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What are all your thoughts on Avatar?


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#1 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 11:23 AM

I'm really curious to what you all think of Avatar.

http://www.nytimes.c...2...&ref=movies

http://marketsaw.blo...hoto-scans.html

I personally feel as if it'll be a highpoint for film-going in my own life span and simply for this generation of technology in general. I've read a lot though about it being labelled a gimmick and a lot about it being predicted as some sort of gift from God himself (i.e. take a look at the IMDb board).

The whole invention of a two lens camera system sounds so fascinating (check out this video for more info: http://video.google....32803911842846) and the CGI that has been buzzed around is supposed to be incredible.

I found this article also particularly interesting: http://www.variety.c...6...d=2868&cs=1 (it's quite long, but it's worth the read).

What makes me anticipating it the most is how many of our great filmmakers working today (Scott, Spielberg, Jackson, Del toro) have expressed interest in the technology from what they've seen of it. It could be a very surreal experience come December.
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#2 georg lamshöft

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 07:31 AM

"Fortunately, the new 3-D cameras are able to meet their revolutionary performance specs, that no film camera could dream of matching, because they are HD. So that immediate real-time stereo image is there for the filmmaker to experiment with."

Matching "immediate real-time stereo image"? Absolutely true - well, we now have the same sensors in video assists as used as primary sensors in "slumdog millionare" :blink:

"Perceived resolution = pixels x replacement rate. A 2K image at 48 frames per second looks as sharp as a 4K image at 24 frames per second ... with one fundamental difference: the 4K/24 image will judder miserably during a panning shot, and the 2K/48 won't."

The second part is propably true but the first part is simply incorrect. Without movement the perceived resolution doesn't change if your filming with 1fps or 1000fps (ok, maybe the grain/noise becomes less noticeable).

"Film cameras can run that fast, but stock costs would go up. However, that could be offset by shooting 3-perf, or even 2-perf, because you'd get the resolution back through the higher display rate."

James Cameron talking about stock costs, the man who made six movies in Hollywood and the last three were the most expensive of their time... :lol:


Yeah, the old film-guy complaining again, without having shot a single film... :rolleyes: But James Cameron claimed in an interview from the early 90s that 35mm has more than 1100lines of resolution and therefore is still ahead of video-formats of that age. But now, his simple 2/3"-CCD-F950 with 1080 theoretical and about 800-900 lines real resolution is better than todays film... and HD is just as good as 65mm or IMAX...

He even used Stereo-70mm once but now 1080p is better...
I'm sick of all these HD-movies, I enjoyed "Jekyll" but these are the masters of cinema, big screens, not blu-ray, spending years of work and more than 100million-dollars and then they use a 1080p-camera with less resolution, limited dynamic range, digital artifacts and problematic colours to compromise the technical aspect of their artistic work? Why has "Titanic" to be the best film of Cameron regarding IQ? Why has "Se7en" to be better than "Benjamin Button" while newer technology could have generated superior IQ!?
Hopefully "Inception" will be entirely IMAX...

I'm sick of bad 35mm-projection, either. Modern DLP-beamers and stereo will surely improve the experience! Digital technology is great, I'm impressed how well a poperly made 4k-DI can look, degraining... But digital cameras aren't ready yet for this kind of work, there are better tools for those projects.

But anyhow, I'm a big James Cameron-fan, his artistic skills (that might sound strange because of all the F/X in his work) are undeniable. At least half of his movies were groundbreaking, changing cinema, changing the expectations of the audience, raising the bar again! Who else achieved that? Spielberg propably...

I'm sure, despite it's limitations regarding camera-technology, "Avatar" will be groundbreaking again and a fantastic experience. It's not the characters or the story, it's the way Cameron-movies simply "work" in the end. Entertaining, breathtaking, emotional, exciting - whatever he intended, you will experience it in the cinema... But I would enjoy it even more with better technology, it just doesn't make sense! :P

Edited by georg lamshöft, 27 April 2009 - 07:34 AM.

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#3 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 03:50 AM

Thanks for the read, Georg. I think the biggest factor that makes digital the choice for this newly developed camera system is that the recorder backs can be separated (like Price mentions in that clip). But I am not sure how it will hold up as opposed to film, but I'm predicting the 3D aspect will be quite the visual feast (at least that's what's been said as of now). The main reason I think digital is such an innovative format is for what it will be able to achieve for independent filmmaking in general, to think how much rubbish gets greenlit and churned out with 35mm seems ridiculous. When you think about all that undiscovered and/or bankrupt talent out there. Maybe with digital, the ratio will be able to change.

I think if WB give Nolan a big enough budget, he may shoot Inception with the IMAX format completely, at least in the makings of The Dark Knight he seemed very lenient towards doing that, but also seemed sort of disappointed that he couldn't with that because of budgetary reasons. Well considering how much it made, it's quite probably that they'll give him a lot more freedom. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

What makes me question that is because I think the IMAX are changing (not sure how many) their projectors to digital, maybe due to this, even Nolan himself will have to shift to 3D digital filmmaking.

Edited by Marcus Joseph, 28 April 2009 - 03:55 AM.

