Published on Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Douglas Trumbull Captures UFOTOG on Canon & Codex

Douglas Trumbull and his production team at Trumbull Studios have captured the 4K raw data for 'UFOTOG' from a pair of Canon C500 cameras, each shooting at 60 fps and recording to Codex Onboard S Recorders.  He is aiming to produce his movie as a 120 fps stereoscopic 3D production. The project, which is currently in post production, is expected to demonstrate the potential of high frame rate imagery as a means of creating immersive cinematic entertainment.


The production of ‘UFOTOG’, with a runtime of about 10 minutes, spanned several months. Douglas Trumbull 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 tests, Douglas chose to shoot with Canon C500 cameras due to their particular 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’,” Douglas said. “I liked the colorimetry of the camera, the resolution, the form factor and 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 necessary as it is the only recording device capable of capturing raw data at 60 fps from the Canon C500 camera. Raw 4K data was a primary requirement for the project and would result in large amounts of data that Douglas needed the Codex to capture. Nevertheless, he said the production was extremely challenging.  By the end of recording they had 40 terabytes of material demanding high levels of storage, throughput and bandwidth.

The Codex recorders are now in use for some other productions with demanding or unusual workflows. For example, the lightweight Codex Onboard S recorders are currently being used on the new DreamWorks action film ‘Need for Speed’. For this movie, eight Codex recorders are in use supporting more than 35 cameras, in many cases under 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’.

Douglas Trumbull is known for his VFX work on ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and ‘Bladerunner’, and said that Codex and Canon, through their developments, have been very supportive his  upcoming project.