Jim here. Makes sense right? As stereoscopic 3D takes off so should the associated patents. And so they are. Take a look at the chart below (original Thomson Reuters PDF report available here via NY3D.org) highlighting the activity over the past 2 years vs. 2003:
Click To Enlarge...
Note the increase in patents in the television and photography industries - it is not all Hollywood is it? Not to downplay the domino effect Hollywood has had on 3D in any way - there was just more to learn and discover in these other spaces.
There is a huge upside to S3D and MarketSaw is right in the thick of it. When I decided to launch MarketSaw back in 2006 I knew there stood a very good chance that S3D was going to take off around the time of James Cameron's AVATAR - I bet the bank as it were. Not a bad gamble when you consider he does hold the modern box office record with TITANIC. Still, it was a bit of a leap and many questioned it - I was just repeating the phrase "we shall see". And now we are :-) If I had a penny for every "gimmick" comment I have heard... lol!
One obvious patent area not highlighted by this Thomson Reuters report is computing. Apple has been extremely active in this space and recently augmented their past patent filings with this one revolving around tracking "the location of a user and adjust a 3D display according to their position, creating the illusion that an on-screen object is physically present." (Thanks Joanna!). Steve Jobs knows what he is doing - no question. This is just another example of his vision. These patents will draw the user right into the screen intuitively!
Stereoscopic 3D is here to stay folks! I bet the bank on it and the fruits of the labor started over 3 years ago are now coming in. Glad you can share the journey with us!! It will be a pleasure to bring you all the exciting developments taking place in 3D over the coming years. Take January's CES in Las Vegas coming up - it will be packed to the rafters with innovations like S3DHD televisions!! Can't wait. Stay tuned!
And to whoever bought S3DHD.com - congratulations on the wise purchase! ;-) Makes me want to run out and buy S3Dnet.com, 3DHomeVideos.com and MotionPictures3D.com... oh wait a minute...
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Jim here. Makes sense right? As stereoscopic 3D takes off so should the associated patents. And so they are. Take a look at the chart below (original Thomson Reuters PDF report available here via NY3D.org) highlighting the activity over the past 2 years vs. 2003:
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Jim here. If you haven't seen AVATAR yet and this is actually spoiling something for you - get on it! We need you in the theater so that you can return again and again with your friends!
Well I knew it was planned on being in there and was surprised it wasn't even with the PG-13 rating that they wanted to achieve. Now we know that the details of the love scene between Jake's avatar and Neytiri will be on the AVATAR special edition discs :-)
And yes, they use their ponytails... the ability to mentally link with other creatures and plants when they physically connect. Should be interesting to hear Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington discuss the scene in the disc commentary too lol.
What James Cameron had to say about it: "We had it in and we cut it out. So that will be something for the special edition DVD, if you want to see how they have sex."
What Zoe Saldana had to say: "If you sync to your banshee and you’re syncing to a tree, why not sync into a person? I almost feel like you’ll have the most amazing orgasm, I guess. It was a very funny scene to shoot because there were so many technical things that sometimes you have to keep in mind that paying attention to all those might disrupt the fluidity of how a scene is supposed to take place. And because Jim was shooting for a PG-13 rating, we couldn’t move in certain directions. The motion would look a little too past the PG-13 rating standards. So it was really funny for Sam and me. We had a lot of giggles there."
Thanks to Jonmc123 for the headsup!
Sources: ReelzChannel, Inquirer.net
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Jim here. Another fascinating look at the HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON world from Dreamworks Animation. Take note of their background work - it is really starting to pay dividends for them. I suspect their characters will evolve into photo real one of these days but for now I say nice job.
Sure, I am a big Pixar fan - but DWA puts out some great stuff too. KUNG FU PANDA was awesome (just missed being 3D too). I think HTTYD will be in the same vein and well worth the look - so have another look see - this time it is Trailer B:
Look for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON in 3D theaters worldwide on March 26, 2010.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Jim here. Slashfilm has word via The Korea Times that Eric Brevig (JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, YOGI BEAR) is setting his stereoscopic sights to the Korean War with a big budget 3D movie. Apparently the script is nearing completion and preproduction will commence soon thereafter. Actual shooting will start in November of next year.
Brevig was supposedly inspired by Kang Je-gyu’s Korean War blockbuster TAE GUK GI: BROTHERHOOD OF WAR. Anticipated release window? 2012.
The more quality live action 3D the better! I know someone who will most likely be involved with this project and I will ping him for more details if they are out there. Stay tuned!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Jim here. Haha - Love it when we get the stories first guys! Makes the eyes water up and whatnot LOL.
