Hey everyone, Michael here. The Hollywood Reporter has just published a great new interview with James Cameron regarding the revolutionary production processes that have been invented for Avatar.
The article contains a lot of info we've heard before, but also a bit of new stuff to help keep us sane as we wait for December 2009. First off is the Facial Performance Replacement process, or "FPR." When Cameron recently wanted to change a line of dialogue spoken by Laz Alonzo's Na'vi character, Alonzo did not need to re-don a motion capture suit. Instead, Cameron only needed to record the new dialogue, and then use the FPR process to paste a new face over Alonzo's existing body performance.
Also extremely exciting is what Cameron calls the "Simulcam", which allows him to utilize his virtual production toolset while shooting live-action on a physical set. This gives him the ability to see how the live-action human actors interact with the CG synthespians and virtual environments in real time. Cameron gives the following example: "We have people in flying vehicles, and I can see what is outside the window, fed in, in real time."
Wow! It really is incredible how technology is enabling Cameron to shoot Avatar as though he really were on another planet, surrounded by actual alien landscapes and creatures.
Cameron and Vince Pace also give their arguments for shooting in stereo. Cameron sees a future filled with stereo devices and content. Pace speaks of the archival value of stereo: When we look at (3-D) display devices in the home (which are already becoming available)--a lot of filmmakers and studios need to be making 3-D right now. Those production commitments are often based on the here and now, instead of thinking about how much value there is to this 3-D product in the future. Why not master in 3-D now if there is only an incremental expense? Why not think about that now?"
I'm sure they are thinking about that. Avatar's entire production process is generating a great deal of interest and hype within both the technical and creative sides of the film industry, and that excitement is sure to increase dramatically as soon as the first 3-D footage is shown.