Jim here. Thanks to Matt in the UK for sending me another great story - this time Register Hardware has the goods on a new 3D Gaming System being set up for use before 3D movies are shown in 20 UK based VUE Entertainment screens (RealD) starting on July 10, 2009.
The game seems fairly rudimentary but of course it is first generation stuff and the idea is to involve the audience with an interactive gaming experience in 3D before 3D movies. Awesome idea that is finally coming of age.
O2's ASTEROID STORM brings the viewers into the mix by using two or more infrared cameras on the theater ceiling to track their hand movements. Sections of the audience simply raise their hands to control whatever it is on the screen that they are responsible for. In this case they must maneuver a damaged space ship in an asteroid field out of harms way. The game's server then takes the audiences various hand movements and plots out the real time motion of the space ship.
Of course asteroids are coming at you in 3D while this is happening! This game will show in front of ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS and TOY STORY in major UK cities.
Some locations are: Vue Leicester Square, Vue Bristol Cribbs Causeway, Vue Edinburgh Waterside, Vue Finchley road, London, Vue Kirkstall road, Leeds, Vue West End, AMC Manchester, AMC Birmingham, Truro Plaza.
Time to get this over to North America PRONTO. Think of the imaginative games you can come up with! Now, most of the time my immediate neighbors in a theater leave a lot to be desired - blazing light from their phones or incessant talking... Perhaps these games can bring us all closer together! Gain respect from your fellow movie goer and become part of the greater good!!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Jim here. Thanks to Matt in the UK for sending me another great story - this time Register Hardware has the goods on a new 3D Gaming System being set up for use before 3D movies are shown in 20 UK based VUE Entertainment screens (RealD) starting on July 10, 2009.
Jim here. This post is for anyone in the business or who wants to be, to learn more about 3D movie making. StudentFilmMakers.com is putting on a special 3D Workshop in New York City on July 11, 2009. Should be a great opportunity to bring yourself up to speed with today's 3D technology and allow you to examine where you could fit into the 3D revolution.
Here are the details:
Shooting in 3D Workshop with Julian Chojnacki
Shooting "The Final Destination" and the future of 3D production
Date: Saturday, July 11, 2009, 10am - 1pm
Arrive at 9:30am for coffee and networking.
Location: 1133 Broadway, R245, New York, NY 10010
How we see in 3D and how the camera reproduces it.
The Cameron/Pace 3D camera system. Components and how it all works.
Challenges of shooting in 3D. Advantages and Pitfalls.
Alterations and Limitations in shooting.
Steadicam and Underwater.
Crew and support required.
Shooting "The Final Destination" and the future of 3D production.
Price is $55, but if you register before July 2 you get $10 off. Also $10 off for students.
You can register right here.
This is what I like to see! There should be much more of this happening and the opportunity is now. Hats off to everyone involved; I am sure it will be a smashing success!
Monday, June 29, 2009
It also has the most audience-pleasing use of 3D in a CG animated family film to date. The pterodactyl chase and the bubble scene were some of the 3D standouts. There were no gimmicky 'stuff sticking into your face' 3D moments. Instead, the 3D draws you into the prehistoric world that the characters uncover. But I must say that I really felt an inch away from Scrat's funny-looking snout as he sniffed around for that acorn. Speaking of everyone's favorite squirrel/rat hybrid, Scrat has a love interest in the film, forming a storyline that surprises with how well it intersects with with the main plot of the movie.
The action sequences are a lot of fun - tense, well edited, and filled with character moments and humor. The movie itself played great to the crowd of parents and kids which formed the majority of my screening audience. The movie knows how to create excitement and get you cheering for the characters, and is filled with applause worthy moments. It's this great sense of pacing and payoff (both in terms of action and character) which got the audience cheering and elevates this film above the first two Ice Age movies.
Packed with jokes that work on multiple levels for audiences of all ages, the movie is very funny without resorting to pop-culture references. There were constant laughs and running commentary from the kids in the audience. In particular, Simon Pegg's character 'Buck' is an incredibly entertaining addition to the cast. His performance as a borderline crazy Australian hermit swashbuckling weasel leaps off the screen.
This movie will do great business. I'm very interested to see where the story goes next. Will it be the rumored "Ice Age: Th4w" which sees the gang getting frozen and defrosted in a modern-day museum? Or something completely different?
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Expo's over so finally have some time to give you a more detailed N'avi description.
The previous art is nothing like what the movie's N'avi ended up like. No blue lines, no floating (as far as I've seen).
The best description is luminescent (living) Blue tall people with a lot of Lion influences in the face.
They're about 10ft tall, so think more like double/triple the size of humans.
They all seem to have long hair in a braid and a tail best described as Lionesque (to connect to the Banshees or whatever they're called)
Their eyes are a lot bigger than human eyes, and bright yellow. It's also one of the features that most draws you into believing this world.
I saw the 'A Christmas Carol' footage and although it's an advancement from Beowulf, it's not an evolution from it because the muscles around the eyes and eyelids are still dead. They don't move, and really push the reality of it being mocap instead of people.
That just doesn't live. It's still very much a fantasy world created as a story device/enhancement. Avatar is more about the world where the story happens to take place. If that makes sense.
The clothing is very basic/tribal, so just cloths and belts.
Neytiri wore a beaded headband with beads down her forehand, reminding me a bit of indian/mayan headwear. Jake had a rifle gun, Na'vi sized which he parades around a lot in the first scenes described. Norm has a bag with him (probables with vials to take samples)
I was also asked about the glasses we wore during the presentation. I have them right here, they're the standard RealD 3D non colored glasses they use for cinema screenings around the world. I didn't find them taking anything away off the experience, it's just something you completely forget because you're so immersed in discovering the world displayed on screen.
We saw Ice Age 3D that morning with different glasses which used the 'old' red/green technology and those for me were a lot more disturbing.