You remember our exclusive story back on October 26, 2009 (I actually knew about this a lot earlier, but wanted to hold on to it for the right timing!) that let MarketSaw readers in on the secret that the AVATAR sequels will be taking place OFF of Pandora? Well Cameron just backed that story up 100% with comments he made to the LATimes' Geoff Boucher who - probably - came up with the question from reading us :-) Joking - I don't know that question dawned on him, but I will say that our scoop was out there since late October...
Oh and I asked Cameron point blank about this very rumor personally during my recent phone conversation (Dec 11) with him too - he politely declined to comment :-)
James Cameron (on AVATAR sequels): "We have some story ideas about how to branch out into other moons of Polyphemus and the Alpha Centauri A (ACA) solar system."
Awesome news guys! (Thanks for the headsup Ronnik - bonus points for scoop confirmations!!) Not that I was all that surprised by Cameron's comments as this exclusive scoop came directly from one of my top trusted sources. You know where to come for exclusive S3D scoops right guys? RIGHT? :-) Stay tuned. Got some more brewin...
Update 12/29/09: Avatar broke the record for biggest 2nd weekend, taking in $75.617 million. It also grossed $19.4 million on Monday, beating its previous Monday. Wow!
Michael here. The estimate for Avatar's 2nd weekend is $75 million, which is only a 2.6% drop from last weekend, and less than a million dollars behind The Dark Knight's record for biggest 2nd weekend. We'll have to see what the final numbers are, but it seems Avatar could take this record if it has a strong Sunday.
"Outstanding" is perhaps the best way of describing Avatar's box office performance. It looks like it has a very solid chance of beating Transformers 2's gross to become the domestic highest earning movie of 2009, and a billion worldwide is also in its sights.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Jim here. I am sure I speak for Michael too: Happy Holidays to all our great MarketSaw readers! You make it a privilege to keep you all updated on S3D news - Hope you all have a wonderful season and all the best to you and yours!!
May 2010 bring wondrous S3D surprises our way - AVATAR isn't a bad start is it?? :-)
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Jim here.I am talking the big one: Oscar's Best Picture. Apparently the tide has changed dramatically since AVATAR's release last week! HitFix has the inside track on what is happening in the minds of the Academy: UP IN THE AIR has a lot less altitude and AVATAR is out of this world. This is based on the recent Movie City News "The Gurus o' Gold" which include entertainment writers from some of the world's top media outlets.
Very interesting indeed. Of course AVATAR would be number one in my books too - a revolutionary film that clearly marks the beginning of S3D as well as photo real motion capture. While it is evident that Zoe Saldana cannot be up for Best Actress yet as it will take some time for the Academy members to appreciate what she (and others) will have accomplished with capturing performances - that will not hold back AVATAR. If you have seen the movie, you know how gripping and real Pandora feels and how emotionally attached you are to the characters. This is all taking place in the most visually stunning movie ever made.
Even Steven Spielberg said AVATAR is "the most evocative and amazing science-fiction movie since 'Star Wars.'"
Now that is an endorsement. Take it to the bank I say. Thanks for the heads up m4st4!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Jim here. According to The Wrap's Sharon Waxman, Director Ridley Scott "is breathing down the neck of executives at Universal to get them to approve making a 3D version of his new $200 million epic, ROBIN HOOD".
Waxman has a quote from a "knowledgeable executive" that a 3D conversion of ROBIN HOOD would be in the range of $7 to $8 million. Now I know of at least one company that charges about $100,000 a minute for conversion - so say ROBIN HOOD is 120 minutes (I have no idea), that makes a cost of about $12 million. So Waxman's source is close depending on the conversion technology company. I know others are cheaper.
You all know what my opinion is on this already. Any movie by Ridley Scott in 3D is exactly why I got into the business in the first place. A resounding YES echoed in my head when I read that. Ridley will be making THE FOREVER WAR in 3D too - so chalk him up as yet another visionary convert! Sharon is a friend of mine (I occassionally post on her site) and I will check further with her. Sounds very interesting to say the least!! :-)
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Michael here with some Avatar morsels to tide everyone over until their next viewing of Cameron's masterpiece:
1. A new website - http://www.learnnavi.org/ - has appeared that aims to teach the Na'Vi language to people interested in learning the Paul Frommer-invented tongue.
The amount of work that went into both the language and this new site is very impressive. I love what we hear of the Na'vi language in the movie and the official soundtrack, and I am in awe of anyone who manages to learn to speak it. It's a truly beautiful language. I'll have to start studying!
Thanks to m4st4 for the heads up!
2. Avatar grossed $16.4 million on Monday, which is the #3 non-Holiday Monday of all time behind Pirates 2 and The Dark Knight. The incredible word of mouth is already letting its power be felt.
