Avatar 2: how did they do it? A first making-of video explains us!

While “Avatar: The Way of the Water” has been in theaters since December 14, a look back at the incredible filming of James Cameron’s film, and how the actors’ performance was rendered on screen.

A visually stunning universe, a technological prowess never seen before, Na’vi more real than life and virtual characters more realistic than ever…

When we emerge from Avatar: The Way of the Water, in theaters since Wednesday, December 14, the first question that immediately comes to mind is inevitably: how did James Cameron and his teams manage to make the world of Pandora and its inhabitants as real and palpable to viewers?

While the future making-of promises to be just as exciting as the film, a first video has just been unveiled on the Youtube channel of 20th Century Studios UK. These few images make it much easier to understand how the film’s technical teams worked with the actors, and how they managed to capture all their emotions:

“There are different methods to make movies with CGI characters”explains James Cameron at the start of the report.

“What interested us in the performance capture was to have the totality of the performance. Physical, emotional, facial, the eyes, absolutely everything. The actors create the emotion, they create the moment. Our work is to ensure that everything they have done will be preserved in their virtual persona.”

As can be seen in the video, the actors therefore worked in a space called “the volume”, dotted with small cameras that capture and record all of their movements and expressions in real time, thanks to numerous sensors arranged on their suits and on their faces. A process already well known and used on films such as Planet of the Apes, but which seems to have been further optimized here.

“Pandora doesn’t exist. These six-foot-high avatars don’t exist. We have actors working in a volume, with markers on their bodies, face cameras on their heads, and we capture 100% of their performance in a digital world”sums up producer Jon Landau.

“One of the major technological advances we’ve been able to make on the sequels is face capture performance. Our performance capture is now much more faithful.”

It is only later, once the performances of the actors have been recorded, that the other stage of the staging can take place, and the camera movements strictly speaking.

Armed with a virtual camera, Cameron and his teams then evolve in this virtual world, previously captured in the volume, to capture the angles and shots that interest them.

While waiting for other making of videos on “Avatar: the way of the water”, (re)discover our interview with James Cameron…

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