'Avatar' Sequels Will Use Underwater Performance Capture


The people of Pandora are taking a plunge, and the cameras are going along for the dive.

"Avatar" producer Jon Landau confirmed during a recent conversation at the NAB Technology Summit on Cinema in Las Vegas that James Cameron's upcoming sequels will indeed utilize underwater performance capture.

"We could simulate water [in computer graphics], but we can't simulate the actor's experience, so we are going to capture performance in a tank," the producer said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It's never been a secret that the "Avatar" sequels would be getting a little wet, as plans to explore the aquatic side of Pandora have long been in the works. Last year, Landau claimed that the sequels are "not going to be all underwater; it's going to be a place we go to, leave and come back to."

But actually getting underwater is proving itself quite the challenge. According to Landau, the "Avatar" team plans to reflect on "how we record reference photography so that as we are going through the editorial process and the postproduction workflow, we can see what the actors did and make sure that the final performance up on screen represents that."

As for the actual story of the next "Avatar" films, Landau's lips were sealed, except to say, "We want to take advantage of the technology that people are putting out there to make the next two movies more engaging and visually tantalizing, and wrap up the story arc of our two main characters."

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