"Avatar": how the latest technology has changed video art

 "Avatar": how the latest technology has changed video art

It is the highest-grossing and most innovative movie ever made. Thanks to its unique storytelling and spectacle, it became popular with viewers and received flattering reviews from critics. But hidden from the audience, the filming process deserves no less attention. There is something to learn from James Cameron, even for the most experienced specialist. Let's find out the technological success of the film to apply the Canadian filmmaker's experience to realize his creative project.

Camera systems

No filming process goes without a camera, it's obvious, but to shoot something special, you always turn to the best equipment manufacturers. For example, a manufacturer for the movie "Transformers: The Last Knight" was a famous RED camera brand with particular parameters and sensors - 8K Super 35mm Helium. By the way, by renting a studio in StylePhotos, you also have a tremendous opportunity to experience the functionality equipped with RED brand cameras.

However, we should note that Cameron used non-standard equipment. They assembled a unique 3D camera system made of two models of Sony Venice and another equally advanced manufacturer.

Underwater motion capture

Underwater motion capture was only partially successful in the first Avatar, but in 2009 computer graphics (CGI) showed tremendous results. At that time, we were all amazed at the 3D scanning, motion capture, and face capture capabilities that created the most realistic images. But physics got in the way of doing it underwater. That's why underwater cameras were involved in the action, and specialists still finalized the material in post-production.

It took 13 years of training and development of three-dimensional models, mocaps, and in the next movie James and his technical team succeeded. They did the impossible again by shooting the entire underwater scenes with 3D cameras, showing the new possibilities of virtual reality and ICVFX filming.

Innovative visuals and effects

Here too, the director did not limit himself to the format of conventional filming but used advanced motion capture technology. While previously, the actors had to perform actions against a green screen without direct contact with anything tangible from the fantasy world; it has now changed. Cameron developed unique props interacting with which the actors could maximally give out the necessary emotions and characteristic movements. That allowed the viewer to dive deeper into the story the movie tells and experience the world around them.

For this purpose, they combined 3D environment, visual computer, and virtual effects in one plane.

Overview of Avatar's cutting-edge technology

Of course, there's a significant difference between the first and second movie, but one thing in common is technology that pushed the boundaries of modernity:

  • Cameras. Of course, there were many of them, but the main parts played by Fusion 3D (for the first film) and Sony Venice (for the second one), allowing to shoot three-dimensional images in particular conditions.
  • Motion capture was used to capture actors' movements and create realistic digital characters. The system uses sensors to capture motion entirely with the help of sensors to display it in a digital environment.
  • Controllers were used to control the digital models and move them around in the virtual space.
  • Virtual cameras, ICVFX, StarTracker - for creating particular angles and detailed a virtual world, which is difficult to achieve with conventional cameras.
  • Computer graphics were mainly used in the first Avatar. It included modeling, texturing, animation, and rendering, to which we owe impressive visual effects and unique scenes.

Is it possible to shoot something like StylePhotos?

As it is said, "Something unique can only be one, but each has its own." It's hard to imagine that anyone would want to copy James Cameron's multifaceted creation, but it is pretty realistic to use his experience to realize your creative dream. By renting StylePhotos studio, you can expect a virtual XR filming stage with ARRI backgrounds, as well as StarTracker, Cinematic XR Focus, and Unreal Engine 5. A variety of professional cameras, including the RED and Sony Venice mentioned in the article, ARRI with Phantom, and the Bolt X robotic camera rig, can help you create any video format, even fully immersive virtual worlds.


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