High Strangeness: UFOTOG Are Go!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I've written a few times in the past about Douglas Trumbull's uber-cool UFOTOG technology that could just blow this whole UFO thing wide open, and the beyond-high-def movie he made to showcase the system; as cool as it sounds, I didn't hold out much hope that I would ever see the demo.

Until yesterday.

This is as fluky as fluky gets. I belong to a Google group for MUFON State Officers, and even though the posts can be very informative and wildly entertaining, I don't read them all. Not even close. I would go nuts trying to, the volume is so overwhelming sometimes (and, frankly, the quality of the posts is pretty hit or miss). Bottom line is, I probably delete 75% of the posts unread.

But yesterday I opened one, purely by chance, and it changed my life. So, so glad I didn't delete this one...

"I have a once in a blue moon offer for the MUFON groups in the New England area," read the post from Marc Dantonio. Now, you smart readers will immediately realize that I am not in New England; not even close. By rights I shouldn't even have received this email, but there it was, and this is what it went on to say:
"I am making the offer on behalf of Douglas Trumbull ... For the last 5 years or so I have been working on films and other initiatives with Doug who changed how we viewed science fiction forever with his work on movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters, Blade Runner, Brainstorm, Silent Running, Andromeda strain, Star Trek and more. Doug is an Academy Award winning innovator in special effects and production and is one of the most ingenious guys on the planet."
I second that. I've been an admirer of Doug Trumbull since I was a kid and discovered a book called "The Making of Kubrick's 2001" at my local public library. I was maybe 10 or 12 at the time, didn't understand half of the book -- "slit-scan" photography?? Hunh?? -- but it didn't matter; I was hooked.
It all started many, many years ago, on the pages of this book...
So, what was the once in a blue moon offer? Well, Doug Trumbull has developed this technology to get better images of UFOs and he's produced a short demo film highlighting the technology and he's shot the film with a new 3D system that projects images at a jaw-dropping 120 frames-per-second, which is so fast not even James Cameron and Peter Jackson combined could accomplish it, and 25 lucky MUFONers can see an exclusive sneak preview of the film this Saturday in Massachusetts for free.

What the hell was I going to do? Give it a pass? No way. Eight tickets were already spoken for by the time I got the email! I had to act fast: For one thing, it's a chance to meet a boyhood idol. For another, it's a chance to be among the first to see the newest film technology and UFO hunting technology in person. And third, it might be my best shot at getting an interview with Mr. Trumbull for my Hynek book. He did, after all, meet Hynek on the set of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," and in a strange but meaningful way his UFOTOG system is a direct descendant of some of the pioneering celestial imaging systems that Hynek developed during his career, including the Baker-Nunn astronomical camera and the image orthicon astronomical video capture system. You see, ultimately, it's all about the book.

So, in other words, I really have to be there. And I will be.

Mr. Dantonio did not seem to grasp my serious intent when I wrote back to him to reserve one of the 17 remaining seats at the screening. He kept writing me things like: "You know.... this is in Massachusetts... and it is this Saturday..." Yup, yup, gotcha. I'm still going to be there.

And I will finally, finally, figure out what the hell "slit-scan" means...


Saucerspud said...

How very serendipitous for you! Being a fellow child of the 70's and sci-fi geek, I can imagine your giddiness about meeting Mr. Trumbull. Happy travels and looking forward to a full report.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Is it serendipitous... or predestined??

Agent L said...


By aliens.

Or so I've been told by... well, you know. Them.

The others. They told me... oh, wait a sec...

I hear a car pulling up. Huh. I'll just be a mo'

Now who do you suppose those three albino guys in dark suits, pork pie hats and sunglasses, driving that nice, new black '59 Cadillac De Ville want?

And what the hell is that shiny, cylindrical metal tube the guy in front is holding up? Ah.... [poof!]

You know, I really like macaroni and cheese. It's delicious.

Now where was I? ;-)


Seriously, Mark: have a good time. Sounds exciting!

Ask Mr. Trumball how, when, and where such a high-tech camera system as he's developed might be deployed. And, whether the system is able to "go mobile" to potential "hot spots."

Of course, the real question is whether "those other guys" will cooperate, and ever either appear or "sit still" for a group portrait.

Methinks that's rather unlikely to happen.

Elusive little devils. Gotta preserve that required plausible deniability, doncha know?

Mark UFO'Connell said...

"They" can eat their hearts out... turns out I've been invited to stay at the Trumbulls' guest house, by virtue of the fact that I'm coming the furthest for the presentation.