Landau, Trumbull lead all-star Siggraph 2012 “high frame rate cinema” panel

Ten industry leaders will try to demystify HFR technology and its future in the film industry.

A variety of technically savvy filmmakers including Jon Landau (“Avatar,” “Titanic”) and Douglas Trumbull (“2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind) will gather for a Siggraph panel discussion on “High Frame Rate Cinema: Impacts on Art and Technology.

A standard 24 frames per second (FPS) image, left, next to a simulated high frame rate version of the same image. (Source: Siggraph)

The panel will feature 10 cinema industry leaders, also including Dennis Muren, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic. Muren is the recipient of eight Academy Awards for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, with credits that include “Star Wars” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” The panel is scheduled for Wednesday, August 8, in  Los Angeles Convention Center South Hall K, at 10:45 am.

Douglas Trumbull (Source: Julian Herzog,

Movies using HFR coming soon to theaters include the sequel to James Cameron’s “Avatar,” and Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit,“ both of which will also be presented in stereoscopic 3D.

The panel is sponsored by Christie Digital Systems, the first company to publicly demonstrate 3D high frame rate (HFR) technology using a single projector. The panel moderator will be Paul Salvini, Christie’s chief technology officer. The panel will be Wednesday, August 8, 10:45am in Hall K of the Los Angeles Convention Center at Siggraph 2012.

“The Siggraph HFR panel will explore the technology behind high-frame-rate cinema, and look at what it will mean to producers of content and to the audience experience,” notes Salvini.  “The panelists are pioneers in their fields, addressing the challenges of HFR across the entire workflow, to provide the post-production and visual effects communities with important guidance regarding the challenges and rewards of developing HFR content for the exhibition community.”

Jon Landau discusses the technical genius behind “Avatar” at Autodesk University 2009. (Source: Autodesk)

Other panelist are:

  • Jim Beshears, Head of Post-production at DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., oversees all aspects of the studio’s self-contained editorial and post-production facilities.  Beshears has been working to create a solid support system capable of simultaneously managing multiple feature-length animated projects and multiple short projects.
  • Matthew Cowan, co-founder of Entertainment Technology Consultants and currently Chief Scientific Officer at RealD, of California. Cowan developed RealD’s 3D cinema system.
  • Darin Grant, Chief Technology Officer, Digital Domain Media Group. Grant is responsible for the overall technology strategy for the company and its many subsidiaries. He is the former head of production technology at DreamWorks Animation.
  • John Helliker, Founder/Director of Sheridan College’s SIRT Centre, a research and training facility focused on digital workflow innovations including HFR and virtual production.  Based at Pinewood Toronto Studios, SIRT coordinates a mix of partnerships with major industry guilds and associations, individual companies, government, and academia.
  • Luke Moore, Director of Special Projects at Canada’s Side Effects Software, in Toronto, is responsible for identifying and addressing the technical challenges faced by studios using the popular Houdini VFX and Animation software.
  • Phil Oatley is Head of Technology at New Zealand-based Park Road Post Production, where he has guided the company through fast growth, including establishing key partnerships to promote HFR research and development.
  • Dr. Lincoln Wallen, Head of Research and Development at Dreamworks Animation; formerly CTO at Electronic Arts Mobile.
Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit is one of two big-budget, high-profile films scheduled to be released in the near future using high frame rate technology. (Source: Stone Street Studios)