Rumor Killer: James Cameron On Avatar Concept Art

Last week conceptual artwork which was supposedly from James Cameron's 3D sci-fi epic film Avatar "leaked" online. We hoped and prayed that it wasn't real, as it wasn't too impressive (actually it looked a lot like Angelina Jolie as Grendel's mother in Beowulf). Well Cameron e-mailed the guys at AintItCool to clear the air and dispel the rumor:

"You recently posted some artwork of a supposed Na'vi character. Don't know where you got it but it's spurious. I've never seen that piece of art. We had a lot of free-ranging conceptual stuff in the early days of design two and a half years ago, and it might be something that was done then but not shown to me, but it is definitely not remotely our actual character design. Aside from two legs, two arms and a tail, it doesn't have any features in common with our final designs. If I had to guess I'd say it's a piece of fan art based on the description of the Na'vi from the old treatment which was leaked twelve years ago. That description is obsolete relative to the shooting script, since things have changed a lot over the years."

Cameron also gave details on a new 3D camera system that he developed specifically for this film:

"The first couple of weeks we were still coming up to speed, figuring out how to control the interocular and convergence for all different types of shooting situations. But we've got that dialed in now. We've reworked the camera software on the fly, using a set of look-up curves we wrote ourselves, so now the cameras basically go to a default interocular setting automatically based on focal length and subject distance — a kind of "auto-stereo" — which is working really well. I can be hand-holding a shot, and decide to crank in on the zoom in the middle of the shot, completely unrehearsed, and our system compensates instantly. It's definitely the most advanced stereo camera system in existence. And the result is enveloping stereo with zero eye strain or unwanted viewing artifacts. You feel like you're there."

You can read Cameron's full letter on AICN.