‘Avatar 2′: Will Cameron’s Underwater Performance Capture Filming Stun Audiences?

Published 2 years ago by

Avatar 2 Underwater Avatar 2: Will Camerons Underwater Performance Capture Filming Stun Audiences?

In a recent episode of our Screen Rant Underground podcast, the editorial team discussed James Cameron’s push forward with Avatar 2, and whether the sequel to the highest-grossing film of all time ($2.7 billion worldwide) could ever hope to match the success of the original. While tackling those questions head-on, the point was raised that it will be Cameron’s success (or failure) with revolutionizing 3D CGI water effects, which will likely make-or-break Avatar 2‘s status as another milestone in the filmmaker’s titanic career (sorry for that…).

Well, today brings a report which further shows that Cameron himself is aware of that challenge, and he is definitely planning to rise to meet it. Read on to find out what game-changing wonders James Cameron might next have for the world, come Avatar 2.

THR has a report nabbed from  the… NAB Technology Summit, where Cameron’s producer partner Jon Landau (Titanic, Avatar) delivered some choice quotes about what is being planned and executed for Avatar 2. Below is the quick  version of what Landau said:

  1. A team of digital artists from the first film is working to create underwater performance capture – i.e., actors being filmed in mo-cap while underwater.
  2. This will allow them to get actual actor experience moving in a liquid medium – so that the CGI characters better fit an underwater backdrop.
  3.  Naturally, there are many challenges to this process.
  4. They are toying with the idea of following The Hobbit and filming in High Frame Rate, but haven’t decided yet.
  5. They are all about shooting in 3D, not converting.

Avatar 2 Underwater Motion Capture Technology Avatar 2: Will Camerons Underwater Performance Capture Filming Stun Audiences?

Regardless of the endless back-and-forth about Avatar’s story (or lack thereof) – which you can also hear us discuss on the podcast – it is undeniable that the film’s technological achievements and impact on cinematic culture were revolutionary (or rather, “evolutionary,” as Landau would say). The second film is going to be met with that technological expectation – and demand for a better story, to boot. That is a massive thing to deliver on – even for power-players like Cameron and Landau.

…But being able to film actors in a big fish tank – and then, convert that imagery into the most realistic simulated underwater experience ever? With some of the best visuals film technology can produce? Yeah, that would probably sell the necessary tickets.

Superman and Aquaman Avatar 2: Will Camerons Underwater Performance Capture Filming Stun Audiences?

We want this in OUR future – how about you?

Personally speaking, I hope they pull this off successfully – if only for the sake of the Blu-ray special features. Watching Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana splashing around a tank for all hours of a day – trying not to drown while “Capt. Cameron” screams direction at them – would be pretty entertaining. Silver Lining: with the new tech, we could also get some pretty sick underwater creature-feature horror flicks down the line – or that Aquaman and/or Namor movie… The door would be wide open for so many fun things.


No official release dates for Avatar 2 & 3 have been announced yet.

Source: THR

Follow Kofi Outlaw on Twitter @ppnkof
TAGS: Avatar 2
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  1. Hopefully it will take its visuals to the next level. But I hope Avatar 2’s story stuns me even more (which I heavily doubt will).

    • The first one was basically Pocahontas on another planet.

  2. The only 2 things of an Avatar sequel that still interests me is (1) the technology & techniques they’ll be using to shoot it and (2) the visual aesthetic of the final product.

    Couldn’t care less about the story or the characters. The first one, to me, has always been about the visual experience (which is why I never watch it on blu-ray – it’s just not the same without the huge screen and 3D effects) and I don’t see how the sequel will be any different.
    And while I prefer a good story and lovable/relatable characters over VFX, I doubt much of the former will be seen in Avatar 2 (could very well be wrong though… ya never know) – meaning Cameron will seriously have to pull out all the stops to make Avatar 2 a beautiful film, visually.

  3. Meh……..

  4. Certainly hope king Cameron pulls this spectacular technology off, because that way it will open the doors for that long awaited creature from the black lagoon reboot that Hollywood has been promising the public forever.

