SOT: Douglas Trumbull on the future of cinema.


Rob Franks wrote on 5/6/2012, 9:56 PM
"And I have to repeat once again: Star Wars does none of that."

I would have to agree. I didn't think Star Wars was much of a sci-fi.... or much of a movie, and I do like my sci-fi's

I'd take any one of he Star Trek movies over Star Wars any time. Not that the Star Trek movies were anything to write about either, but I found them to be a lot more 'sci-fi-ish' than Star Wars ever was. Even any of the original Star Trek TV series shows beats the crap out of Star Wars.
SuperG wrote on 5/7/2012, 12:11 AM
Star Wars was what I'd call a 'good yarn'. Although set in some alternate world, it was largely a story about good vs evil, and the plot line *loudly* telegraphed that. Not much sci-fi at all as sci-fi always raises pointed questions about reality itself. Star Wars worked, audiences weren't really used to much 'high concept' SciFI, except for maybe a few television shows such as the TwilightZone. Lucas's films, in contrast, have always had easy-to-digest plot lines.

SciFi is '2001', Bladerunner, Aliens. In fact, Bladerunner flopped at the Box office, it was too much for the unwashed masses at the time, although a few of us instantly recognized its brilliance, not only story line, but excellent visuals for the time.
JJKizak wrote on 5/7/2012, 6:39 AM
A good understanding of Quantum Mechanics Spooky Behavior of particles will blow your understanding of the speed of light out the door. It is the basis for all the new theories of the origin of the universe. How do I know? I watched the lecture series on PBS available in Cleveland , Ohio from the people much smarter than I.
How can you have a super nova without a "bang"? It sure would be boring.
Jay Gladwell wrote on 5/7/2012, 9:52 AM

Actually, Stars Wars fits in the genre of "science fantasy."

A definition offered by Rod Serling holds that "science fiction, the improbable made possible; fantasy, the impossible made probable". Read more here.

rs170a wrote on 5/7/2012, 11:34 AM
JJK, you might appreciate the recent (Sunday May 6th - Keeping the Doubt) episode of Tapestry, a CBC radio show.
I found both interviews very interesting.

Here's the blurb about the show.

Keeping the doubt... Mary takes a look at how doubt and skepticism can be essential ingredients to faith. First, we hear from Rabbi Rami Shapiro - a rabbi who says he isn't religious. Instead, he describes himself as a curious, holy rascal in search of sacred cows to slaughter.

After that, a conversation with Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic Magazine. He tells Mary how he hammered Deepak Chopra (in his opinion) at a conference on consciousness and quantum physics. He also explains how, for him, the mind does not exist. The brain is just electric meat.

larry-peter wrote on 5/7/2012, 12:23 PM
Without going through the entire thread, I'll comment on where it' seems to have gone.
I usually tend toward stories that contain a tight logical structure, no matter what the genre. A good plot line that finds creative ways to deviate from the expected, can lead me to suspend belief even if the logic struggles.
Star Trek was situational stories all based upon simple conflict / resolution. Star Wars was a stock retelling of the Monomyth - the Hero's Journey, that will always resonate with a certain audience segment no matter how many times it's rehashed. I enjoyed Twilight Zone because it modified the conflict / resolution structure into conflict / resolution / new conflict. Probably the first TV show that ever engaged the viewer in completing the story.
arenel wrote on 5/7/2012, 12:51 PM
The debate that I watched on Sm Harris' website with Michael Shermer vs. Depac Chopra and a rabbi at Cal Tech was a slaughter of Chopra.

Electric meat! What a great expression! As I age, I come more and more to the realization that the mind does not exist outside the body. Senior moments are nothing more than failed brain cell connections. The brain is a random access memory with lots of cross connected synapses.

I'm off to my gerontologist,

JJKizak wrote on 5/7/2012, 1:24 PM
Star Wars was one of those "happy" films that historians will say was a turn around point in the moral of Americans after Vietnam, Watergate, End of the Muscle Cars, Fuel Lines, Empty gas stations, 10% morgage rates, Billy Beer, Winter of 76/77/78, and the creation of the "Oil Cartel".
Former user wrote on 5/7/2012, 1:41 PM
JJK is exactly right. I was 22 when Star Wars came out. For the majority of my teen years, we had vietnam on TV everyday. The popular movies were real dark movies like "Electraglide in Blue", "Looking for Mr. Goodbar", "Billy Jack", "Easy Rider" and even "Little Big Man", all very down movies. Then all of a sudden from nowhere comes this happy good guy bad guy movie with effx never seen or at least never used in that way and all of a sudden, the social climate seemed to change. The first time they went to warp speed, the audience stood and cheered. When was the last time you saw an audience cheer in a theater. It was the perfect movie for its time and still one of my all time favorites. I have seen it dozens of times as well as the next two movies, and will always enjoy them regardless of what genre they fall in.

A movie is as much a reflection of its time as it is a piece of art. The movies being made now are for a generation that needs to be constantly stimulated, audibly and visually. If Star Wars was released now, even with updated effx, it would probably flop as bad as many of the comic book movies have done.

