Douglas Trumbull, Dennis Muren, Jon Landau Among Confirmed Speakers

VFX gurus Douglas Trumbull and Dennis Muren and Avatar producer Jon Landau are the marquee names on a SIGGRAPH panel that will speculate on the impact of 48fps and higher acquisition and exhibition, known as high-frame-rate or HFR filmmaking. The session, "High Frame Rate Cinema, Impacts on Art and Technology," is slated for Wednesday, August 8 at 10:45 a.m. in Hall K at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Don't expect to hear much from HFR skeptics — the session is moderated by Paul Salvini, CTO of Christie, which offers single-projector HFR technology, and the panel is stacked with the kind of big thinkers in animation, VFX, and post-production who welcome a technical challenge of historical proportions. Trumbull, in particular, was a seemingly lone but loud voice calling for high-frame-rate exhibition early on, developing the 65mm 60fps Showscan process back in the early 1970s. (Brainstorm, Trumbull's 1983 film that was originally intended to be a showcase for the technology, just came out on Blu-ray Disc this week.) 

Other confirmed panelists include Jim Beshears, head of post-production at DreamWorks Animation SKG; Matthew Cowan, chief scientific officer at RealD; Darin Grant, CTO at Digital Domain Media Group; John Helliker, founder-director of Sheridan College's SIRT Centre, based at Pinewood Toronto Studios; Luke Moore, director of special projects at Side Effects Software; Phil Oatley, technology head at Park Road Post Production in New Zealand; and Dr. Lincoln Wallen, head of R&D at DreamWorks Animation.

The first Hollywood feature film to be shot using high frame rates is the first part of director Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit, which has been captured at 48fps. James Cameron has expressed a desire to work at frame rates as high as 60fps for his forthcoming Avatar sequels. (Expect Landau to have something to say about that.)