Cameron's wife says what I feel the best. "I took friends to the sets, they signed waivers and stuff. But really, when you would TRY to explain what you saw, you can't. It wont do justice to whatever you experienced or what they will when they see it." This movie is made of stuff we didn't think would happen for 10 years. This movie makes it possible.
Afterparty was amazing, talking with Cameron for about 10/15 minutes was just mindblowing. He is so proud of this movie and still handles it with great suave like he just folded a paper plane. I asked how long the movie is right now. He answered with, "I don't want too say how long. That implies it's TOO long. Epic is more of the right word."
He really shined when he told us how Steven Spielberg and Peter jackson are now working on TinTin with this and how he gave them to the studio for a week to 'play with it'. I am just mindbaffled how a genius like that can contain himself with something like this.
He told me he has a trailer, but isn't done with it. He wants it to showcase what the world is like, rather than impress with 3D because in his opinion most people will watch the trailer online.
He told me nobody had seen this stuff outside of production (even most of the studio flew down, I heard) and that he was truly happy to share this. When he saw the backdrop of the stage of the party with the artwork, he gasped and said "Whoa". When I joked he could take it home he said, "I wish, I just dont have walls big enough for it! ;) "
It was historic, and talking to the man afterwards was a true pleasure. Also Sam Worthington was flown in by private jet from the Clash of the Titans set so didn't attend the afterparty. Talking to Zoe Saldana at the party was cool too. She said during the presentation she wanted to create, "a fearless memorable action heroine" and when I told her she already did with Uhura, she actually became shy. Not hollywood shy, but very down to earth and said: "That makes me incredibly humble. I really want to thank you for saying that!". Then the convo turned to Amsterdam (i'm born and raised here) and she just seems so down to earth.
Seeing this today together with the real costumes, on-set footage and props from Burton's Alice in Wonderland made this such a day to remember.
The source also sent the following regarding the trailer:
Just heard from my contact that the cut of that trailer isn't final. It's what Cameron has now to give FOX an idea of the direction he wants to take the trailer. It was shown to fox execs at the Expo this morning. It'll be heavily tweaked and won't be expected until mid/end august to be shown online/cinema's etc.
I can tell you we saw 2 full scenes from A Christmas Carol that are 85% finished and everyone afterwards gushed on how Avatar is so completely beyond that mo-cap.
Jim here. For all you interested in the production progress of Disney's STEP UP 3-D, they are going to be shooting all next week inside the vacant Essex Market Building D at the corner of Broome and Essex Streets in New York City. This according to the Bowery Boogie. Check out the site for more pics!
Further locations according to @Mishcam are "grand street tomorrow and next Wed and thurs. Btwn St marys at ridge and essex."
It is sad to think Michael Jackson was getting ready to be shot in 3D during his London concert gigs. There was no better entertainer.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
New Product Will Add Live Event Display Technology to World’s Largest 3D Platform
RealD, the world’s leading outfitter of 3D theatres, announced RealD LIVE, a new product that works with the company’s Cinema Systems enabling RealD equipped theatres to display live event broadcasts from anywhere in the world in crisp, clear, fully immersive RealD 3D. With 3D films driving today’s record box office, RealD LIVE promises to open new 3D entertainment opportunities to the over 8,700 screens contracted to RealD with live alternative content broadcast capabilities for concerts, sporting events, theatre and more.
“Films presented in RealD 3D are driving today’s box office showing moviegoers overwhelmingly prefer the true-to-life entertainment experience of RealD 3D,” said Joe Peixoto, RealD president of worldwide cinema. “RealD LIVE is the next step in 3D entertainment, offering our thousands of exhibition partners around the world the ability to show spectacular live events on their big screens.”
Another technology leap from the world’s leading 3D entertainment company, RealD LIVE is a separate product that when connected to RealD Cinema Systems receives a broadcast signal and converts the stream to a format compatible with digital cinema projectors. RealD LIVE works with the company’s DLP® 3D solutions, the Cinema System and XL Cinema System, which is capable of reaching screens up to 80 feet in width, and with the Sony 4K compatible XLS Cinema System. With standard RealD cinema eyewear, audiences will experience the high quality, stunningly lifelike viewing experience RealD 3D is known for.
RealD LIVE will bring worldwide distribution to technology recently used for live broadcasts of sporting events to RealD equipped theatres in the U.S. RealD LIVE is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2009.
RealD is the global leader in 3D, bringing the most advanced and realistic 3D experience to cinemas worldwide. RealD’s new generation technology, deployed across the world’s largest 3D platform with over 8,700 screens under contract and over 3,200 screens installed in more than 45 countries with over 200 exhibition partners, provides a high quality, stunningly lifelike viewing experience. Beyond cinema, RealD is the worldwide inventor and provider of key stereoscopic technologies used in science, manufacturing, marketing, and other industries, with thirty years of scientific development behind its systems. RealD’s mission-critical 3D visualization technologies are used by organizations such as NASA, Pfizer, BMW, Boeing and more. www.realD.com
RealD is a sponsor of MarketSaw.
Michael here. "Another Loyal Crewperson" posted this last night in the comments section of our "Footage Impressions" article, but it really begs to be posted on the front page, as it is a perfect showcase of the passion, dedication, and pride that the Avatar team has poured into this project for so many years.
Hi Avatar Fans,
I have been working on “Avatar” in Los Angeles for four years, and like the “Woodsprite” guy or gal down in New Zealand, I have resisted the almost overpowering urge to take pictures of the incredible stuff on the set, so your site has provided me with something to show my friends, too.
