Avatar 2: Under Water Motion Capture

Written by Logan Welliver; Media by Zach Bonner.

Photo from IMdB

When it was announced that the top-earning movie of all time was getting a sequel I was less than surprised. What production company wouldn’t produce a sequel, and trilogy, out of a movie that earn over 2 billion dollars worldwide? For this next movie, director James Cameron intends to go further than he did with the first. Cameron hopes to pioneer underwater motion capture technology.

Motion capture technology has been around for a while, taking presence in many movies, such as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Nav’i in the first Avatar movie. The reason for doing it here seems to be the large focus of Avatar 2 on the ocean. Much of the movie is supposed to take place there and Cameron wants the motion of characters on screen to be accurately portraying the movement of motion underwater, which could not be achieved otherwise. While on a set, it is easy to capture a person’s motion and put it onto a scene on land, but it would look odd to put the same movements under the water.

The producer of AvatarJon Landau, said about the movie, “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 CG], but we can’t simulate the actor’s experience, so we are going to capture performance in a tank.”

It will be interesting to see where the production and development of this movie takes the industry, if it takes it anywhere at all. Will there be more movies in the future that will take advantage of the technology being development or the techniques being used and push the industry forward, or are people already satisfied by the already high production value of movies?



    • The *new* that you’re talking about is not new in AVATAR. That was first tried in full capacity in LORD of the RINGS. Peter Jackson and WETA digital did it in LOTR and they are the company that did it in Avatar too.

      Nothing new was there in AVATAR except for the scale which made it very expensive. Not a bad movie but a very boring one!

  1. I love how you all think your critics. It was the highest grossing movie of all time. …. apparently the rest of the world disagrees with you.

    • First of all: Learn English.

      Second, profit does not mean something is quality art. For example, the pornography industry in the United States makes far more pure profit than does almost any other business in the world. Does that make pornography good? Similarly, junk food sells like crazy and we’re now the fattest nation in the world.

      You can like the movie, that’s fine. Objectively, though, it isn’t very good. The effects are wonderful (though far from revolutionary) and the in-theater 3D experience has yet to be paralleled. As a narrative film, though, it’s a disaster. It’s plagiarism of the most obvious form, a sad, hollow rip-off of a dozen other things with fancy graphics placed on top. It even lacks the over-the-top but somehow endearing forced sentimentality of Cameron’s earlier “Titanic.” If you want to see Cameron do science fiction well, check out either “The Abyss” or, of course, “Aliens.”

      • M.H., You make valid points about the movie, but I would also say there is no such thing as an ‘Objectively’ Good or Bad movie. That’s the wonder of movie, or music, or a painting, or any other art form. They are meant to be enjoyed or not enjoyed, based on the individuals tastes and beliefs. There is no rubric that you can follow that makes a movie objectively good.
        Avatar was the highest grossing film of all time, which means that, subjectively, a very large percentage of the movie-going population enjoyed the film. However that doesn’t mean that their opinions on it are any more valid than yours.
        That’s the beauty of art!

        on a side note: attacking someone’s grammar when that is not the topic of the conversation is a bit silly, don’t you think?


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