  5. I say, scrap the whole project. If Cameron hasn’t realized his mistakes with the first one why should we think two or three will be any better? All in all, my opinion us scrap the damned thing and leave Avatar as the highest grossing movie of all time. As they say ‘Don’t mess with success’ (if you could even call it that)

    • the highest grossing film of all time – and you dont think it was successful?

      • Oh yeah he definitely failed at the first one because you know, he didn’t like get 2.7 billion or make it the grossing film ever made or anything…..

    • your statement is full of irony and contradiction.

      And even if this next installment might not top the first, even if it grosses a mere 700 mil it will still be highly successful.

      I believe however that the sequel will rival the success of the first one.

      • Money-wise, it was succesful. There is no denying that, there’s solid evidence for that. I apologize for not being clear , what i’m talking about is critically wise. The movie is scorned by most everyone i know and IMO if it doesnt do well critically as it did financially, then i cannot call it a complete success. Look at The Last Airbender for example, it did well at the box office but was hated by most everyone, criticd, fans and non fans alike. Do you consider that film a success? Because i know i don’t

        • +1
          I guess it’s all about the very definition of success. what do the producers look for by making these pictures?…

        • Funny, I liked it as did just about everyone I KNOW who saw it. I’m not saying the story was the most original or the acting worthy of an Oscar but it was still highly entertaining, both as a story and visual spectacle.

          So who are we to believe……you and your friends or I and mine? Well we could look at both the CRITIC’S consensus from say RT and the general movie audience opinion. Doing so reveals a critic positive of 83% out of 242 reviewers and a general audience approval rating of 93% out of the 622k who voted.

          So yeah, I’m going to go with the majority who voted by going to see it repeatedly. It’s re-watchability proves why a financial success can indeed show why it was a general success.

          And before you chime in with something let me just say that you can’t please all the people all the time. Hell there are people who actually hated Avengers. The fact is most liked it even if your crowd didn’t.

        • I guess since everyone you know doesn’t like Avatar that settles it!

  6. I still have that pointless star wars ep1 underwater sequence burned in my head everytime they talk about “underwater action” type crap. Not a fan.

    • 14 years ago, man. Ya gotta let that crappy film go. At least this won’t have Jar Jar. Or a Bongo. Or a liquid core planet…

  7. Winning a prize, like an Oscar, should super-charge a filmmaker to innovate. Cameron since TITANIC has certainly done that.

    All the pity that AVATAR is unwatchable for me, but improved technology Cameron has added to the canon for making movies is priceless (or costly, depending). AVATAR 2 would require a script filled with undreamed of ideas and a director capable of executing the same with unlimited imagination and unearthly wonder. (James, are we asking too much?)

    Otherwise, I mean honestly, what is the need for a sequel, except to set up an ATM for the studio? (The question simply answers itself.)

    Film directors like James Cameron who are also innovators like George Lucas are mislead into believing that they are also consumate scriptwriters. Millions of dollars will aid in providing opportunity to develop new ways to bring motion pictures to life…but what that money will never do is make you more talented than what you are.

    I too am excited by the prospect of what AVATAR 2 represents: a technique by which we may someday (soon, I hope) see Aquaman, The Submariner, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon striking a pose inside the new matrix — but I trust without putting the cart (technology) before the horse (a good script).

    Who am I fooling?

  8. I would be very surprised if he doesn’t shoot it in HFR, since he was all for increasing frame rates since before Avatar was released. I hope he chooses 60fps instead of 48 though, since that is more compatible with 60Hz displays that are so ubiquitous nowadays.

  9. The most enjoyable aspects of the first move, to me at least, has always been the rich and detailed fictional universe that Cameron and his team created. Sure, the movie has some of the most cliched plot devices and crappy dialogue, but if one look at the bright side…if the first one has a mediocre plot, that means there are lots of room for improvements with the sequels right?

    The point is, I am interested in revisiting the Avatar universe again. This time, Mr. Cameron, please give as a more character driven, compelling story on top of stunning visuals(I have absolute faith in you with regards to the VFX).

