“UFOTOG” just might change the way we look at movies. The short film, by special effects master Douglas Trumbull, will premiere Sunday as part of the Seattle Cinerama Sci-Fi Film Festival,
The film follows a man trying to photograph UFOs. But its main purpose is to showcase a coming together of film technologies that creates an immersive, realistic experience.
When Trumbull embarked on the “UFOTOG” project, he first addressed frame rate. Conventional movies are shot at 24 frames per second (each frame is projected twice on the screen). It’s been that way since 1927 when it was increased to prevent flickering — that’s how movies got the nickname “flicks.”
Though the technology has long existed to shoot at a higher frame rate, it has been kept low to cut down on film costs.
Low frame rate combined with a dim, two dimensional projection creates the artificial, theatrical quality of cinema. As much as one might fall under a movie’s spell, no one forgets they’re sitting in a theater looking at a screen.
Now that movies are no longer shot on or projected with film, a higher frame rate can be used. Trumbull set out to find out why that wasn’t happening.
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