I know the fans are disappointed that more stuff hasn’t leaked out, but I am frankly amazed. This is testimony to the incredible loyalty of the thousands (yes, thousands) of people who have worked on the project over a decade, especially since everyone has cellphone cameras. Both Jim and “Avatar” itself inspire such dedication to make the movie as good as humanly possible, and to have the maximum impact when it is finally seen by the audience, by not “spoiling” Pandora’s virgin uniqueness.
Some of these comments are older, but just being posted now. They were written before some other sources revealed the facts. I have also added comments regarding the Amsterdam presentation.
(This is regarding an old picture of our MoCap stage.) When I saw the picture of our motion capture stage (which does indeed have a grey floor) some time ago, I immediately searched the stage for the mysterious being, but could not find it. We do have a female Na’vi model, but this one is an ordinary human-sized department store manikin that had been modified to match the Na’vi body. It has sported different wardrobe from time to time, so I assume the one in New Zealand served the same purpose. What the bigger one on our stage was remains a mystery.
We have the full-size ampsuit prop which was shipped up from New Zealand, along with other props and parts of sets. It is truly awesome – everything Jim has in this movie looks like it could work! The arms and legs can be repositioned, even the fingers, but unlike an action figure, it cannot stand up by itself. A large steel support beam is attached to its rump, which will be removed by computer processing. The canopy opens and closes, and various panel lights come on when switches are thrown. The actors who operate an ampsuit in the movie have spent so much time in it that they learned where the main power and other controls are, and their actions are very realistic.
Regarding the “clunky robot” look of the ampsuit, there are many logical reasons for it. As now, the military gets stuff that has been in development for quite a while, and then takes time to manufacture and more to work out the inevitable bugs. Once something does function more or less reliably, there are budgetary considerations in replacing it. We’re still flying B-52s, for God’s sake! The same goes for firearms – the M16 is half a century old! All our guns are indeed projectile weapons: simply refinements of the assault rifles and machineguns in use today. (But there are some “interesting” refinements to be seen.) Jim has given a lot of thought to mechanical engineering requirements in the design of the various mechanisms seen in the movie.
Along with others, I too wish the Na’vi looked more “alien”, but a large part of the success of “Titanic” was related to the fact that the movie wasn’t about a ship sinking, but rather about a love story set on a sinking ship. Since “Avatar” is also a love story, but one set in the future on an alien world, the audience has to accept that a human man can fall in love with a giant blue humanoid female with a tail. To this end, she has to possess certain attributes of human beauty. On the other hand, unlike “Titanic”, “Avatar” is visually so stunning that I think the story may take a back seat to the images.
The Pandoran plants and animals more than make up for the lack of alieness in the Na’vi. Real horses were used to capture the motion of the Na’vi’s mounts, so they look absolutely real at a full gallop. Videos of various terrestrial birds and animals were studied to develop the movements of the other Pandoran animals, and they too are completely believable. Unfortunately, I can’t mention anything more than what is in the scriptment or in the just released game screenshots, but the viperwolves (what the guy called “dogs” above) are far more nasty than their Earthly counterparts, and there are many animals far worse than them on Pandora. The “panther” is called a “thanator” and can eat a viperwolf for a snak. The horned creatures are “sturmbeasts”, and are kind of like buffalos. Like the machinery, the biological engineering of the animals has not been ignored. You will believe they are living on some planet somewhere in the universe. (Then again, perhaps Jim didn’t invent any of them – he just remembered what he had seen elsewhere, because he’s really an alien.)
The CGI banshees are nothing like those in the concept art picture – they’re much more amazing, both in their appearance, and aerial acrobatics. Even better than the ones in the game screenshot, although they are closer. And, yes, the Na’vi do ride them. But the banshees are mere pigeons compared to the leonopteryx.
Regarding the thanator, it was scaled down a little bit from the scriptment concept because if it is too powerful there is no drama in an encounter when the audience knows it can just step on an ampsuit and squash it flat. Now there is the slight possibility that an ampsuit might be able to beat a thanator. Maybe an old lame one. Perhaps. At least in the game.
Pandoran plants are as thought-out as the animals, and we see several that have unique characteristics (such as the spiral retracting one mentioned above). The plants’ colors in the daylight are almost irrelevant (and not all of them are green) – in the night scenes everything is alive with colored light, and those scenes totally eclipse (if that is the appropriate word) the day ones.
As to things like the floating mountains, etc, mentioned in the scriptment, remember that “Avatar” is much more than a movie – it’s a myth, a spectacle, and a cautionary tale. As a result, there are some things in it that are not explainable by “modern” science. But that does not mean that Jim ignored science. He had NASA scientists advise him on the space stuff, and uses Unobtanium, a room temperature superconductor, to explain other phenomena. But to make “Avatar” the truly exciting and spectacularly visual science-fiction epic it is, certain liberties had to be taken with reality. But no shortcuts – instead of “warp drive” or “hyperspace shunts”, Cameron’s starship travels at less than the speed of light, with all the complications of maintaining crew and passengers over a multi-year voyage, and the logistics of supporting a colony isolated by more than a decade of round-trip time.
Other compromises were made to allow the audience to experience “Avatar” without unnecessary distractions. Hundreds of years in the future, the English language will have evolved to the point where it might be incomprehensible to us (or devolved, if texting continues its relentless advance), so his characters speak contemporary English. On the other (four-fingered) hand, the Na’vi speak their own language, which has been developed by a college linguistics professor, and is perfectly believable because it is not just a bunch of random sounds (klaatu barada nikto) but a complete language with consistent syntax and vocabulary. The Na’vi also have a well-thought-out culture, with religion, music, cuisine, etc.
While “Avatar” follows the scriptment in general, there are a number of major points that are changed or eliminated, and new ones added. Sadly, the theatrical release of the movie can’t be four or five hours long, so some of the great scenes that were captured have wound up on the “editing room floor”. (Actually, they’re still on the editorial hard drives, so maybe a “Collectors Edition” DVD will have them.)
