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Avatar 2 crew developing motion capture technology to film underwater sequences

04.08.2013

We have heard for a while that AVATAR 2 would shift some focus to the oceans on Pandora, but no one seemed to question how these sequences would be filmed. James Cameron is obviously a big supporter of oceanic research so he is being very particular with how these scenes will be shot.

The Hollywood Reporter reported that at the recent NAB Technology Summit, keynote speaker and AVATAR producer Jon Landau had this to say:

“We have kept a team of digital artists on from Avatar in order to test how we can create performance capture underwater,” he said. “We could simulate water [in computer graphics], but we can't simulate the actor's experience, so we are going to capture performance in a tank.”

AVATAR used as little pure CGI as possible and motion captured the majority of the Na'vi, something they hope to do in the sequels. I commend them for taking these details to heart as the biggest redeeming quality for the first movie was how realistic the movement and facial features were on the aliens. Landau did share some ideas they are toying with:

“We are looking at [techniques including] what we did before with reflective markers,” he said, adding that another important task is “how we record reference photography so that as we are going through the editorial process and the postproduction workflow, we can see what the actors did and make sure that the final performance up on screen represents that.”

Landau also supported Peter Jackson's decision to film THE HOBBIT is high frame rate 48fps and said they are toying with the idea for the AVATAR sequels, possibly even going to 60fps. It would be interesting to see how the final product would look and if it would be a distraction for the audience as many claimed it was during THE HOBBIT. If James Cameron can make AVATAR 2 as revolutionary, visually, as the first film, I would think he would use HFR properly. But, time will tell.

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