James Cameron Gives Fans an Avatar Update

VFX gnomes working overtime.

First, the bad news: Someone's been circulating fake promo art for James Cameron's Avatar lately. Now for the good news: Cameron has given the good folks at Ain't It Cool News an update on progress behind the scenes of his latest sci-fi epic.

After dismissing the artwork (which you can see by following the link at the end of this post) as "not from us" but "not bad," Cameron got down to the stuff that inquiring minds want to know:

I'm in New Zealand right now, working on effects, while Steve Quale shoots some second unit. We've worked together a lot (he did the engine room scenes on "Titanic," plus co-directed "Aliens of the Deep" with me) and he's the only guy I trust to shoot stuff for me, especially in 3D. We still have a little performance capture work to do with Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana in March, when we get her back from Star Trek. And we have a couple of days with Stephen Lang in April or May, to shoot his character's last scene, which is so technically difficult it will take us until then to figure out how to do it.

With principal photography wrapped, Cameron and crew have started the long process of making stuff look pretty -- always a difficult task on an effects-heavy sci-fi film, but an even thornier prospect for Avatar, given the newness of the technology being used:

Most of my time now is spent editing, because on this type of film you edit every CG scene twice -- once to edit the raw performance capture, before it goes to virtual camera, and then again when you have the virtual camera shots, you do the final edit of the scene. It's very complex and taxing, but the result is amazing. The Weta animators are ON FIRE, and seeing the world and the creatures come to life is what keeps us going...I don't know if this will be a good film, great film, awful film, but I can say with absolute certainty that you will see stuff you've never imagined, and that the process of making this film will generate a lot of interest within the technical side of the biz. When I edit with some of our early stuff, "shot" using our virtual camera system over a year and half ago, it already looks laughably crude. Our process has evolved so much, just within the making of this one movie. Of course the final standard of photoreal animation will be consistent throughout the film, because it all gets rendered in a big frenzy next year.

Avatar, which follows the adventures of a paraplegic war veteran who finds himself embroiled in an interplanetary battle, is due for release on December 18, 2009.

Source: Ain't It Cool News


~*Admiral Snowstorm*~

Dominique Amsterdam

I really can't wait for this movie to come out. Good or bad, it really is going to cause an enormous stir in the movie world.

Feb 22 - 06:38 AM


conrad sanchez

I'm already hyped and I haven't even seen a real pic yet!

Feb 22 - 06:40 AM


Daniel Klein

If there is ANYONE whose films I will see on director's name alone, it is Cameron, Lord of the Nerds. The rest of these details are just wholesome nerdy goodness.

One Director to rule them all
One Director to find them
One Director to keep them all
And in the Theaters Bind them.

Feb 22 - 06:40 AM


Matanuki .

lol. Indeed, sir.

Feb 22 - 08:48 PM


joe shmo

i've been trying to imagine what seeing this movie might be like, or what it could mean for our standards of a moviegoing experience. if cameron makes the first legitimate live action 3D epic, it will really raise the bar for everyone else.

imagine a film like saving private ryan in 3D, unfolding like a stage perfromance in a giant theater, bullets seeming to whiz by your face. this is the evolution that could make the box office profitable again because its an experience your home theater system will not be able to compete with... right away at least.

For my money, Terminator 2 and Aliens are two of the best action or sci-fi movies ever. I hate to have expectations this high this early, but c'mon, how can you not?

Feb 22 - 07:08 AM


Z Gold

I love how Cameron doesn't give a crap if the film is good or bad - I guess after you have made the top grossing movie of all time, you can do what you want.

Feb 22 - 07:23 AM


Teague Bates

Couldn't agree more with Aliens. T2? Betrayed the grittiness of the original. The Abyss was a great flick, except for the ending. I really like Cameron's interviews. He's candid and direct, and he obviously works hard on his movies.

Feb 22 - 07:39 AM


Josh Quarles

I'm excited. I have a lot of faith.