3. Cameron spoke with MTV about Avatar sequel plans:
Cameron made clear that the next film won't be a prequel, recounting previous backstory, but will begin after the events of the initial movie. "We'll follow Jake and Neytiri," he confirmed.
With Avatar's resounding box office success, the sequels are inevitable. And even better, Cameron promises they won't take nearly as long to make as the first Avatar:
"So now we have Jake, we have Neytiri. Sam can step right back into it, the characters will fit them like a glove, and we'll just go on. So a lot of the start-up torque that had to be done for one movie really makes more sense if you play it out across several films."
I wonder how long now until Cameron announces his next film?
Jim here. According to a recent interview from Heat Vision with Bryan Singer - he is seriously considering either native or conversion 3D for his next upcoming project JACK THE GIANT KILLER.
JTGK is most likely based on the storyline that Jack has an uncle who is a three headed-giant, whom he tricks into giving him a sword of sharpness, boots of speed, a cloak of darkness, and a cap of knowledge.
Warner Bros. has this slated for a 2011 release. Singer will be shooting it in London.
Here is what Singer had to say about AVATAR: "It was very cool. I had seen 30-40 minutes before, but the whole thing was amazing. From the beginning, with those shots in space, I felt goosebumps. It was inspiring. I’m going back and forth, debating, on using 3D for "Jack," and it pushed me a little closer in the 3D direction. 3D is a little daunting. And then there's the decision of, do you shoot in 3D, or do you post in 3D? And how to achieve that? I have a very good visual effect supervisor on "Jack" who has a lot of 3D character experience."
So we all know that if a director likes 3D for one of his projects he may very well carry it forward to others... So that may very well mean X-MEN: FIRST CLASS! We shall see! My feelers are out :-)
Jim here. You wanted more RED cameras? You got 'em.
Jim Jannard's RED company will be launching Red Day to unveil the new EPIC and Scarlet cameras to the world! It is to take place on February 13 in Los Angeles. New accessories will also be on hand. I will have more details up asap.
They will also be showing off content shot from the new Mysterium-X sensor in the RED ONE 4K camera (already available) and screened with the new Sony 4K projector - all native resolution.
The EPIC (5K to 28K) and Scarlet (3K to 6K @ 120fps - 150fps burst) have been delayed somewhat (they were expected in 2009) but are HIGHLY anticipated. Why? Low resolution to dollar cost. They also use a modular system that is supposedly flexible enough to allow multiple configurations for different shooting environments - INCLUDING Stereoscopic 3D. :-) They inherit the affordability that is practically a mission statement for the RED company. Nothing like affordable, yet well made cameras to kick start the S3D revolution.
I have been waiting for this for some time now! RED is really pushing the whole digital cinematography industry forward - look at that top end resolution of 28K! It will be a while until theater projectors can handle so much information, but we will see it someday. The more important thing to me is the 3D configuration that will now be available.
I am impressed with the list of movies that have been made with RED cameras since I started watching them! They now count: THE LOVELY BONES, DISTRICT 9, GAMER, THE INFORMANT!, THE BOOK OF ELI, KNOWING, MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D, JUMPER, CHE, BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, ANTI-CHRIST, ANGELS & DEMONS and TV shows such as ER and SOUTHLAND.
Their tech is proven and affordable. Makes me want to jump in too. Hmmmm... Is it time to unleash my projects under development?
Monday, December 21, 2009
**SAME DAY UPDATE: Comingsoon.net reports that Fox's official number is $77,025,481 which is just short of the Will Smith thriller. It is essentially a dead heat between the two but looks like AVATAR might be in position #2. Bah.
Jim here. I knew the weather was letting up a little bit and it seems many others believed so too and helped push AVATAR past I AM LEGEND to the top December box office opening weekend of all time!
To further ice the cake, AVATAR is an original property. Get this: AVATAR dropped practically NOTHING from Saturday to Sunday (only 3%!) and is experiencing tremendously powerful word of mouth.
Fox is confident that the record will hold for the final official tally. AVATAR opened on 3,452 screens with 2,023 of them being 3D.
The revised number for worldwide box office take now stands at an amazing $236.5 million - despite the massive winter storm in northeastern US and the European deep freeze. IMAX theaters also broke records with AVATAR besting TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN by a margin of $13.6 million to $11.3 million.
The winter storms will only solidify the legs of AVATAR and you will see continued masses flocking to AVATAR as the weather improves and then of course the holidays are upon us. Looking very good guys!! Love it!
