Magazine article Screen International

Sony, Ang Lee among Heavyweights Invited to Explore Douglas Trumbull's Magi Pod Cinema Format

Magazine article Screen International

Sony, Ang Lee among Heavyweights Invited to Explore Douglas Trumbull's Magi Pod Cinema Format

Article excerpt

Director Ang Lee and Sony Pictures are among Hollywood heavyweights invited to attend private demonstrations of VFX guru Douglas Trumbull's (Blade Runner) anticipated pre-fabricated exhibition format Magi Pod.

The filmmaker, inventor and former vice chair of IMAX, has built a prototype screening room at his studio in Massachusetts and is inviting creatives, studios and exhibitors including Sony and Ang Lee to private demonstrations of the high-tech experimental format over the summer.

"We've spent a year building a prototype theatre and I am just at the stage to start individual screenings," he said. "Sony and Ang Lee are invited as are a lot of important media companies to witness the only option for the future of cinema other than a million dollar projection system."

According to the three-time Oscar winner, Sony will review the Magi Pod concept for the release of Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk in November. However he feels the time frame may be too tight for Billy Lynn and may be best served by later high frame rate titles.

"I also want to invite [Avatar director] Jim Cameron and [producer] Jon Landau and Steven Speilberg," Trumbull said.

Trumbull presented the system to Lee prior to shooting Billy Lynn, an act which Trumbull says convinced the director to make he project in the high end specification, which will pose a projection challenge if it is to screen as the director intends it to be seen.

"When Ang came here and saw [Trumbull's 3D 4K 120fps short film UFOTOG] he became very excited about shooting Billy Lynn that way," Trumbull said.

"One of the outcomes was that he basically told the studio that if he couldn't shoot it this way then he wouldn't make it at all which was a bold and brave thing to have done.

"Sony felt they had a safety net to go ahead and shoot [Billy Lynn] this way provided they had options to release the movie at any frame-rate from 120 to 60 or 48 down to 24fps."

The studio were unavailable for comment.

Global rollout?

Trumbull's business model anticipates a mass global rollout for the pre-built modules and the industry veteran says he needs a major cinema chain like AMC or studio like Sony to back it.

"We're aiming to start a whole new company to develop and market it. This could be aligned with any large media company."

Trumbull says that the Magi Pod is not only capable of playing back content in 4K, 3D and 120 frames a second - which is the ultimate technical specification for Lee's picture - but will do so at a fraction of the cost of conventional and premium large format (PLF) theatres.

"Our prototype is unlike any movie theatre ever seen," Trumbull says. …

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