James Cameron wows audiences with stunning visual effects for 2009 hit film avatar. For the sequel, Avatar: The Way of WaterAfterwards, the filmmaker wanted to thrill fans again, so he invented a whole new technique. Here’s how it works:
Avatar: Way of Water is set in the ocean of Pandora
Written and directed by Cameron, 2009 avatar It tells the story of an alien satellite called Pandora and its blue-skinned indigenous Na’vi. They fight to protect the rainforests and lands from humans trying to colonize and exploit them. Cameron has developed several new technologies and innovations to bring otherworldly elements of film to life, including performance capture technology.
Avatar: The Way of Water Focus on Pandora waters. Cameron developed an underwater show capture process to capture the magic and fantastical wildlife of the ocean, bringing real shows into digitally created fantasy worlds.
The filmmaker used a 900,000-gallon tank purpose-built for the “Avatar” sequel to film underwater scenes. The tank can be set to mimic the motion of the ocean. After the actors performed underwater, more details were added in post-production.
“The actors don’t have much to work with physically, but I think it’s a bit overrated,” the writer/director explained in a chat with Variety’s Robert Rodriguez. “What they can work with is other actors. We give them props and wardrobe items to interact with and all that.”
“Actors depend on each other, and they do have that dependency,” he added, noting how the actors were distracted in the tank. “Actors who haven’t done that are very wary of it — as a matter of course, with any new technology.”
James Cameron says his new technology allows ‘Avatar: Way of Water’ actors to improvise
With many details added in post-shooting, Cameron made his Avatar: The Way of Water cast creates a new interaction not in script. The 68-year-old explains how this performance capture process allows actors to be more creative.
“The beauty of performance capture is that we can take a great idea in the fifth sequence and do it in a completely different way,” he told Indie Wire. “We can completely restore the whole scene. You can play a scene that is supposed to be standing, back to face, sitting, face to face, because I just need a good shot from which I can extract all the reporting.”
“Every shoot is a blank slate,” he adds. “If someone has an urge to grab another person and shake them, and they’ve never done that before, then we’re not doing a wide-angle shot or a close-up — or anything. Created a kind of showmanship.”
‘Avatar: Way of Water’ star Kate Winslet held her breath underwater for over 7 minutes
Prepare for an underwater show Avatar: The Way of WaterSome actors, including Sigourney Weaver and Kate Winslet, had to get scuba certification and train themselves to hold their breath underwater.
According to Cameron, Weaver can hold his breath for six and a half minutes without difficulty. The director told EW that Winslet “shocked everyone when he held his breath for seven and a half minutes.”
“One of my favorite memories is when we had a circular tank, about 40 feet wide, with a big glass door in it,” adds producer Jon Landau. “I was passing by one day and saw Kate Winslet walking on the bottom of the sink. She was walking towards me, saw me through the window, and she just waved, walked to the end of the wall, turned around, and walked all the way back.”
Avatar: The Way of Water It is currently playing in theaters around the world. The film is expected to arrive on Disney+ in February or March 2023.