Producer Jon Landau talks underwater performance-capture in Avatar 2 and 3

During today’s National Association of Broadcasters conference, Avatar producer Jon Landau took to the stage as the keynote speaker, offering insight on the upcoming Avatar films.
The event is currently being held in Las Vegas and will be available online shortly after wrapping up. Landau talked briefly about the upcoming and ongoing work, on two of his next films ‘Avatar 2’ and ‘Avatar 3’. During the presentation Landau also mentioned the challenges, and dedication to realism, he and his team are faced with when dealing with simulating underwater scenes. Landau stated, “We could simulate water but we can’t simulate the actor’s experience so we are going to capture performance in a tank.” Landau stated that there is a team of “digital artists” who worked on the original Avatar film on-hand, “to test how we can create performance capture underwater.”
Shooting underwater has many challenges, but can be quite helpful to special-effects teams. If you enjoyed the ‘Dementors’ from the Harry Potter series and thought how amazingly-real they seemed to float off the air….underwater shots mixed with CGI.
The director of the trilogy, former truck driver/physicist James Cameron, has spent much of his time diving in his personal underwater craft, documenting much of his findings. Cameron, during a test dive, broke the depth record for piloted vehicles, achieving a depth of five miles. This dedication to underwater-life lead many people to believe that the ocean will play a large part in the next Avatar film. Landau didn’t mentioned specifics but said, “Yes they filmed. It had nothing to do with Avatar.” Landau also stated that a goal in producing the next two films is to keep the series, “engaging and visually tantalizing”, while adding that they have to “wrap up the story arc of our two main characters.”
Avatar 2 is currently scheduled for December, 2014 but that date may change.

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