Jim here. Got some rather bad news for S3D fans out there. I have it from a very good source (one very much in the know) that IRON MAN 2 will NOT be made in stereoscopic 3D. It was being considered back in September of this year.
I am VERY disappointed to say the least as I thought the *FIRST* one should have been made in S3D - let alone the second. I think Marvel is wasting a valuable opportunity to get this done and of course they are leaving a lot of money on the box office table by not doing it as well.
I am digging for more info on this but from what I can tell you - it is a no go for 3D. I do know that IRON MAN 2 is not the ONLY property that Marvel is considering for S3D! More when I get it.
Jim here. Yep, that's the word courtesy of the LATimes - 3D!! Sam Worthington was quoted as saying they are going back to shoot more scenes for CLASH OF THE TITANS as Warner Bros came up with more money for them. "We're going to be shooting more scenes in January, so we're going to be right up against it -- the movie comes out in March."
Worthington continues: "There were some creaky parts but they are the parts that we knew were creaky and that we knew were going to be creaky going into it. The studio is also letting us add some gods and scenes. And they're talking about making the movie a 3D film."
Now this is an interesting turn of events and normally someone in my network lets me know about developments like this before it hits other media, but I am pleasantly surprised! Time is very tight though. Let's hope it is true - I am digging deeper into this for you. Stay tuned!!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Jim here. LOVE this one - had to put it up for you (apologies Mr. Cameron, but you had the perfect comeback line for him despite a purely random question).
Cameron did not break a smile either - he was dead serious and I love it!! Check it out:
Now that is cool. :-)
Saturday, December 19, 2009
UPDATE 12/20/09: Michael here. According to Fox, Avatar has grossed $73 million domestically and $159.18 million internationally (not including Japan, China, Italy, Poland, Argentina, and Uruguay, in which Avatar has not yet opened), for a worldwide debut of $232.18 million. This is the highest original content (non-sequel, non-franchise) opening weekend ever.
Michael here. AVATAR has grossed $27 million on Friday from 3,452 locations, according to Fox. This number, which includes $3.5 million from midnight showings, puts Avatar on track for an $80 million weekend, which would be the best December opening weekend ever (ahead of I Am Legend's $77 million).
The heavy snow on the east coast may slow things down a bit for Saturday grosses, but the movie is so mind blowingly amazing that I am sure any lost money will be made up for shortly by positive word of mouth.
The real test will be how the movie holds during the upcoming week, and of course next weekend, when it faces Sherlock Holmes. The long window in which it will be playing on IMAX will help it's final gross tremendously, as will the lack of competition over the coming months, aside from Holmes.
I can't wait to see how Avatar does overseas too - I expect it to be huge.
What are your predictions for Avatar's final domestic and worldwide cumes?
Friday, December 18, 2009
Jim here. Where do I begin? How about my superlatives: "PERFECT 3D - AVATAR simply pulls you into Pandora." "AVATAR is this generation's STAR WARS, but far, far better." "Cameron delivers his magnum opus". "AVATAR is easily the best movie I have ever seen." "This is a cultural event unlike any other movie in history".
**WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS** You have been warned! This post is for those of you who are on the fence (very few according to our readers poll) - if you want a pristine viewing of AVATAR do NOT read further.
For me, AVATAR breaks down into six KEY moments that were make or break. So important were these scenes that if they had failed, the whole movie would have blown up around them. There are many elements that Cameron delivered in spades for AVATAR and they were all important and contributed to this experience. However without these select scenes, they would have been all for not. Here then, is my list in order of these hits (no misses) and man did they ever hit!
1. The number one scene that affected me? Easy. Neytiri jumps through a portable lab station window and saves Jake from the atmosphere of Pandora: SPEECHLESS. I was absolutely FLOORED with what they had the audacity to attempt and the adroitness to achieve. Talk about cinematic magic. If this scene had failed in being photo real and maintaining suspension of disbelief, the whole movie would have been lost for me. Instead I was in shock. My mouth was open. My eyes were tearing up. A ten foot Navi was holding a small, frail and disabled human in her hands - simply dwarfing him AND THE EMOTION WAS THERE! She was real! I **COULD NOT** imagine this happening ever. I can often tell where a movie is going early on - but I had not allowed myself to think that this situation could occur simply because I have never seen this type of thing pulled off ever before without blowing the whole experience for me. I trusted Cameron not to ruin it. Therefore nothing like this could be in it. WRONG. It was vivid. Their love was at such a primal, deep level that crossed all sorts of boundaries that I had never considered before. STUNNING achievement.
