The official trailer for Avatar is here: After years of dismissing 3-D as child's play, Hollywood studios are betting that films shot and projected in the format will boost takings at the box office. James Cameron's sci-fi epic, Avatar,was filmed in photo-realistic, “stereoscopic 3D,” which mixes live-action and CGI imagery in a seamless blend.
Legendary Canadian director and three-time Academy Award winner, Cameron is directing his first film since his 1997 Titanic. The $200 million movie, starring Sigourney Weaver tells the story of a band of humans battling for survival with the inhabitants of a distant planet. Avatar, will make use of "synthetic", or computer-generated, actors in leading roles who appear to be real but do not exist in the physical world. Avatar is also an emotional journey of redemption and revolution; a story of a wounded ex-marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival. Cameron will be collaborating with Peter Jackson, director of Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The size and scope of the bet is driven by the number of US cinemas capable of showing films in 3-D, which has trebled in three years to more than 700 and is expected to rise to 3,000 this year. New, lightweight digital camera technology has also sparked an increase in the number of films being shot and produced in 3-D creating a truly lifelike look and feel, and the per-screen average take is three times that of a regular movie.
To bring Avatar's computer-graphics characters to life in the most realistic sense, Cameron has reportedly redefined the way motion capture -or “performance capture”- sequences are filmed. The actors wear special bodysuits and head rigs equipped with a standard definition camera that takes constant images of their faces. That data is then transmitted to another camera creating a real-time image of the live actor “wearing” their CGI costume.
The 3-D cinema experience still requires glasses although they resemble trendy sunglasses rather than the cardboard glasses used in the 1950s with horror films like The Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The 52-year-old director of the Terminator series and Alien said he had conceived the project 11 years ago but had been waiting for technological advancements that will enable him to bring his vision to the big screen.
For Avatar, Cameron wants to further blur the line between live-action imagery and CGI imagery. To that end, he’s come up with something called “Simulcam”–a revolutionary new camera able to superimpose CGI images, over live images being filmed in real-time.
“We turned the set on the soundstage into a capture volume and turned the physical camera into a capture virtual camera, so we were able to integrate CG characters and environments into our live action.” [Cameron said...] “We have people in flying vehicles, and I can see what is outside the window, fed in, in real time.”
Avatar is slated for a December 18, 2009 release
Posted by Casey Kazan.