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James Cameron on revolutionizing 3D once again with the Avatar sequels

05.31.2018

3D movies were beginning to make a comeback by the time AVATAR burst into theaters almost a decade ago, but the James Cameron film showed audiences the true power of the format, and showed studios just how much extra money they could make. Unfortunately, rushing to jump aboard the 3D bangwagon led to a lot of post-converted garbage and recent years have seen a reduction in 3D movies, but James Cameron will be coming to 3D's rescue, whether you like it or not.

Speaking at an event at the Vivid Festival in Sydney, Australia, James Cameron commented on the state of 3D since the release of AVATAR. "What I always hoped would happen is that 3D became commonplace, and therefore, not remarkable, in the same way that colour is commonplace and not remarkable," Cameron said. "I think we’ve accomplished that. At the time that Avatar was released there were about three or four thousand theatres worldwide that were digital 3D enabled projection systems. We now have on the order of 65,000 or 70,000 3D enabled screens." However, the director isn't so fond of the amount of post-converted 3D movies out there.

I think that Hollywood has done 3D a disservice by embracing post-conversion, which to me is the wrong track. We should do native photography because if we’re ever going to incorporate 3D into broad content production, which most of which is live or near realtime or short turnaround TV production, we have to use the native production tools. Native production technology has basically stalled as of about three or four years ago. We need to re-embrace native production. My hopeful prediction is we’ll get 4K out of our system from a broadcast perspective. When that becomes utterly commonplace and 100 percent saturated, everyone will look around for the next big thing.

With James Cameron hard at work on both AVATAR 2 and 3 (with production on AVATAR 4 and 5 dependent on how well those first two perform), the director laid out how he's hoping the sequels will advance the state of 3D.

The next big thing will be staring them in the face when they look in the mirror, which is, you’ve got two eyes. We perceive the world stereoscopically. We will want our content stereoscopically. What we don’t want is to have to wear glasses and then some kind of specialized viewing apparatus. We just want the screens to be all 3D and a good 3D. We’re on the cusp of that being possible now. The question is, will it? From my own perspective since I’m not doing television production, I’m doing Avatar sequels – four of them. They will be, to the best of my ability, the best 3D that’s possible to make. That includes collaborating with the people at Dolby Cinema, who have developed high dynamic range projection that could put 16 foot-lamberts of light on a 3D screen through the glasses, which is revolutionary. Normally, you’re looking at about three foot-lamberts. Sixteen is what you should be seeing. That’s what movies should look like. We need to see the roll out of these laser projection systems, so that we can fully appreciate 3D through glasses in cinemas. Then, we need the roll out of autostereoscopic screens – large panel displays, where you don’t need glasses at all. You have multiple discreet viewing angles and all that sort of thing. Anybody that’s geeking out on 3D knows what I’m talking about. It’s all possible. It’s just a question of will it happen or not.

James Cameron added that he can guarantee one thing: Each of the AVATAR sequels are going to be in 3D and they will look "sumptuous." The first AVATAR sequel will hit theaters on December 18, 2020, with AVATAR 3 following on December 17, 2021, AVATAR 4 on December 20, 2024, and, finally, AVATAR 5 wrapping everything up on December 19, 2025.

Source: VFX Blog

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