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Disney Developing New ‘Flow Of Time’ Frame Rate Variation Technique In Switzerland

Disney and Swiss pubcaster SRF unveil experimental short at Locarno fest

Disney Research in Zurich is developing a new production and post-production technology known as “The-Flow-of-Time” that allows for use of multiple frame rates, among other new functions. Swiss public broadcaster SRF is also collaborating on the effort.

At the Locarno Film Festival, the Disney lab and SRF jointly unveiled an impressive experimental short titled “Lucid Dreams of Gabriel” (see teaser) which for the first time displayed local frame variation, local pixel timing, super slow motion effects, and a variety of artistic shutter functions showcasing this “The Flow-of-Time” technique.

The project was created by the Disney Research lab in tandem with the formidable computer graphics lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) with SRF providing studio space, personnel, and other resources.

“We wanted to control the perception of motion that is influenced by the frame rate (how many images are shown per second) as well as by the exposure time,” said Markus Gross, who is Vice President Research, Disney Research and director of Disney Research, Zurich, at the presentation.

Use of the new technologies in the short, which is a surreal non-linear story about a mother achieving immortality in her son’s eyes after an accident in the spectacular Engadin Alpine valley, allowed director Sasha A. Schriber to avoid using green screen and to make the transition from reality (at 24 frames per second) to a supernatural world (at 48 frames per second).

The Disney Research lab in Zurich also developed the technology that created “the bluish shimmering for the ice in ‘Frozen’,” and motion-capture and other technology used in “Tangled,” and “Maleficent” said Gross.

But its the first time they develop digital technology for live action films. “The-Flow-of-Time” technology can be applied to both film and TV.

SRF Director Ruedi Matter, said Disney Research and the Swiss pubcaster are also collaborating on a cutting-edge digital restoration project called Diastor which makes high-quality restoration a lot cheaper and working toghether “on new forms of interaction with our TV audience.”

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