One day, the theater will be a thing of the past. And that will end millenia of a social acitivity. The activity of sitting around a campfire and telling stories. The theater is an extension of that idea. Gathering people in a dark area with a glowing fire (projector) and giving the news of the day and the stories of ancestors and make believe. People are now becoming individuals who want to share, but only at a distance. Through social media or their iphones. They may watch the same movies "together" but not together in the sense of a common gathering point. Their togetherness will be through transmission of data.

Dave T2
riredale wrote on 5/7/2012, 9:07 PM
You know, "Electric Meat" would be a great name for a rock band. Gotta see if the URL is already taken.

EDIT: Hah! The name is available! "Electric-meat" is taken, though. It's an "artist cooperative" in Hollywood. Home page shows a little kid in a space helmet pissing. Seriously. Wow--what creativity! What talent! Betty, get them on the phone! We're gonna make MAGIC!
PixelStuff wrote on 5/8/2012, 9:46 PM
I found this interesting. A brief summary of digital cinema technology.
SuperG wrote on 5/9/2012, 1:01 AM
I think Hollywood and the theaters should re-think their strategy. Going to the theater when I was a kid was an *event*. Today's theater is nothing more than a box. I miss the Parthenons and Paramounts of old, those huge screens, and looking down from the balcony. Maybe if Hollywood didn't squeeze the theaters so tight in film rents (and considering their distribution costs are dropping...) maybe they could cut them some slack so they could invest in some infrastructure....
JJKizak wrote on 5/9/2012, 6:44 AM
The last movie I viewed in a theatre was in the 70's and the people were noisy (being polite) and the theatre was a mess with gum, papers, spillled drinks, popcorn on the floor, and dirty seats. Never have gone since. The same with our local Mcdonalds restaraunt but they don't show movies there. Yet.
darbpw1 wrote on 5/9/2012, 12:38 PM
Okay, here goes, so please bear with me.

Optoma 720p HD projector- Dell – 799.00
108� pull-down movie screen- eBay - 129.00
Ceiling mounted projector mount – 25.00
RCA 1000 watt surround system - Wal-Mart 160.00
Magnavox blu-ray player -Wal-Mart - 79.00
Cabling - eBay - 30.00

Total 1222.00
Movies are an event in my family, so…
Movie Date night (just me and wife)
Dinner- $50.00
Tickets – $20.00
Popcorn/snacks- $20.00
Sitter (8.00/hr) – $40.00

Total: 130.00
$1222.00 = 9.4 movie dates

Movie For whole family (2 kids)
MacDonald’s (playing it cheap) – $30.00
Tickets – $35.00
Popcorn/ Snacks – $30.00

Total: $95.00
$1222.00 = 12.9 family movie dates

We bought our $1222.00 HD home theater system in October 2007, and since then we use it every weekend, for outdoor movies, for holidays, parties, you name it. 1000 hours so far at least (bulb has 2000 hours left on it). So I figure that the total price we would have paid for equivalent evenings out at a movie theater for all those movies, at 4 hrs per event, would be around 25 grand. Can you spell “no brainer?� I can. N-O- B-R-A-I-N-E-R. So no, I can’t watch the 1st-run premier of “Avengers� in my home. At least not yet. No problem. I can wait. And as for theatrical premieres at home? Just wait. It’s coming. Pay Per View. They pipe it to your house, like a wrestling or boxing match, same deal. For 59.99 you get the Hobbit, or the next Batman, or whatever. You fill up your house with guests, who each chip in 5 bucks (you know, “for snacks�). And everyone wins. And if one of your guests whips out his cell phone in the middle of the movie, KICK HIM OUT. Can’t do that in a movie theater, can you? Well, I can do that in MY MOVIE THEATER.

Because if the studios don’t go the full-blown immediate-delivery-on-demand route, it’s going to be the Wild West out there. Pirate City. If you don’t provide somebody a convenient way to pay, at a reasonable cost, then they’ll just say “screw it, I’ll pay nothing,� and off to Pirate Bay or IsoHunt or somewhere else. Bit Torrent, baby. Not saying it’s right, but that’s just the way it is. Electronic media is simply that: Electronic. It can no longer be viewed as a physical commodity- discs, tapes, reels, cassettes. Forget about it. It is the Cloud, and you can’t package the Cloud. And once it’s out there, it’s out there - Just Ask Babs Streisand. Low-cost computing power + cheap reliable storage capacity + universal media formats + high-speed internet + digital distribution + file-sharing networks + CHINA.

So the MPAA can choose the RIAA road, you know, the one that runs right through the graveyard, and they can whistle all the way. Or they can embrace the new world, and survive. And I hope they do, because Film is the vocabulary of America, more than any other creative endeavor. It is the predominant cultural representation of our time and our society, embodying image, and music, and culture; it is a portrait of who we are. But making movies, even cheap ones, still takes a lot of money, and patience, and planning, and skill, and care. And it requires incentive. And if you can’t sell your movie, you’re not going to make it. Movie studios are not going to make films that people aren’t going to pay for.
Then all we’ll have is re-runs and YouTube and lousy popcorn. Fade to black.