The Oscars: Letteri Talks Avatar
JL: I have had discussions about that and people just aren't sure how much of it is straight performance and how much of it is animation. And it's always going to be hard to separate the two: how much of it is live action, how much of it is your mind and how much of it is your muscles. For an actor or an actress that all has to work together: you have to have that control, that expressiveness -- that is all part of the art. In this medium, you're really looking at the actor or actress to drive the heart of the performance, but then it has to be realized through some other medium. And I'm not sure if some people are saying if a computer does all that and no one touches it, that's fine, or if someone touches it, it's not fine, which doesn't make sense to me. I think people are trying to understand it. And it's hard to quantify all the things that actors bring to it, but I think they're worth a lot. There's a particular moment when Neytiri's mother tells her that she has to take Jake in and teach him our ways. Her reaction is so much like a teenage girl. It's perfect. Yeah, we probably could've thought about it if we came up with it in animation, but that's Zoe -- she played it perfectly. So what if an animator had to fix the toes so they touch the ground properly. That's not really what we're talking about here.
BD: What about other technical questions people have asked, including the significance of virtual production?
BD: And have you started having preliminary conversations yet about sequels?
JL: I'm hearing rumors, but I have not talked to Jim [Cameron] about it. Because so many people are going back to see it multiple times and saying they want to see more.
BD: Do you stay on Pandora or introduce another moon?
JL: Yeah, exactly: I have no idea.
BD: I guess that'll be discussed at the retreat along with what improvements you can make.
JL: For sure, but that's always an ongoing process: what we set off to do, how far we got with it -- what we were able to make work and what we'd like to do better next time. A lot of it comes down to efficiencies as well. You take things on like this where you're doing multiple characters and it takes a long time to develop those characters. Well, we want to shorten that time for the turnaround, so we can do more on the live action stage and on the performance capture stage. We want to be able take what we did but do it faster and just as well.
BD: We've talked last year about finding simulation and rendering improvements.