Case study: Next-generation cinema for Douglas Trumbull

Case study: Next-generation cinema for Douglas Trumbull

Indicated is currently working with Oscar-winning filmmaker Douglas Trumbull, who is pioneering a novel movie format featuring 120 frame per second motion, 4K resolution, stereoscopic 3D, and immersive sound. The viewing experience goes far beyond traditional cinema—more like watching reality through a huge clear window. Trumbull Ventures commissioned us to develop a software video solution capable of playing films in this format, which demands high levels of video data throughput to achieve a smooth playback experience. The critical question was: how can we move video frames from storage into GPU memory and onto the screen as efficiently as possible?

We developed a commodity hardware configuration, content formatting process, and player software capable of meeting the demands of this format. Our server design cost less than a quarter of the competing commercial solution. The project required high-performance graphics programming (OpenGL) and multi-threaded disk reading to meet the specifications with a high visual quality. We also developed a mobile app that controls the playback server via automatic Wi-Fi pairing.

Our system drives a digital cinema projector at over a billion pixels per second and was used to screen the world premiere of Mr. Trumbull’s latest film at the Seattle Cinerama Sci-Fi Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Stanley Kubrick Exhibition at TIFF. A compact version of the system is also being used in a mobile screening room that will be touring this fall.

Matt Irwin

Founding Partner at Indicated. Follow @mattrirwin.

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