There is a great deal of crossover of assets between the movie and the video game, but there is no way that even a dedicated gaming computer has enough power to render the fluid motions of the movie’s GCI characters, let alone the incredible surface detail. (The game ampsuit doesn’t have windshield wipers.) Making the game 3-D only increases the number crunching. One of the advantages to CGI is that things like skin color are easy to change, assuming you haven’t already rendered the frame. Of course the game frames don’t take anywheres near the up to a hundred hours of a movie frame. The game can have their sturmbeasts any or all colors they want. I’m sure the Avatar game will beat any other game by a Pandoran mile, but it won’t come close to the movie itself.
(Regarding an old comment by “Woodsprite”.) The commercial/residential development which surrounds us is almost finished – in far less time than it took to make the movie. Our “stages” are actually old buildings left over from the Hughes Aircraft Company – you can Google Earth for an image. The largest building (with the white roof) was the live-action greenscreen stage (and also where the Spruce Goose was built), the smaller building across the street (with the tan roof) was the mocap stage.
The ultra-wide picture from the presentation looks like painted artwork, but much of our production art is computer-generated, and indistinguishable from a rendered frame of the movie.
We are finished with production, and Jim will have to work almost 24/7 to finish the show for its December 18th release. In my many years in show business, this is far and away the most fantastic (in both senses of the word) film I have ever worked on.
Another Loyal Crewperson
P.S. I work on the production crew – not Fox’s publicity dept. But everyone here is completely taken with the project, and our enthusiasm knows no bounds. When “Avatar” hits the theaters, no one will be disappointed with the images on the screen, no matter how high their expectations are. YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS – JUST ASK THE PEOPLE AT THE PRESENTATION!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Hi, Michael here with some more cool Avatar stuff out of Amsterdam.
The fittingly epic film promo literally added an extra dimension to Fox's presentation at the ongoing Cinema Expo.
"Three years ago, I stood up here and said the 3-D renaissance is coming," Cameron said. "And from what we've seen in the business, we can now say it has arrived."
In introducing the 24-minute assemblage, Cameron said much of it came from the first third of the film but that there were also glimpses from unfinished portions of later battle scenes involving warring sides clashing over control of the fantasy world Pandora.
Cameron encouraged theater owners to add 3-D capability as quickly as possible. But acknowledging "Avatar" will have to play in a mix of conventional and extra-dimensional venues due to insufficient number of 3-D auditoriums, he added, "I just want to say that I think 'Avatar' is going to play great in 3-D, 2-D, any 'D.' "
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Hi, Michael here. The consensus of those chosen ones who filled the seats of the RAI Auditorium for the Avatar presentation is that they witnessed something historic. Something they would be proud to tell their grandchildren about. Something shared and communal. Something that will bond them for life.
This was all part of the 20th Century FOX 2009/2010 presentation. We saw clips of movies not out til november '10. But then Avatar was introduced and the crowd went silent
Sigourney Weaver, Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Stephen Lang stepped on stage and introduced us to their characters and a brief into of the story. They then announced we would see a large range of clips in sequential order
We got to see clips with their scene numbers attached. Which ranged from sc. 8 to scn 48 -54 til 82. 82 is the last fully completed scene we saw which was only in act 2 of the film.
The clips were amazing, can't go into detail too much but we see Jake a lot. My memory of quotes is fuzzy cos of the impression the screen makes.
First clip showed us a militairy briefing with Stephen Lang's character about how brutal the N'avi are.
He says: "My job is to keep you all alive, but I'll fail." Jake is in a wheelchair listening to the brief.
Next scene we get into the lab, see two N'avi on labtables subdued. Jake enters lab with Joel Moore's character Norm Spellman who's a new doctor but knows a lot about N'avi.
Next scene we see Jake and Norm entering two tanks. Jake is getting out of the wheelchair, tries to get into the tank. Someone wants to helps him but he says he can do it himself and gets his limp legs into the tank. Sigourney's doctor Grace says "So you just came out here without any training and decided to get in on this? "
Then we see them take hold of their N'avi's. Norm is adjusting slow, while Jake stands up, wobbles, hits stuff with his tail and then STORMS out of the base into the wild.
Until now, all we saw was the base in 3D, mostly humans and now the 2 N'avi Avatars.
They look NOTHING like the drawing you've seen. They're living creatures with blue skin, bigger yellow eyes than humans with tails. The avatars even look like their human connectors. You will NOT believe the detail. Jake's character will get a wound in a scene we saw later, it looked so real. You could see beneath the skin's first layer, like only real wounds show. We later meet creatures that look like the evolutionary link between a pherodactyl and a bird. They can connect with the N'avi and hunt with them. They connect with only ONE N'avi and do this by swallowing the N'avi's tail with their mouth so they stay connected.
The world outside is amazing. It all lives, breathes and works.
You will not believe the amount of leaves that look like someone created that jungle for real. Later scenes involved Grace, Norm and Jake in the jungle exploring. Jake encounters a animal which stomps towards him, Grace tells him to stand his ground. He does and the animal backs away to reveal a more sinister animal behind them. Jake fights it and runs.
Next scene we only see Jake so I assume he lost Grace & Norm. He is being attacked by very very very nasty black dogs. Not only do we see their teeth, their gums look nasty as well. It's all so photorealistic you first wonder where they got these dogs. They look like our dogs but slightly different and it's only then you realise what this is. All CGI.
Jake gets saved by Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), a real N'avi with bow and arrow. Afterwards he wants to thank her but she gets mad. She says "You not need thank me, this shouldn't have happened. They shouldn't have to be killed if it wasn't for you." The next scene we see is Neytiri and Jake on a treeledge entering a Pandoran village where seeds of a sacred tree touch Jake. I mean touch. They touch his skin and then some fly off while others get absorbed by his N'avi skin.
