James Cameron talks tech, "Avatar" at Comic-Con

Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:10am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By John Gaudiosi

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Even before Oscar-winning writer/director James Cameron unveiled 25 minutes of 3D footage for his upcoming space adventure "Avatar" at Comic-Con last Thursday, 20th Century Fox had blanketed downtown with "Avatar" posters unveiling the alien race, Na'Vi, from planet Pandora.

And Once the adoring crowd at Comic-Con got their first glimpse of the actual film footage, the focus turned from cutting-edge 3D to performance-captured, computer-generated magic. Cameron talks about his love of technology and his 14-year quest to bring his world of Pandora to the big screen.

Q: With "Avatar," "TRON Legacy," "Toy Story 3D," "A Christmas Carol," "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," and "Alice in Wonderland," 3D is a big theme at Comic-Con 2009. How does 3D move beyond this upcoming slate of movies.

A: 3D is going to be a lot like color was. It was initially introduced on the biggest movies, and it gradually spread ultimately over a 25- to 30-year period to the point where you couldn't make a black-and-white movie without the permission of the studio. I think the acceptance is really accelerating now that it's market-driven. Audiences love it and the quality of the 3D is so much higher than it's ever been in the past -- in terms of the acquisition technology like our fusion camera system, in terms of how animators are using it, and in terms of the projection technology. They are taking away all the impediments that kept it from being anything but a fad in the past, and now it's all upside.

Q: So you don't see this current wave of 3-D as a fad?

A: The last couple of years have demonstrated audiences will pay for this premium experience. We're off and running on what I call the 3D Renaissance. I think it's definitely here, and it's here to stay. When I was looking at 'Avatar,' -- whether to make the picture or not and how to make it -- for me, 3D was not a question. I thought it was superior. There was a question of how fertile a ground it would fall on in terms of available theatres, but it looks like we're there. It looks like we're going to have more than enough to make back the additional costs of 3D, assuming the film's successful.

Q: What is it that you like about telling stories in 3-?

A: I don't know if you tell a story in 3D. I think you share your story with the audience in 3D. I think I tell it the way I've always told it. My compositions don't change. The way I direct actors doesn't change, and the way I cut scenes doesn't change. I think it's really more of a bonus at the moment that you sit down and watch the movie that you feel more immersed in it and more physically present. I actually think 3D engages more areas of the brain, just the way we process 3D images. It makes you more aware and more present as you're watching the film because there's more brain activity.   Continued...

<p>Director, writer and producer James Cameron speaks during a panel discussion for his upcoming movie "Avatar" at the 40th annual Comic Con Convention in San Diego July 23, 2009. The convention runs from July 23 to July 26. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>