cameron, theater owners won’t need to buy new expensive equipment, as it will only require software upgrades.

I don’t care if you hate 3D films — the 3D revolution is the reason why theaters have adopted digital projection, which everyone can agree is a step in the right direction. In the coming years we’ll see social on demand movies in theaters and a big change in independent distribution. It also presents the chance to innovate the presentation. I’ve heard complaints from some filmmakers that 3D alters the way a film must be shot, cut, and produced. Filmmakers throughout history have been altering their use of camera movement to prevent heavy strobing. An upgrade in framerate will now allow filmmakers to shoot in ways they would have otherwise avoided. It also would result in much clearer and smoother images, even when projected in 2D.

While Cameron didn’t offer an ultimatum to the theater owners, he did mention that he will be shooting Avatar 2 at high speeds, although he is unsure if it will be 48 or 60 fps. And there is time to upgrade the software in these projectors — Cameron mentioned that he’s still working on a script and production would be at least 18 months out. Cameron also said that George Lucas is also “gung ho” about upgrading the framerate, and that Peter Jackson was exploring shooting The Hobbit at 48fps, and was even shooting tests on the film’s sets. But the story as Cameron relayed it: Jackson suffered illness before he could complete the tests and convince studio brass to shoot the films at a higher speed.

As for how this will change a filmmaker’s process, Cameron demonstrated how the 60fps footage could be downgraded to 24fps. Studios would not need to double their visual effects render budget to accommodate the extra frames, Cameron claims that smart pipeline software could choose which motion heavy footage would require extra rendered frames and that the result would probably only be 10% more in price. One might think that high speed photography for slow motion sequences would be harder to achieve if the whole of a film was already being shot at 48 or 60 fps. Cameron demonstrated how the high speed footage could be doubled and would not look choppy at 48fps.

It will be interesting to see which filmmakers and Hollywood studios jump on board this train. It will take a bit of movement on the filmmaking side before the movie theater owners upgrade the software on their projectors. I have a feeling that the stars will align before Avatar 2 finds its way to theaters.

Interesting article.

Seems slightly gimmicky to me, only because we've all been dealing with films that feature 24 FPS (or less) footage since the dawn of the medium. Cinema's been able to thrive with just that. Films still convey the same messages and we're all able to appreciate great performance, great camera work, etc., regardless of frame rate.

It always seems like Lucas, Cameron, etc. are more concerned with the "ground-breaking" features that their films hold, rather than the content and composition of their films.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:41 am

Wish he'd write a groundbreaking script.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:58 am

My theory on their obsession over "groundbreaking" film-making technology: They have small cocks.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:04 am

Ravenstone knows all.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:24 am

Glad it wasnt the 360 degree screen, which popped into my mind when I first saw the thread.

As for increasing the frame rate, I hope it doesnt mean that every films going to have that awful sped up look you see on display TVs in shops. I remember down at the beach my friends popped in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and it had that horrible unworldly sppediness (which might also have been caused by playing through a PS3). I didnt even notice how good or bad the film was. laugh

But for blockbusters - I can picture some awesome super slo-mo style shots in the way you get on sports broadcasting. Better that than continued use of 3D.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:30 am

Makeshift Python wrote:
My theory on their obsession over "groundbreaking" film-making technology: They have small cocks.

Probably, and those 3D goggles won't add a single inch.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:37 am

Practically speaking, having film be 48 or 60 frames per second will help when theaters inevitably damage or burn some of their film, having to cut out the damage bits and splice the rest together. It isn't usually noticeable, but occasionally the film will jump and you can tell. This would give that issue a little more leeway....

Of course, if it's all on digital projectors, that becomes a moot point....
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:59 am

colly wrote:
Glad it wasnt the 360 degree screen, which popped into my mind when I first saw the thread.

As for increasing the frame rate, I hope it doesnt mean that every films going to have that awful sped up look you see on display TVs in shops. I remember down at the beach my friends popped in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and it had that horrible unworldly sppediness (which might also have been caused by playing through a PS3). I didnt even notice how good or bad the film was. laugh

That's called "motion flow" which is a TV feature, not a PS3 thing. And I agree, it's horribly distracting and gives the whole thing a very artificial feel sucking out the cinematic motion. I cannot tolerate that. I despise it and despise the companies even more for trying to turn this feature into a standard factory setting. When we got the new 60 inch TV in our house the first thing did after connecting everything was shutting off all those terrible settings like motion flow, adjusting color temperature to a more natural look, turning off the noise reduction feature, ect, all to give it the best presentable look.


Last edited by Makeshift Python on Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:00 am

colly wrote:
Glad it wasnt the 360 degree screen, which popped into my mind when I first saw the thread.