Feb 22 - 07:40 AM


johann hart

Please.. say no more, i am in the theatre lina already

Feb 22 - 08:44 AM


Anthony Timineri

This is going to be a massive movie and Cameron is probably only one of a handful that could have pulled it off. In fact, I will agree with everyone else in saying that this movie is going to revolutionize the movie-going experience. Cameron is a magnificant director and is one of the last that only cares about quality and substance, rather than dollars. Because of this, I wouldn't be surprised if the movie got pushed back to 2010.

Hell, I can see Brainless Bay ripping this off in the near future. He will probably do Transformers 3 in 3-D and call it T3D.

Feb 22 - 09:06 AM


sam baiamonte

I hope the movie is as revolutionary as he claims..

Feb 22 - 09:28 AM


dethburger hates Flixster

Cameran ALWAYS raises the bar when it comes to fx. See U2-3D and then imagine the bodies and surfaces actually having a round, textured look...you know, like real people and things do...then you'll have some idea what this is going to look like.

Feb 22 - 01:42 PM


Tom Bidinger

i love how everyone seems to already know what its going to look like. how the hell does anyone have any clue as to what this movie will be like. i'm trying to imagine it in my head and i can't, i need Cameron to show me. that being said, he is a phenominal filmmaker and i'm excited for this movie, but how can you say its going to "revolutionize the industry" without even seeing anything. of course Cameron's gonna say that cuz he needs to promote a movie, but no one here has seen anything... at all

Feb 22 - 02:18 PM


Matanuki .

Speculation is part and parcel with what makes all this posting business fun, twinsfan. Dig it.

Feb 22 - 08:51 PM


jack giroux

I hope this turns out good, I still think CAMERONS great even though his last film was TITANIC and he has made a movie in ten years.

Feb 22 - 08:10 PM


Matanuki .

lol. Indeed, sir.

Feb 22 - 08:48 PM


Matanuki .

Speculation is part and parcel with what makes all this posting business fun, twinsfan. Dig it.

Feb 22 - 08:51 PM


Mario McCash

All of you have said good and legit stuff.

Consider this - Cameron has proven himself as a man of artistic and visionary integrity. He wouldn't lie, over-hype or exaggerate just to promote his movie. He's beyond that kind of petty stuff. If he is claiming state-of-the-art advancements that no one has seen before you can count on it, bar-none! He would never risk embarrassing himself after the fact if the film turns out cheesey or otherwise weak in any department. We are indeed going to see someting that is going to the next level/next generation of technology that will amaze and impress, hence the long wait. What Jim wants to do the most, is not "just make a movie" but to advance technology - move the art and the medium to the anstounding level - you know, make the leap from B & W to color, from color to HD, from mono to 7.1 digital, from celluiod film to digital lensing, etc., etc.(as examples) Before Jim dies (hopefully in his 100's) he'll be having us see holographic productions like live theater in the round, that will include the sense of smell, of movement, of atmosphere, of joy or dread you won't "see" a movie, you'll experience like the characters do within the movie, get it? - i.e. he if has it his way, our multiplex that we head to well be that Hollowdeck on Star Trek: Next Generation. And so, and so on. After these visionaires get done and are totally satisified, the term "viritual reality" will be as archaic as the term "talkie" is today (and yes it most probably will be beyond their lifetimes). But that's what guys like Cameron and Jackson (okay throw in Lucas, Spielberg, del Torro et al for good measure) just dream of whenever they get a rare chance to sleep...and us numnuts just ought to be grateful and smile that they are working for you and I.

May 31 - 08:54 PM


Brittany Harrison

I can%u2019t wait to see Avatar! In the meantime, check out Giovanni Ribisi in this inspirational short video he did for the new campaign called Burma: It Can%u2019t Wait. In it, he speaks out against the atrocities happening right now in Burma, including the displacement of Burmese refugees. Go to the following websites to see Giovanni's video, as well as those from 30 other celebs (like Will Ferrell, Jen Aniston, etc). Then join Ribisi in this campaign for universal human rights and spread the word! Let's let the world know who dictator Than Shwe is - so he can no longer deny aid to desperate victims of the Burma cyclone.


or http://apps.facebook.com/burmaitcantwait

Jun 5 - 05:22 PM

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