  10. As a visual effects artist, I am offended that Cameron (or any director who doesn’t move the vertices or gyzmos) gets credit for how realistic an effect looks…

    • Directors (or bosses in general) often gets credit for the work of his/her subordinate. It’s kind of unfair. I am completely ignorant about the vfx industry, but to a layman like me, many if not all of Cameron’s work has been associated with influential, game changing visual effects.

      At least he is not like some other powerful director(Lucas), who happens to own one of the best visual effect house, yet still managed to produce a sting of crappy CGImo movie…I think James Cameron should at least be given some credit for having a keen eye in picking the right people for his projects, or having an understanding of the craft of vfx at an abstract level?

    • @JProof
      as a 2D/3D animator myself, I know exactly what you mean! in animation it’s always the voice actor who is remembered most…

      • As a writer, I know exactly what you mean. It’s a director’s director’s director’s world, baby.

        • As a novelist and filmmaker (short films) I affirm that this medium belongs to the director –if he or she has a vision. If all they got are theatrical shots and an actor’s improvisation, the medium belongs to the producer and editor. Just because someone gets the opportunity to direct a film doesn’t mean he should. There are lots of examples.

    • It’s kind of the same with actors too. They’re recognized much more for having a good movie than anyone else behind the scenes. How many people in the general public know who someone like Bryan Singer or even Peter Jackson is? Not many. That’s why ads/trailers usually say “from the director of” instead of the actual director’s name.

      People are much more likely to say “I want to see a Robert Downey Jr.” movie than “I want to see a Joss Whedon movie”

      • Your observation is very perceptive and dead-on-balls. The average movie-goer is not following the director of a given film as they are more conscious of “titles”. And, honestly, I believe the studios somewhat dread the notion of a “star” director (for a variety of reasons).

  11. I friggin loved Avatar. Took forever to see it, but the 3d was so stunning that the weak story didn’t mean a thing.
    What exactly makes Avatar “unwatchable”?

    What does it take to satisfy you people?

  12. Please God no, no HFR! I hate that crap.

  13. HFR, yes. Dumbass story and one-dimensional characters, no.


  14. Being cynical, the short answer is no. The long answer is also no… If the story isn’t up to the job it doesn’t matter how much money is thrown at the screen on the visuals.

  15. Why do people care if he makes the movie or not? If you don’t want to see the movie then just don’t go to see it and let the people that want to see the sequel go.

    I don’t see why other people should be deprived just because YOU don’t want to see it.

  16. The first one is about creating a new world, the sequels are more about exploring the world that has been created.

    Same with Avengers, the plot was kept simple as the main draw was heroes uniting to fight a great threat to Earth. The sequel will be deeper, apparently it’ll involve more death or something. :)

    • Don’t you dare try to imply that Avengers was a somewhat weak and simplistic story??! Oh wait……:)

      Guess that proves the story isn’t everything 😉

      • The story is important but a film is a collision of creativity and a collusion of talents. THE AVENGERS had “star” characters above and beyond star actors. Is the story everything under those circumstances? If this film withstands the test of time (oh, say like DIE HARD), what does it matter.

        Fact is, you can become so engaged in a scary movie that you jump(!) even though the plot is ridiculous.

  17. When I first heard about Avatar back in 2008, I didn’t even know who James Cameron was. When I saw the trailer for avatar, I commented all over youtube, saying it was stupid and ridiculous and not revolutionary at all. Then I saw the film. Now in 2013, everybody is saying that Avatar 2 is going to be stupid and ridiculous. And I can’t help but remember how badly I was proven wrong. I honestly can not wait either way. If Avatar 2 fails, it will be the biggest news in cinema history. If Avatar wins, it will be the biggest news in film history. Either way, I am looking forward to what this James Cameron guy can do. It’s amazing how I used to never know who he was, and now he is my hero. At least for now. lol.

  18. So if Avatar was Pocahontas in space, Avatar 2 is The Little Mermaid in space water?