During a keynote speech last Sunday at the NAB Technology Summit on Cinema, Jon Landau had a bit to say about the upcoming ‘Avatar 2′ movie that may interest fans of the film.
While the first movie focused primarily on the forest and some of the human controlled areas of Pandora, the sequel, or at least part of it, will be seeing something new. A portion of the film is going to take place underwater and they will be recording the motion captures of the characters actually under the water.
Here’ what Landau had to say about the filming that will be done in a tank:
“We have kept a team of digital artists on from ‘Avatar’ in order to test how we can create performance capture underwater. We could simulate water [in computer graphics], but we can’t simulate the actor’s experience, so we are going to capture the performance in a tank. We are looking at [techniques including] what we did before with reflective markers [and] how we record reference photography so that as we are going through the editorial process and the post- production work flow, we can see what the actors did and make sure that the final performance up on screen represents that.”
I won’t lie. The thought of having motion capture being done underwater sounds pretty amazing and I truly hope they release some behind the scenes features on the eventual home release of the film. The actual creation process of these films is quite amazing.
At any rate, filming motion captures underwater isn’t going to be the only changes in this film. With the frame rate still up in the air, the film will again be shot in 3D. Landau applauded Peter Jackson’s shooting of ‘The Hobbit’ in 48fps but there hasn’t been a decision if ‘Avatar 2’ will be shot in the standard 24 or one of the newer 48 or 60fps. While audiences have had mixed responses to the higher frame rates, in a movie like this, they could prove to be what pushes it over the top with it’s already stunning visuals.
The look isn’t the only portion being discussed though, as sound is being examined with the new immersive sound systems that have been developed. Of course no matter how good a movie looks or sounds Jon had one very important comment that some may argue was lacking from the first film.
“Let’s not lose sight of why people go to the movies. They don’t watch for technology they watch because they make an emotional connection to a story.”
While I was a fan of the first movie I had heard many complaints on how the plot was either lacking or too cookie cutter from other films. When you compare it to the visual effects, I understand where these complaints came from, though I felt visually it was enough to win me over. A sequel, though, really does have to draw the viewer in or else no matter how amazing the movie looks, it will suffer long term from a lack of repeat movie goers and sales.
Still, I have faith that James Cameron and Jon Landau are going to make something both visually and ideally emotionally appealing as we continue to watch Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) continue to try to make Pandora a world of freedom.