Cameron Geeks Out on Avatar
The long-awaited Avatar finally opens today from Twentieth Century Fox and, as you've read by now, actually lives up to all the hype about transporting us in a much more visceral and immersive way. I spoke to James Cameron by phone last week from the London junket, and he really enjoyed geeking out for us.
Bill Desowitz: What I found significant about Avatar is that you've broken down all barriers between you and the viewer in transporting us to Pandora. That was the whole idea, right?
James Cameron: Yeah, well, the ideal scenario is that you've fallen in love with Pandora and you want to go back there, which hopefully translates to ticket sales for repeated viewing.
BD: And the stereoscopic aspect?
JC: The interesting thing is that so little of our focus was on the stereo. I mean, honestly, only about 2% of our focus was on the 3-D because we very early on figured out that we weren't going to have time at the end to tweak the stereo, when 1,000 shots would be coming in the door the last couple of months, which is pretty much the case. So we put the stereo part of the workflow early on when we generated our template, which went to Weta, which was essentially a CG camera with unfinished assets within it, and then they would put in the high resolution assets and the fully rigged models and then render it. But the camera didn't change. Once we had those cameras, we took that opportunity then to work on the stereo space, and we did all our interocular dynamics and our convergence dynamics.
BD: Talk about your design for 3-D.
JC: We tried to create a visual stylistic unity between the live action and the CG. I physically operated the camera myself in the live action and I physically operated the camera myself in the virtual production so the same kind of aesthetic -- the same moment by moment decision making -- would be taking place in both environments.
BD: What was it like for you?