James Cameron Wants To Film 'Avatar 2' In 60 Frames Per Second, Improve Projection Quality And 3D

With James Cameron out doing press for the cave-diving thriller Sanctum, we can probably expect a steady stream of small updates about the Avatar sequels and films like Battle Angel and (should anyone remember to ask about it) The Dive. Here's your latest Avatar 2 update, in which the director says that the key to improving the 3D presentation for his first Pandora sequel will lie in part with improving theater standards.

Speaking to the Wall St. Journal, the director said,

For 'Avatar 2,' what I'm most interested in is getting theaters to up their light level... And we want to shoot the movie at 48 or maybe even 60 frames a second, and display it at that speed, which will eliminate a lot of the motion artifacts that I think are causing some people problems... People talk about feeling sick or something like that, and I think it's because the image is strobing. That's a function of the 24 frame frame rate, which has actually got nothing to do with 3D. It's just made more apparent because the 3D is otherwise such an enhanced, realistic image, that all of a sudden you're aware of this funky strobing which you weren't aware of.

Two issues here. One is the light level, and I think even enthusiasts of 3D would agree that projection light level is something that needs to be addressed. That's one of the issues that keeps Christopher Nolan away from 3D, and other directors have mentioned it as a big stumbling block as well. In my own experience relatively low brightness has marred presentations of several films from Coraline to The Last Airbender. (Not there there was much help for the latter, but it was rather dim.) There are theaters that project 3D well, and with a brightness level that is appropriate, but there are a lot of murky 3D shows out there, too, and when the 3D is bad to begin with (ahem, The Last Airbender) then things go from bad to downright unwatchable really fast.

And then there's the frame rate issue. I can't speak with any authority to that aspect, and I"m curious to see how those comments are received. I know this isn't the first time the director has mentioned shooting the Avatar sequels at a higher frame rate, and I'd be curious to hear from people who've seen presentations of 3D projected at a higher frame rate than the normal cinema 24.