Over 10 years ago, Avatar set a new bar for visual effects and performance capture, and it’s been known for a while now that writer and director James Cameron is aiming to top himself with the long-awaited sequels. Cameron has frequently teased that the next installments will mark the first time that mo-cap has been accomplished underwater. Now, the official Avatar Twitter account has offered a new look at what this process looks like. You can check out a pair of new behind-the-scenes images below.
From the set of the sequels: @JimCameron directing the actors before they dive underwater for performance capture.
Fun fact: That layer of white on the water’s surface is comprised of floating balls that prevent lights from interfering with filming underwater. pic.twitter.com/dOBwS6qOXF
— Avatar (@officialavatar) May 6, 2020
Cameron famously conceived the idea for the first Avatar about 15 years before it came out. However, he needed to wait for technology to catch up to his vision, and the sequels required even more advancement. Cameron and his team reportedly spent a year and a half developing technology to allow the underwater performance capture scenes. Cameron has made no secret of his decades-long fascination with underwater life. Fortunately, it sounds like his crew’s efforts have paid off. Cameron discussed the Avatar sequels’ underwater scenes in an interview with Yahoo last year. He also promised that they will look more realistic than Aquaman.
These scenes also required the films’ actors to undergo months of training with a free-diving instructor. According to Cameron, the younger actors playing Jake and Neytiri’s children were eventually able to hold their breath for several minutes underwater.
Avatar 2 will hit theaters on December 17, 2021.
Are you excited to watch the sequels’ underwater scenes? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: James Cameron’s Avatar: Tsu’tey’s Path