After that: Cameron entered the stage. He talked about the beasts and how we now saw how it was to walk on Pandora. Now we were going to fly.
We then get introduced to the beasts I mentioned earlier and a small scene of Neytiri riding one ends the scenes that were finished.
Cameron then came back, talked about the specifics of the rendering already mentioned by others and then said: Now imagine 3000 of these beasts.
One more scene was shown then of something that will be near the climax of the movie. A battle between humans and N'avi. It was mo-cap footage of humans with the template CGI. Best to describe it would be World of Warcraft on a high-end PC. That's what it looks like when it's 40% done. And that is NOTHING like it'll end up but it shows WETA, Cameron how the scene will play. And even in that stage, the amount of bodymovement is absolutely realistic. In that scene we also meet the bot that was displayed at the afterparty.
What is most imporant about this movie: Everything lives and breathes. The tree in the scene with the sacred seeds glowed. Not the bast, but the tree underneath glowed like a living thing. Jake encounters plants which look like a kid's slide which shrink when he touches them. Little fireflies and birds fly through the shots without being there. You just take them as the world, like a dove in Central Park. It's not placed there, it lives there and just happens to be in the shot.
There's a shot of leaves somewhere which is so photorealistic you don't want to think it's CGI. You believe this world from the get-go. It's there, you don't need to believe it because you will experience it.
The cast and Cameron came back on stage after the last clip, took a VERY VERY VERY long round of applause and the houselights came on.
The audience afterwards was stunned. Everyone just gasped, wondered and just couldnt believe what they saw. [Cameron] is so proud of this movie and still handles it with great suave like he just folded a paper plane. I am just mindbaffled how a genius like that can contain himself with something like this.
This movie will change the industry. It can now enable me to play a character in a studio, then to be transferred into something different on screen so an audience will believe I am that different character. This is not the Polar Express style 'change of character'. This will enable actors to act without them being cast on looks, but on bodylanguage from now on.
Fifty years from now I'll tell my grandkids I was at this presentation and witnessed it 6 months before the movieworld was changed.
Only shame: I won't be able to see the final product like we saw today. With Cine Expo the most advanced projectors and audio is installed which won't be rolled out to most cinema's til probably next year's summer. But IMAX 3D will make this movie shine like never before, I hope.
I hope this gives you an impression of what we experienced. I had a hard time putting it to words. You just can't fully do it.
Guys - Jim here...
**WARNING SPOILERS** Do not view photos if you want a pristine viewing experience for James Cameron's AVATAR! You have been warned.
STUNNING photos from the After Party at CineExpo in Amsterdam has just landed in my inbox - I literally can't believe what I am seeing! The first shot is obviously of the AMP Suit and man, is it ever cool how it is lit up. This party was held right after the screening of the AVATAR clips for the lucky crowd at the industry show.
Click to enlarge!
The huge photo of course is of the projection on the wall in the after party room. There seems to be 3 projectors illuminating this mural and WOW... Do you get the feeling that this movie is going to just blow your mind? We finally get a glimpse of the Na'vi too!! Imagine their 9 foot height as well.
You certainly get the "Garden of Eden" feeling from this shot. Seems to be waterfalls behind the Na'vi - and the foliage and lighting! The Na'vi on the left appears to be in motion - hard to tell if it is running or walking, probably the former. Look at the scope and grandeur of the scene - it truly is another planet imagined and created from the ground up.
Now picture this in stunning stereoscopic 3D. James Cameron's 3D, not someone who has just been introduced to the format - we are talking perfect 3D imagery here.
And of course you all should note that the plant life at night is NOT green! It is very much bioluminescient! The AMP Suit photo also shows some foliage to the left. You guys that were disappointed with the green plants during the daytime will be suitably impressed with this.
It must be said that this may NOT be a scene from the movie as it is far too wide to be captured from it - however, the gist is the same. What I wouldn't give to be at the after party right now! :-)
The third photo is simply a blow up of the Na'vi from the second picture. They look stunningly graceful. And LARGE.
More on these breaking photos when I get it!! :-) If you are seeking info on AVATAR - keep on MarketSaw of course!
Michael here. I have confirmation that 3 full scenes from Avatar were shown at Fox's presentation today at Cinema Expo.
This guy is an industry pro and has very high technical standards - but this presentation blew him away! ;-)
@gjkooijman: still can't process the Avatar presentation he saw. It's nothing you can imagine, it's real. Cameron made a new planet and took a cam there.
@gjkooijman: saw 40 minutes of James Cameron's Avatar footage at the Cinema Expo tonight. THIS WILL CHANGE MOVIES FOREVER. Trust me, it will.
@NafRas: OMG keep this in mind James Cameron's AVATAR this Dec. it's gonna rock the way u see movies! Preview @ cinema expo leaves me wanting more
@UCSNord: "Avatar" footage at #cinexpo: CGI was photorealistic, characters look really real. Believe the hype, this movie will be massive!
@UCSNord: Fox's product presentation at #cinexpo offered about 15-20 mins of "Avatar" footage in 3D, presented by Cameron & members of the cast.
@UCSNord: "Avatar" footage at #cinexpo was presented by Cameron, Weaver, Worthington, Saldana and Lang, who all attended the after-party.
@UCSNord: Footage from "Avatar" at #cinexpo was stunning, literally jawdropping. Amazing visuals unlike any before seen, with incredible detail.
@UCSNord: The screening room was packed, I'd say about 1500 to 2000, around there. Genuine excitement and an amazed crowd.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Jim here. Got a special treat for you stereographic 3D animation fans out there! Rob Bredow, Visual Effects Supervisor for Sony Pictures Imageworks spoke with me about the work they have done on CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS and I tell you, the more I see and hear about this project the more stoked I get.
