Filmmaking pioneer Douglas Trumbull recently used Codex recording technology in the production of UFOTOG, the world’s first high-frame rate (120 fps), stereoscopic 3D film.
Trumbull and his production team at Trumbull Studios employed Codex Onboard S Recorders to capture 4K raw data from a pair of Canon C500 cameras, each shooting at 60 fps. The project, which is currently in post production, is designed to demonstrate the potential of high frame rate imagery and Trumbull’s vision for a new form of immersive cinematic entertainment.
The production of UFOTOG, expected to run approximately 10 minutes, spanned several months. Trumbull (known for his groundbreaking work in creating visual effects for such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Bladerunner) and his crew first needed to design a workflow to support the capture of stereo streams of high-frame-rate, 4K raw data.
After conducting numerous tests, Trumbull chose to shoot with Canon C500 cameras due to their unique ability to shoot 4K raw at 60 fps. “I had the good fortune to work with an early version of the C500 while shooting test footage for Terrence Malick and his film Tree of Life,” Trumbull recalls. “I liked the colorimetry of the camera, the resolution, the form factor, the weight. I thought it was the perfect choice for my 3D film.”
Once the C500 was selected, the choice of Codex’s Onboard S Recorder for data capture was a foregone conclusion as it is the only recording device capable of capturing raw data at 60 fps from the Canon C500 camera. “The key thing that I wanted was raw 4K” he says. “That results in a lot of data and only the Codex recorders could do it.”
Even so, Trumbull said that the production proved immensely challenging. “The amount of data that we are working with is huge,” he observes. “For this 10-minute film, we have 40 terabytes of material. It’s a lot of storage, a lot of throughput, a lot of high bandwidth. The Codex recorders worked flawlessly.”
Consistently leading the way in digital recording technology, Codex recorders have become the industry’s gold standard and the obvious choice for productions with demanding or unusual workflow requirements, as well as most Hollywood blockbusters. Lightweight Codex Onboard S recorders are currently being used on the new DreamWorks SKG action film Need for Speed; some eight Codex recorders are being used to support more than 35 cameras, in many cases under the most extreme conditions.
Similarly, Codex Onboard S recorders were recently used to record 4K data from the Canon C500 at speeds up to 120 fps for the motorcycle documentary Why We Ride.
Trumbull says that it is crucial for pioneers like him to have the support of the industry’s technology leaders. “Codex and Canon have been great partners,” he says. “They’ve been fantastic.”