Â Â Â Fortunately, Hollywood maverick Douglas Trumbull has always manned up to his interest in The Great Taboo. And as the special effects wizard behind classics such as â2001,â âClose Encountersâ and âBlade Runnerâ told a German audience in 2012, heâs in good company:
âIf you poll people in the world, most people will say they believe in life in the universe. But thereâs a big stigma attached to UFOs. And aliens. In the sense that itâs been so demonized in movies and so trivialized in science fiction movies that nobody who has an academic credential will touch that subject. It’s an interesting thing.
|Untenured and unencumbered by the protocols of academia, sfx maestro Douglas Trumbull’s fearless pursuits of The Great Taboo are creating new technologies/CREDIT: www.cinefilos.it|
De Void brings this up to draw attention, once more, to the massive gaping hole in next Thursdayâs two-day symposium, âPreparing for Discovery: A Rational Approach to the Impact of Finding Microbial, Complex, or Intelligent Life Beyond Earth,â in Washingon, D.C. The thing is co-sponsored by NASA and Library of Congress, and true to form, UFOs are most definitely off the table. No surprise, we expect that from the radioastronomy/SETI culture dominating the lineup. But hereâs another little contradiction.
Paul Allen, the Microsoft billionaire who has dumped some $30 million into SETIâs empty-handed search for extraterrestrial intelligence, is clearly a huge Douglas Trumbull fan. Four years ago, the man who created Spielbergâs mothership at Devilâs Tower was inducted into Allenâs Science Fiction Museum Hall of Fame. And in April, Allenâs Seattle Cinerama Theatre hosted the premiere of Trumbullâs revolutionary 10-minute 3D film, âUFOTOG,â described as âa dramatic short story about a lone man attempting to photograph UFOs.â The showstopper was “UFOTOG’s” state-of-the-art technology. Filmed at 120 frames per second, or four times the industry standard, Trumbull unveiled what he called âa new cinematic language.”
Equally significant, âUFOTOGâ is also autobiographical. Trumbull went national with his determination to document The Great Taboo during History Channelâs âUFOs On the Recordâ in 2011. Turning a tricked-out Hummer into a mobile camera and instrumentation platform designed to acquire UFO signatures in various modes, Trumbull’s efforts to develop and synchronize corroborative technologies have proven hugely expensive. So the plan now — after teaming up with modeling whiz and chief MUFON imaging analyst Marc D’Antonio — is to make the system more portable, more affordable, and to increase sky coverage.
Fully loaded, these downsized “platters” are being engineered to detect not merely speed, direction, and altitude, but transponder indentification, imagery in night-vision, infrared, ultraviolet, etc., along with electromagnetic and even gravitational perturbations. Ideally, Trumbull’s evolving multispectral cameras would be triangulated — the farther apart, the better — with instant communications features to alert each other to the approach of a bogey. D’Antonio calls them Land Deployment Units and Sea Deployment Units, because the strategy involves scanning the oceans for activity too.
As D’Antonio told Open Minds UFO Radio host Alejandro Rojas last month, the UFOTOG campaign hopes to mass-produce LDUs and SDUs because “this whole project is about finding the smoking gun.” They’ve even worked out a theoretical framework for identifying what that smoking gun might look like; part of it involves string theory and gamma radiation. And again, all this stuff costs $$$.
The obvious question here is, where’s Paul Allen?