As for increasing the frame rate, I hope it doesnt mean that every films going to have that awful sped up look you see on display TVs in shops. I remember down at the beach my friends popped in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and it had that horrible unworldly sppediness (which might also have been caused by playing through a PS3). I didnt even notice how good or bad the film was. laugh

I'm not sure about this, but I think Digital Noise Correction can do to that. I remember watching VERTIGO on my old TV with that feature on, and it looked like a silent movie in the bell tower scenes, what with the sped up running.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:20 pm

Is there anything wrong with getting good film stock, putting it in a camera, filming good actors using a good script, and using the techniques of visual storytelling? I know it's been around for a long time, but it does me just fine.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:28 pm

I'd be interested to see how a film plays at a higher frame-rate. I have a hard time seeing how it would *hurt* the film.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:00 pm

Of course it will fuck up the ENTIRE home video industry.

You'd either have to have TVs and video players with mulitple frame rate technology OR have to deal with 90% of all movies looking unnaturally sped up. And even if you did have the multiple frame rate selection, most consumers wouldn't know it was there, what it was, or how to use it (like how everyone I know with a widescreen TV has the aspect ratio set wrong) and be complaining about how weird the picture looks.

What this really sounds like is Cameron pushed 3D at us, we didn't like it (for reasons that have NOTHING to do with frame rate, see Walter Murch's article) and now is trying to push ANOTHER load of shit on us saying that once we buy THIS load, we'll buy his other load. But it's not his fault 3D didn't work, it's the FRAME RATE.

Pft.

And then, of course, Lucas will have to release the 60fps versions of STAR WARS, which will look even WORSE than the 3D versions will.

I have a TV that can be set to 60fps for "smoother motion during sports and video games" and trust me it looks AWFUL. There's just something... off... about it.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:02 pm

lalala2004 wrote:
Practically speaking, having film be 48 or 60 frames per second will help when theaters inevitably damage or burn some of their film, having to cut out the damage bits and splice the rest together. It isn't usually noticeable, but occasionally the film will jump and you can tell. This would give that issue a little more leeway....

Of course, if it's all on digital projectors, that becomes a moot point....

Yeah, unless you're going to an indie cinema, they've all switched to digital projection anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:03 am

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
lalala2004 wrote:
Practically speaking, having film be 48 or 60 frames per second will help when theaters inevitably damage or burn some of their film, having to cut out the damage bits and splice the rest together. It isn't usually noticeable, but occasionally the film will jump and you can tell. This would give that issue a little more leeway....

Of course, if it's all on digital projectors, that becomes a moot point....

Yeah, unless you're going to an indie cinema, they've all switched to digital projection anyway.

No, that's not entirely true. Many have switched over, but a large amount of theaters have a few digital projectors with the majority being film.

I can only speak of what I know of the Cinemark corporation, of course (the chain I work in). I do hear there are plans to make it all digital, but we do still use film currently. We usually reserve the digital projectors for the 3D films primarily.

This surprises many people who think we're popping in DVDs up in the projection booth...Even on the digital projectors it's more like a hard-drive and it's a huge piece of equipment that's being operated.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:32 am

Yeah I worked for Cineplex in Canada for a bit and Famous Players before that. They and Empire Cinemas have completely switched over.

And while it's mostly hard-drives, I have also seen them charge full ticket price for special screenings of classic movies where they just popped in the Blu-ray.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:02 pm

I always wanted to borrow one of those drives used for digital film and see what everything looks like inside. Digital video file structure is one of those things that intrigues me.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:02 pm

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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:12 am

... And if he doesn't get it?
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:36 am

All I can say is this: Keep the spectacles for spectacles, I don't want every fucking medium turned into 3D.

IMO the next step in 3D technology is when you are not required to wear fucking glasses. Holographic films is the future, not me getting crosseyed.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:47 am

Well, they do have a new surgery now that modifies your eyes so that you can see 3-D without the use of glasses. (Though, unfortunately, in some people it's had the effect of rendering their regular vision blurry. Not worth the trade-off.)
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:53 am

'James Cameron says...'
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:59 am

Once again, small penis.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:14 am

Regardless of your thoughts on 3D, Cameron knows his stuff.

I think this is going to be the next revolution of filmmaking. After all, I believe it was just announced that Peter Jackson is going to shoot The Hobbit at 48 fps.

It doesn't really sound like something that can be construed as a gimmick like 3D, so I'm for it ... at least until I see it and may think differently. It sounds like something that will improve on the status quo, so I won't be complaining for now.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:25 pm

Well, he does know his stuff. I won't argue with that. But, by "stuff", I mean how to make money, how to utilize new technology, and how to draw-in a crowd.

I can see 3D technology improving within the next five years; however, I can't see cinema being 100% 3D. Perhaps he's just speaking about the Star Warsy blockbusters that audiences flock to see each summer.
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PostSubject: Re: James Cameron says the next revolution in cinema is...   Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:32 pm

Mr. Brown wrote:
But, by "stuff", I mean how to make money, how to utilize new technology, and how to draw-in a crowd.
Lord Harlan of Ellison might add something else to that list of Cameron's achievements.

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