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James Cameron Stresses VFX Impact on Digital 3-D at NAB

Director James Cameron, who has sworn allegiance to digital 3-D in all future production plans, including his upcoming back-to-back features, AVATAR and BATTLE ANGEL, offered an optimistic roadmap during his keynote at Sunday's (April 23, 2006) NAB Digital Cinema Summit in Las Vegas. He noted the success of both POLAR

EXPRESS in IMAX 3-D and CHICKEN LITTLE in digital 3-D as proof that there is an audience willing to pay a premium for a more immersive theatrical experience, but cautioned that "content will drive this [revolution]."

Cameron stressed that this new 3-D wave will be the driving force of digital cinema, offering "perfect" viewing with no eyestrain.

He also laid out three areas where digital 3-D will thrive: CG-animated features, tentpole, live-action features and the conversion of such blockbusters as the STAR WARS and LORD OF THE RINGS trilogies.

During a subsequent panel discussion, Cameron discussed the impact of digital 3-D on the VFX industry: "[The cost of] VFX is going to go up because compositing in 3-D is complex and adds extra space in Z space as well as X and Y. [But with] the mix of CG, VFX and live action, which I am doing, you get extra value in 3-D with tentpole movies [providing] an extra $50 million to $100 million." Cameron added that currently every vfx company is learning how to do 3-D and that greenscreen compositing will be more efficient and you will be able to achieve results in realtime with digital 3-D.