CLOUDY rolls in for release in 3D theaters across the country on September 18.
So here is Rob Bredow!
Jim: How early in the process was the decision made to make this a 3d film?
Rob: CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS was a great experience for us because the studio supported it being made in 3d almost from the very beginning. This gave us the ability to be 3d aware in the early planning stages and during the layout phase of the movie. This also gave us the ability to really tune the 3d experience from beginning to end.
Fortunately at Sony Pictures Imageworks we have a long history of making stereo films dating back to The Polar Express in 2005. Since then, we have approached each of our animated film as if they may be done in 3d because it’s been our experience that once filmmakers see the work coming together, there is almost always a desire to extend their films to three dimensions and make it as immersive as possible. We’re very fortunate that Sony Pictures Animation’s CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS is our 7th stereo production here at Imageworks.
Jim: From your experience, besides things like convergence and interocular, what do you find yourself focusing on in order to make a shot or sequences of shots work in 3D?
Rob: We talk a lot about our “stereo budget”. We like to budget how many of those high impact moments you will have in the film. We’ve found the more selective we are with the stereo moments, the more effective those moments are for the audience.
For a movie like CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, it’s easy to imagine some amazing stereo moments when you’ve got food falling from the sky and feeling like its landing right in the audience. CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS is really a perfect movie for 3d.
Jim: Are they any new stereoscopic 3D techniques that you are pioneering on this film that you have not yet implemented in your previous 3D movies?
Rob: Our stereo 3d technology has come pretty far. We are no longer inventing as much new technology but rather refining our techniques for the creative requirements of the film. Specifically for Cloudy we refined the way we used our 3d camera layout and did that work as early as possible. That allowed for the most creative flexibility on our side which in turn will help create a great 3d experience for the audience.
Jim: What sort of computer and software do you use in your day to day tasks in creating CLOUDY?
Rob: We use a wide assortment of hardware and software to make our films. We use some off-the-shelf software like Maya and Houdini as well as our own in house software for cloth, hair, lighting and many of the other areas of our pipeline. One of our biggest achievements on Cloudy is using a new renderer called Arnold which we helped to develop in order to meet the needs of this film. Some of the scenes like the Jello bounce house and the Gummy Bears would have been nearly impossible without this new rendering technology.
Jim: If someone was starting out and wanted to be doing exactly what you are doing today, what advice would you give them? What education is required/suggested? Do you have to work at a single location all the time or can you work remotely?
Rob: First, go see lots of movies. It’s a great training ground. Then, get as much experience with 3d animation, lighting and rendering as possible. The nice thing is that home computers are very fast today and there are cheap or free training versions of some of the software we use everyday. That kind of experience goes a long way towards both teaching you how stuff works, and making sure you love doing it.
Most of our artists work in-house but we do have a few people who work remotely.
Jim: Some artists may have differing opinions on how to present their scenes in 3D - how is this brought into the creative mix to determine a final decision for the team?
Rob: For each show we have one person who makes the final stereo calls for the film—the stereo supervisor. This helps give the movie consistency and we make sure we make the strongest choices for the movie, not just each individual shot. Of course, artists often present creative ideas and as long as they contribute to the film overall, they make it into the film.
Jim: Describe a typical day in your life - How much of the day is spent in creative process as opposed to actual scene creation?
Rob: My job consists of supervising the teams of people working on the various aspects of the film. Most of my time is spent in the screening room reviewing work and providing direction as the teams work to complete their lighting or effects work. Most of my interaction is on the creative side, although we still spend time talking about the technical merits of one approach over another.
In terms of the life of an artist, we work really hard to provide tools so that they spend their time making creative choices instead of fighting technical problems. Even so, the best artist has a good mix of technical and artistic skills because there is always troubleshooting needed to pull together shots as complicated as the ones we create.
Jim: The color palette for CLOUDY is amazing - are there special techniques involved in creating this, and/or is it there a person on the team that is influencing in this direction?
Rob: Michael Kurinksy is the art director on the film, so thanks to him and his team, we were provided with great inspiration for the colors and lighting found throughout the film. Each of our supervisors and lighting leads then add their own personal touch as we take those ideas from paintings to an actual 3d world.
We’re also doing some things in the way we’re handling the color to make sure the version you see in every theater matches our original intent as closely as possible. Cloudy is going to look incredible on new digital projectors that many theaters are now adopting.
Jim: How long does a project like CLOUDY take to complete?
Rob: I’ve been working on the project for two and half years and that’s pretty normal for an animated project..
Jim: I enjoyed your CLOUDY display at ShoWest this year (That's me under that giant meatball)! Do you rely on actual physical science in your world (effects of gravity, etc) or do you employ a cartoonish freedom for this project?
Rob: I like to say that CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS is the first real “cartoon” I’ve ever had a chance to work on. I supervised animation before on Surf’s Up and The Polar Express, but those experiences didn’t offer the same freedom to bend the rules of physics like this film does.
Jim: How do you integrate the voice cast? Is it a kind of a chicken and egg thing where you need to have the actors give an emotional performance to get their faces just right - but to enable the actor's success you need to have the scenes playing out in front of them?
Rob: The actor drives the performance. We nearly always record the actors first and they are free to give the characters the voice they want and then we build the animation around their performance. Sometimes we even record video reference of the actors so we can be inspired by their facial expressions.
Jim: What are you the most proud of in CLOUDY?
Rob: I love the fact that we have such a wide variety of everything in CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS. From the amazing clouds, the food falling from the sky, the wide array of characters, the huge town—basically everything about the scope of the movie is incredible. We joked around at the beginning of this production that we didn’t have any thing in Cloudy that we didn’t know how to do, but we weren’t sure how to do it all together! That’s been the trick because Cloudy packs it all into an amazing 90 minute movie.
