Will The 'Avatar' Sequels Shoot In 120 Frames Per Second?

Unlike some of his esteemed colleagues, James Cameron has never shied away from new technology. He's been a proponent of 4K resolution and higher frame rates for years. In fact, he's been telling people he wanted to shoot his Avatar sequels in 60 FPS since 2011 — before Peter Jackson's 48 FPS Hobbit even hit theaters.

Now it seems Cameron may go even further than that. Douglas Trumbull says Cameron's Avatar producer Jon Landau is interested in his MAGI process, which captures and displays images at 120 frames per second in 4K and 3D. Hit the jump for more details.

I know that Cameron admired Showscan [Trumbull's earlier invention of a large-format high-frame rate projection system] and that he is a huge advocate of high frame rates [HFRs]. The use of HFRs for Avatar would be very appropriate and very successful. I don't know if Cameron is interested [in using MAGI for the Avatar sequels]. He's in seclusion writing the screenplay for Avatar. I am talking to Jon Landau, and we plan to have a screening [of UFOTOG] soon.

While Cameron may not explicitly have expressed interest in MAGI, he's definitely considered using a higher frame rate and 4K for the upcoming Avatar sequels. Here's him earlier this year:

I'm studying [high frame rate]. I haven't made a final decision yet, whether the entire film will be made at high frame rate or parts of it. You know, we'll be shooting at a native resolution of probably 4K and so then there should be a lot of true 4K theaters by then as well.

For most general moviegoers, the only recent big-screen experience with HFR is Jackson's 48 FPS version of The Hobbit. The technology got severely mixed reviews, but Trumbull insists 120 FPS is a whole other beast. "The Hobbit fell victim to the 'uncanny valley'," he said. "But when you dramatically increase the frame rate to 120 fps you jump over the valley to a whole new territory."

Trumbull argues that MAGI "delivers extreme fluidity of motion and amazing clarity with no strobing, no double flickering and a viewing experience that far exceeds conventional movie quality" — though that may not be a good thing for everyone. "Michael Bay is going to make an even worse Transformers movie because there won't be any motion blur," he joked.