Apparently folks weren’t paying attention over a year ago when James Cameron’s right-hand-man Jon Landau first spoke of Avatar 2 employing motion-capture technology adapted to underwater use, but he did.
The technology is still in testing phase with a dedicated team (as it was), though Landau has explained a bit more why they’re so keen on it.
“We could simulate water, but we can’t simulate the actor’s experience, so we are going to capture performance in a tank. We are looking at what we did before with reflective markers… 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 was talking to a tech conference at this point, but you can still see that they’re pushing forward with developing these techniques, which does sound like quite a challenge. The whole point of those reference dots is to have a perfectly accurate representation of how the face moves, and once you add water distortion between the face and camera.. well that kind of bones the whole idea. Undoubtedly they have or will have figured it out by the time Avatar 2 rolls, but even I can see the big challenge there.
Obviously Landau is in the super-progressive cinema tech camp, so he had a few things to say about hot-button topics like 3d and HFR. For example…
“What Peter Jackson presented, is what Peter Jackson wanted to present. Audiences went to The Hobbit expecting the same tone as the Lord of the Rings films, but The Hobbit is a different film with a different story and a different tone, and Peter Jackson made absolutely the right creative choice for him and should be respected for that.”
He’s got more to say, which you can read in THR’s full coverage of the panel.