Jim: Why is there such a different feeling between animation houses? SHREK is so much more different than WALL-E, yet both are obviously very successful. Is the difference in the human resources or the technology involved? Both?
Rob: I think there are both technical and artistic choices that yield such different looks between houses. One thing that we are proud of at Sony Pictures Imageworks is that we don’t have one “house look.” This year we have worked on Watchmen for Warner Brothers and that had completely photorealistic human animation, G-Force for Disney which has hi-tech photorealistic computer generated guinea pigs, and Sony Pictures Animation/ Columbia Pictures highly stylized film CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS all at the same time. In fact, some of the same artists worked on multiple films. It’s one of the great things about working at a place that does animation and live action visual effects at the same time.
Jim: Did you use a 3D virtual camera while making CLOUDY?
Rob: Absolutely. Our hand-held virtual camera is a great tool in our arsenal. You’ll notice it especially during the action sequences where a hand held camera really helps compliment the action.
Jim: What project is next for you?
Rob: After Cloudy wraps, I’m moving into the Chief Technology Officer position for Imageworks and will be supervising the technology development for our studio. This will give me an opportunity to work very closely with the teams building the next generation of technology for our next round of films.
I want to thank Rob and Sony Pictures Imageworks for their help in putting this together! I am really looking forward to seeing how 3D is used here as the movie begs for some in your face action - normally I am against that of course, but for family adventure movies like this (and horror too) and if it is used tastefully (meatballs!!), then all is good.
Everyone who sees this movie owes me 100 meatballs. And I WANT my meatballs! :-)
If you haven't seen it yet, check out the trailer for the movie below...
Jim here. Got another spy shot from the same source that sent me the bloody boat pics from PIRANHA 3-D!
Click to enlarge...
This one shows that the movie is NOT lacking in the humor department! I love it! Take a look at the floating stage where they apparently hold a wet t-shirt contest: The banner overhead clearly says - WILD GIRLS - DYING TO GET WET. Nothing like a good pun to get you in the mood for a bloody good time.
Just how tongue-in-cheek will PIRANHA 3-D be? Will they go overboard? Or are they baiting us? LOL :-)
SAME DAY UPDATE: Michael here with two new pics from YAHOO! Movies, one of Mia Wasikowska as Alice, the other of the Tweedle bros.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Michael here. It's long been known that Laeta Kalogridis has been working on Battle Angel and The Dive for James Cameron, and her work on the Avatar script has also recently come to light. Kalogridis has been a very well-respected screenwriter, but until now it seems she hasn't had much luck getting her screenplays produced. Well, that's about to change - Kalogridis' career is really heating up. Later this year, along with a little movie called Avatar, she has Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island. She is also working on the script for the action-comedy Witchita, which will star Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
**ANOTHER SAME DAY UPDATE: Jim here - Yet another trusted source says the smaller aircraft is a Scorpion and the chopper landing in the rainforest is a Samson - which are featured heavily in the final cut!
**SAME DAY UPDATE: Jim here again with confirmed names for these beasts and more info from a trusted AVATAR source.
Here is what he/she said:
"The 'panther' is a Thanator, which was called a 'manticore' in the scriptment. The tan/orange animals being shot from the air are 'Sturmbeasts', which the Na'vi hunt like buffalo. The scriptment's 'titanothere' is in the movie too, but with a new name. Since I haven't seen an image of it online yet, I can't talk about it. The comment about everything being brightly lit is only partially correct. While there are some scenes in the movie like this, much of the action take place in dimly-lit rainforests, and at night."
Be sure to keep clicking to MarketSaw no matter what AVATAR related material emerges on the Interwebs - 'cause we have the sources to explain what is going on in them. Again, no real spoilers here - just damn interesting info! :-) Some more surprises in store for us I am sure...
Jim here. Wow - some great new shots from the Ubisoft authored AVATAR game that everyone is buzzing over. These photos come from news.com.au and reveal quite a bit about the creature design on Pandora. Have a look!
Click to enlarge.
I have a good idea what we are seeing - but perhaps someone else would like to chime in on what you think we are seeing here? You guys wanted more photos on the flora - here they are! How true they are to the movie is anyone's guess, but I see no reason to deviate much when it comes to these designs. The only real differences between the movie and the game is that they take place at different points in time (no movie spoilers as far as plot - but introduces everyone to the alien ecosystem) and of course the graphics will be FAR superior in the movie.
Looks like stunning gameplay! Can't wait to see this in action. Thoughts?
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Jim here. Quick note from Mirza (thanks!) in my inbox had me pre-ordering the official AVATAR 2010 Wall Calendar from Amazon. You can check it out here - the price is $13.99. Sorry, no pics up yet!
What better way to count how many days AVATAR stays number one at the box office than a calendar? Gutsy move my Cameron and crew :-) heh.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Jim here guys. Got some recent exclusive photos from the set of Alexandre Aja's PIRANHA 3-D sent to me and of course you are the first to know! :-)
Click on images to zoom.
Here is what my source had to say about the photos: "These were taken with a cell phone, security was pretty tight. There is a great one with a half body laying on an overturned boat. You'll see the boats covered with blood, and a couple good pics of the hydraulic sound stage."
I don't think there are any spoilers in these photos to speak of, so have fun taking a look! Again, I love seeing behind the scenes (BTS) photos and set shots - gives me a really good feeling for the quality of the production and of course with Aja at the helm it is going to be awesome. Bloody awesome.
The top photo is obviously with someone missing a lower appendage no doubt bitten off in some gruesome fashion! The next photos are of the bloody decks of boats used in the movie. Finally we have some shots of the Soundstage complete with boats sinking and BTS hydraulics used in the movie. Seeing these scenes in 3D is going to be wicked.
