The Way Of Water Should Have ‘No Barrier’ In Its VFX

Joe Letteri elaborated on this, explaining, “Jim had this idea that this film, going back to the first one, should have no barrier between working on a performance capture stage, working in a digital world, and working in a live action world.” He talked about how hard it is to integrate green screens and digital characters, the difficulty of which has led to some noticeably awkward moments in lots of recent big-budget blockbusters. Luckily, the “Avatar” VFX team came up with a way to deal with this. As Letteri put it:

“If we have a character working in the scene, like Steven Lang playing Quaritch, his capture could be played live on the scene on a camera that was basically on a Spidercam rig that we moved around the set so that the actors, like Jack Champion who’s playing Spider, could actually react to Steven’s performance. It was a one-to-one performance live on set. We got rid of the tennis balls and they could actually see, you know, what was going on.”

It’s a technique that helped to fix one of the few visual issues of the first “Avatar” movie — namely, the strangely uncanny vibe of the scenes where the Na’vi interact directly with humans. By themselves, the humans and the Na’vi look great, but when the two are in the same frame together, something seems off. It’s an issue that absolutely needed to be improved on with the sequel, where a much larger percentage of the film involves human characters standing next to Na’vi characters. James Cameron’s ambition clearly paid off: “The Way of Water” is one of the most visually beautiful films of all time. It only makes you wonder if “Avatar 3” can up the ante even further.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” is now playing in theaters.

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