2. Neytiri again! This time her emotional outburst at their Navi Home Tree when she learns of Jake's original betrayal intentions. Photorealism has been achieved. Neytiri simply is. The emotion is real and the scene delivers. Without this performance, AVATAR would have lost the soul of the movie - Neytiri is vulnerable. This powerful and beautiful creature was hurt by the actions of a human and NO ONE in the theater doubted it for a second. AVATAR's characters were evolving unlike no other movie before... these creatures do not exist - yet this was real!
3. Quaritch's final AMP Suit battle: I can tell Cameron loved this one. His signature is all over it. The giant AMP Suit knife? Pure genius. It is innovative manipulation like this that will have fans coming back again and again and yet again to see this masterpiece. I know I will be. AND This scene immediately preceded my number one up above so these several combined minutes were like a gift from Santa - when I still believed. If there is any doubt as to who the master of filmmaking is, they just haven't seen AVATAR yet. Spielberg is there too of course, but Cameron always delivers. Trust is important.
4. Jake taming his Banshee. Sheer adrenaline! I felt like I was right there with him on that precipitous ledge - and when the Banshee submitted, the joy was overwhelming. If this scene's photorealism or performance had failed, so would the whole movie - because what would be the point of immersing yourself in a clearly fake world? It needs to be real and it was. Further, the whole notion of physically linking with beasts and plant life begs you to try to imagine what it would feel like to do so! This movie is all about restoring that little child in you that still wants to believe in new things the first time you see or imagine them.
5. The final battle scene - not when the Na'vi were shooting arrows at the helos, but after when they took to the air with the other clans. The immense scale of this battle is epic to say the least. There is SO much going on in any given frame that you cannot possibly absorb it all in one viewing. Superb action at it's finest. You will cheer for the Na'vi!!
6. Climbing the floating mountains: Visually you have never seen anything like this before. An innovative idea presented in staggering proportions all while holding the grip of emotion for Jake's character as he ascends the heights. Watching that scene was like discovering Disney World for the first time as a child. I can't say this enough times - we have something new and original here that has been done flawlessly! You NEED to see this movie.
And I can't let this review go by without mentioning lighting and water. You're kidding you say? No I am not. AVATAR's lighting is impeccable. It held the movie together so undetectably that I had to remember to take note of it as often as I could. The 3D and lighting in some scenes created this immense joy of being alive - ON PANDORA. Sure it is one dangerous place, but gloriously spectacular. There were NO scenes that were too dark for 3D - something I am weary about. And the water scenes? I felt totally immersed in that water with Jake after the Thanator chase. 3D helps a great deal too of course - especially with water. Cameron and his team delivers the goods. WELL DONE.
So what could have been done better? Precious little. Sure there could have been some foundation laid about future Earth and more on the RDA corporation, but in the end it was unnecessary and made it feel that much more easier to empathize with Jake who was new to Pandora and the business world too. I will say that I think too many scenes were exposed in marketing AVATAR for my liking - but then again you CAN self police the situation and I did so. Even with that though my inner monologue was begging for new shots during those few borrowed scenes for the awareness campaign. AVATAR should be seen in pristine fashion if possible (having not seen any clips). I have very vivid memories from the movie - the 3D delivered without a doubt. Cameron told me he positions the S3D camera's convergence "where you are looking. Period." I agree - the effect is astounding and is so good you forget it is there after a short while.
I could go on and on about AVATAR. Seriously. I could write pages. I think this is the best movie I have ever seen and frankly the best movie of all time. I am not exaggerating. The young people out there should feel a great amount of pride to "own" this movie for your generation - mine was STAR WARS. Go see AVATAR - it is your Hollywood given right. Remember this moment and share it with friends - these event movies rarely happen.
What scenes made the movie for you??
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Jim here. There are some SPOILERS in these - be careful. I have a couple of AVATAR reviews from MarketSaw readers down under where they enjoyed seeing the movie earlier than us North American folk! Take a look:
AVATAR has a soul (Mike Retter)
I saw AVATAR yesterday. It was a boiling 40 degrees Celsius in Australia. I caught a bus and train to get there. I spent months on a forum before that. Incremental stops included a scriptment, stills, a teaser, a foot, AVATAR day and a full trailer. Now released I have had many reviews to read which have been mostly very positive.
It is a marvel to watch. The opening scenes are very sci-fi with a glimpse of low gravity aboard a space-craft. Sam Worthington fills us in with a short narration. He is taking over his diseased brother's role in the AVATAR program. These opening scenes are actually among the most effective 3D in the film, pulling you into this story, tracking shots putting you into the steps of the characters.
I jump ahead, like the film, to The world of Pandora which is lush with earthly life as seen through pulp fantasies. The rendering of this world is terrific. The life and activity is in the plants as much as it is the animals. