James Cameron Explains Why he is shooting Avatar sequel on Sony’s VENICE Camera

The cameras will be used with 3D stereoscopic rigs.

James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment will use Sony’s new VENICE motion picture camera system for principal photography on the upcoming “Avatar” SEQUELS.

The first “Avatar” movie, released in 2009 and also shot on Sony professional cameras, shattered box office records with its compelling story, immersive 3D and stunning visuals. These newest entries in the franchise will up the visual ante significantly with enhanced special effects, more elaborate production requirements and challenging live action sequences.

According to Lightstorm, the Sony VENICE camera system was the right choice to continue the Avatar storyline and give audiences an entirely new experience.

“The VENICE camera delivers the most astonishing image I’ve ever seen,” said Director James Cameron, “The blacks are rich, deep and velvety, the highlights and source lights are amazingly bright. For the first time, we truly appreciate what the term High Dynamic Range means.”

While principal photography on the “Avatar” SEQUELS using VENICE is expected to begin first quarter of 2019, performance capture is underway now.  The process is supported by a variety of additional Sony imaging technologies including multiple Alpha mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, PXW-Z450 and PXW-320 camcorders and the compact RX0 camera.  The production is also using Sony’s F55 and Alpha cameras to record behind-the-scenes footage and stills.

“I’ve enjoyed shooting with Sony CineAlta cameras for 19 years, but I’m really looking forward to shooting Avatar 2 and 3 with the new VENICE camera,” Cameron added.

Sony worked closely with Lightstorm to customize VENICE for its specific needs, with regular meetings taking place between James Cameron, his production teams and Sony’s engineering group.

“Our goal in this ongoing co-development collaboration is to enable Lightstorm to execute their vision and deliver their unique approach to storytelling,” said Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics.  “For Avatar, VENICE will be put to use in very demanding environments. The camera’s Full Frame sensor gives them complete flexibility and freedom to choose aspect ratios, various bokeh and lenses that match their shooting requirements.”

The Sony-Lightstorm collaboration began in 1999, resulting in the development of a unique extension system allowing the camera body to detach from the actual image sensor block.  A similar approach has been adopted for VENICE, with each sensor and camera body connected by a cable at distances of up to 20 feet with no degradation in image quality. For the upcoming “Avatar” SEQUELS, multiple VENICE cameras will be paired in various 3D stereoscopic rigs. Using the new Sony cabling system, the only part of the VENICE carried on the rig will be the image sensor optical blocks, significantly reducing on-board camera weight to about three pounds per sensor block. By lowering the weight and improving ergonomics, Cameron and the Lightstorm team will have the ability to shoot with greater flexibility and freedom.

“This new extension system is a perfect example of listening to our customers, gathering strong and consistent feedback, and then building that input into our product development,” added Peter Crithary, marketing manager, motion picture cameras, at Sony. “The ‘Avatar’ SEQUELS will be among the first feature films to use the new VENICE Extension, but it also has tremendous potential for wider use with handheld Steadicams, drones and gimbals, and remote mounting in confined places.”

James Cameron’s Avatar 2 is expected to release on 18th December 2020. Weta Digital will again going to create some of the most memorable visual effects for this movie.

Avatar (2009) was the big success in the industry. The Avengers, The Force Awakens, The Jurassic World… all have tried, and all have failed to reach James Cameron’s behemoth takings of $2.788 billion.

James Cameron is planning to shoot some footage seven miles underwater in the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the Mariana Trench and also the deepest location on earth.

Cameron confirmed that he wanted to shoot the film in higher frame rate which, as he stated, takes the glass out of the window to reality. Possible frame rates of interest are 48fps or even 60fps. This would imply that either a downgraded version would be required for release in the majority of theaters across the world or this movie would be a pioneer in the attempts to get HFR into cinemas worldwide.

Bailey Bass, Duane Evans Jr., Britain Dalton, Jack Champion, Filip Geljo, Jamie Flatters, and Trinity Bliss in Avatar 2 (2020)

 

 

Avatar VFX Technology

 

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