'Alita: Battle Angel': Here's How Robert Rodriguez And James Cameron Used Performance Capture On Set

James Cameron's experience using performance capture for 2009's Avatar convinced him that Alita: Battle Angel would be possible, and in the ten years since, the technology has dramatically improved. 20th Century Fox has released a cool behind the scenes video about the techniques that were used on the set to capture star Rosa Salazar's performance in Alita, and the video is much more detailed than the typical fluff featurettes that tend to accompany studio releases like this.

Alita Battle Angel Performance Capture

As you can see, Cameron and his longtime producer Jon Landau explain how the production installed cameras on the actual sets instead of asking Salazar to perform everything separately in a green-screened room. She's a promising young actress (if you're not familiar with her, watch the underrated FXX comedy Man Seeking Woman), but allowing her to inhabit the same physical spaces as her fellow actors makes all the difference in the world.

That technique will be familiar to anyone who read about my visit to VFX house Digital Domain last year to see how they created Thanos for Avengers: Infinity War. There's a ton of additional info in that article, but here's the video for those of you who may have missed it:

Alita is receiving mixed-to-positive reviews so far, and I'd encourage you to read our own Hoai-Tran Bui's full review right here.

From visionary filmmakers James Cameron (AVATAR) and Robert Rodriguez (SIN CITY), comes ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, an epic adventure of hope and empowerment. When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate doctor who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious history while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories. But it is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city come after Alita that she discovers a clue to her past – she has unique fighting abilities that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family and the world she's grown to love.

Alita: Battle Angel arrives in theaters on February 14, 2019.