I am super stoked for this movie guys. I am definitely an Aja fan and that could color how I am viewing this project, but heck - it looks good. And a blast to be on this production! Wish I was there! Just how much blood do you think Aja is using in this? :-)
Monday, June 15, 2009
Michael here. Disney's new Disneynature label, which is off to a great start with the recent box office success of Earth, is set to release 3D Entertainment's 85-minute digital 3D documentary OceanWorld 3D. I'm excited by the new wave of nature films and am encouraged by the wide audiences they are reaching. I will definitely be checking this out.
Disneynature has acquired the North American and Mexican distribution rights to the exciting new underwater film "OceanWorld 3D," the first feature-length nature documentary ever filmed and released in 3D, it was announced today by Jean-Francois Camilleri, executive vice president and general manager for Disneynature, and Francois Mantello, chairman of 3D Entertainment.
The film is presented by Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the legendary Captain Jacques- Yves Cousteau, and was directed and produced respectively by veteran filmmakers Jean- Jacques & Francois Mantello ("Sharks 3D," "Ocean Wonderland 3D," "Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean"). This deal marks the first collaboration between Disneynature and 3D Entertainment, a company founded in 2001 to produce unique and immersive 3D story-driven experiences for audiences of all ages. "OceanWorld 3D," an 85-minute feature film, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Annual Film Market last month, and will be released theatrically in France and Russia starting this August. The film's North America debut will be announced at a later date.
Commenting on the announcement, Camilleri said, "We are honored to be working with the film's ambassador, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and the renowned underwater documentarians the Mantello Brothers in bringing this extraordinary film to moviegoers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This is exactly the kind of film that Disneynature is striving to make, and it delivers an incomparable level of quality and craftsmanship. 3D Entertainment set out to create the most extraordinary underwater adventure ever captured on film, and they have exceeded all expectations with 'OceanWorld 3D.'"
Jean-Michel Cousteau and the Mantello Brothers added, "We had various distribution options for this film, but Disney's overwhelming reaction made this a simple decision for us. With its tremendous commitment to 3D and its new Disneynature label, Disney is the perfect home for 'OceanWorld 3D.' We applaud Jean-Francois Camilleri, Dick Cook and Mark Zoradi for their involvement in the protection of the underwater world, as well as their strong creative instincts and impressive business acumen."
"OceanWorld 3D" takes moviegoers on an awesome journey that captures the beauty and diversity of the oceans - the source of all life on our planet - and inspires them to protect its fragile ecosystem and inhabitants. Guided by a sea turtle, viewers will enjoy a close-up look at her fascinating world from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and Argentina's Peninsula Valdez to Mexico's Roca Partida Island, home to thousands of sharks. They will witness some of the most unforgettable scenes of life beneath the waves ever captured: the manta ray's enchanting ballet, the noble procession of hammerhead sharks; the lionfish's relentless hunt; dolphins playing algae-soccer; the astonishing beauty of the Spanish dancer sea slug and leafy sea dragon; and an exceptional encounter with the largest cetaceans on the planet. The film is the result of seven years of production, 25 international expeditions and 200 hours of footage shot exclusively in the wild in 3D.
"OceanWorld 3D" is presented by Jean-Michel Cousteau and endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme. Produced by 3D Entertainment and Gavin McKinney Underwater Productions, it is a Mantello Brothers Film with underwater cinematography by Gavin McKinney, and featuring an original score by Christophe Jacquelin.
Jim here. Mitsubishi may not the only one producing 3D ready HDTVs, but they sure are cutting to the chase. They will be running with no less than eight different 3D ready HDTVs this year and one of them will be a mammoth 82-inch DLP Model WD-82737 says Dealerscope.
And Mitsubishi has 67- and 75-inch screen sizes in its second-generation LaserVue laser TV series in the planning stages, while already shipping the 65-inch model (pictured).
Laser TVs are the next generation of flat screens that make Plasma and LED blush in comparison - and they are VERY 3D friendly allowing potential polarization right at the light source. Make sure Santa knows you want this on your list...
Thanks for the tip Kyle!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Michael here. If you will be attending Cinema Expo International, which runs from June 22-25 in Amsterdam, we'd love to hear from you!
Tuesday, 23 June
Please note for the 20th Century Fox International Screening & Product Presentation, no mobile
phones or electronic devices of any kind will be allowed in the RAI Auditorium. All electronics must be
checked in the cloakroom on the lower level. No exceptions will be made.
20th Century Fox International’s
“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” in 3D
Presented in Dolby 3D
18.45 Refreshment Break
(Auditorium Lounge & Terrace)
19.30 An Exclusive Look at 20th Century Fox International’s Lineup for 2009 and Beyond
Paul Hanneman, Co-President, 20th Century Fox International
Tomas Jegeus, Co-President, 20th Century Fox International
Please note: This is a ticketed presentation. You will need to show the 20th Century
Fox ticket given to you at registration to gain admittance to this event. Your
Passport will not be admissible in place of a ticket.
11.30-16.30 Cinema Expo Trade Show and Luncheon on the Trade Show Floor
(Note: Lunch will be served from 13.00 – 14.30)
All guests are reminded not to miss the exclusive opportunity to step down the rabbit hole, in hall
11, as Disney invites you to experience the artistry and inspiration behind one of 2010’s most
anticipated releases in the ALICE IN WONDERLAND Touring Exhibition
Please note that cameras and recording of any kind are strictly prohibited.
Please note for the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International Screening & Product
Presentation, no mobile phones or electronic devices of any kind will be allowed in the RAI Auditorium.
All electronics must be checked in the cloakroom on the lower level. No exceptions will be made.
16.30 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International Invites You to a Presentation of
Upcoming 3D Projects….and More!
Anthony Marcoly, President, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International
(this presentation will showcase the masterImage 3D cinema system)
It looks like a lot of interesting stuff will be happening at the show. Do you think Fox will show off Avatar at Cinema Expo International?