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#4 georg lamshöft

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:50 AM

"Avatar" won't be about the resolution or DR - but I simply expected something different from Mr. Cameron. He waited 12 years to make another project and doesn't use the best technology available? He first describes what he is looking for but then chooses the opposite technology: he loves 48p, but isn't able to shoot it with this camera... Panavision would propably made him a custom running prototype of their 4k-camera!? :lol:

Digital is great for students/independet filmmakers, imitating 35mm-look is easier than ever before! But people like Jim Jarmush orJason Reitman use 35mm even for comedies while Fincher and Cameron use digital for huge blockbusters? That's not the idea.

Pfister & Nolan had to fight for every IMAX-scene in the >200mio.$ "Dark Knight", if I understood it correctly they weren't able to "hide" the additional cost for IMAX in the budget but had to justify every single aspect of the budget - additional 100.000$ for film is propably too much while +10mio.$ for marketing are just right... :blink: I would love to hear the desperate explanations of business people to cut costs on "Inception" because of the financial crisis... I hope he got a special contract with full control about artistic & technological aspects and final cut.

Edited by georg lamshöft, 28 April 2009 - 11:53 AM.

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#5 Jason Debus

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 12:11 PM

Can anyone tell me why this film is any different than all the other high budget sfx 3D blockbusters? (I'm hoping someone can come up with something other than uber photo-realistic cgi, James Cameron, or 3D technology that is going to revolutionize the industry).
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#6 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 12:46 PM

Can anyone tell me why this film is any different than all the other high budget sfx 3D blockbusters? (I'm hoping someone can come up with something other than uber photo-realistic cgi, James Cameron, or 3D technology that is going to revolutionize the industry).


Are you really asking something here or being sarcastic?
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#7 Jason Debus

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 02:46 PM

I guess 50/50. I'm curious about Avatar and will probably line up at the theater like a lot of us later this year, but I think a lot of people are getting excited about nothing (the tech, James Cameron, etc.).
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#8 Tom Lowe

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 03:11 PM

Like most people, I'm incredibly, incredibly excited for this film. Aside from the technology and the fact that Cameron is helming, it's also been AGES since we have had a great sci-fi picture. In fact, there really have not been any great sci fi films in almost 30 years! - since Star Wars, Alien and Bladerunner.

I guess you could count Ghost in the Shell and The Matrix as sci fi films (Cyberpunk like Bladerunner), but Avatar will have aliens and alien planets, space battles, etc.

Between this and Terrence Malick shooting 15-perf IMAX for Tree of Life and Voyage of Time, we are in for some serious cinematic treats over the next year or so.
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#9 georg lamshöft

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 03:24 PM

I'll have to admit that James Cameron is one of the very few directors, whose movies I would always watch, I wouldn't listen to any critic or friend either!
He is not a usual F/X-director. He always invests lots of effort into those things but in the end, it's about the story/experience. The first JC-film I saw was "Terminator 2", at this point I already saw movies with much more sophisticated F/X - but this was a unique experience, a rollercoaster-ride. It's not the dialogue or the actors performances (Arnie! :lol: ) - I think he always sees his projects as an entity. "Aliens" was the next one, the F/X were already ridiculous but this was a sequel to Ridley Scotts "Alien" and it was entirely different but also a masterpiece in it's own way! Who else could have done that? I hated "Titanic", everyone did, who was this DiCaprio-boy anway and why is every girl dreaming about him :blink: ? It took me years to actually see it and again, despite really minor things that could have been made more subtle the experience in the end was groundbreaking!

He cares about his work and as far as I know, he swore himself to never make a bad movie again and give away control after "Piranha Part Two: The Spawning"... :P

From what I've read I'm not really excited about the actors, the story or camera technology used in "Avatar" - but you know what? It's still the most anticipated film I can think of! Maybe naive, we'll see...
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#10 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 12:05 AM

I guess 50/50. I'm curious about Avatar and will probably line up at the theater like a lot of us later this year, but I think a lot of people are getting excited about nothing (the tech, James Cameron, etc.).


I think much of it may come from people in the film industry, more from those in the journalism side of it and thus the cause of the popularity, that understand some things about this project that the layman doesn't. Cameron is one of those rare directors/producers that puts more energy into his work than even those considered dedicated and he has a great eye for what is commercially viable.

The use of the new tech is unique here in that it is there to support the important thing, the story. This story will hold up on it's own and of course it has to because it will be seen without the 3D effect by most. He knows this and certainly wouldn't be spending $200mil without other equally dedicated people agreeing with the core concept. Overall you are still dealing with a track record of sci-fi milestones by the same person, namely Aliens and both Terminators and there are some extremely talented people involved with this film. What else do you go on if not track records and talented people? Books that sell to millions of vampire happy teens?

The Tree of Life was mentioned; another perfect example of something that will be a worthwhile film-going experience, and its right to anticipate for any film person. Knowing the basic story concept, which has epic ingredients, and knowing who is involved in working on it tell me it will be a milestone in cinema. Jack Fisk, Lubezki, Malick, West, Weber, Glass, Desplat, Rabinowitz, etc? They are all at a master level in their field, thus I anticipate like a child before Christmas, no need for more information.
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