avatar sequels underwater motion capture

Avatar 2 will finally hit movie theaters in 2020, 11 years after the first Avatar was released in 2009 and three years after the great SNL sketch poking fun at Avatar‘s font. The primary reason for the decade-long delay? The technology required to film director James Cameron‘s ambitious vision of a world submerged in water didn’t quite exist yet. So they invented it.

Cameron had been hinting for years about his grand plan to set the Avatar sequels primarily underwater, and shoot them using underwater motion-capture technology — but no one quite believed him until shooting for all four (!) sequels finally went underway this fall. Now that Cameron is in the full swing of production for Avatars 2 and 3, he can give us the scoop on what it’s like to shoot with this newfangled technology. Long story short: it’s really hard.

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