‘What if 2001 Was In VR?’ with Douglas Trumbull #interview


Douglas Trumbull is best known for his work as special effects supervisor for films 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, and a director in his own right with cult hits Silent Running and Brainstorm. In this interview with the Sloan Science & Film blog’s Sonia Epstein he contemplates the role of VR in cinema, the longevity of scale models vs computer graphics, and the origins of his fascination with immersive cinema and the Magi process, possibly (hopefully) maybe coming to a cinema near you.


The convention of a motion picture exhibition as well as television is a rectangular flat screen. The field of view to the viewer’s eyes is rarely more than about 50 degrees wide. That’s not what I call an immersive experience. TO THE MOON AND BEYOND, which was screened in a dome that included your entire field of view (the dome was 180 degrees), was extremely wide, and Cinerama in its day was over 100 degrees wide. I was profoundly affected by that as a kid and thought, why don’t we have more of that?

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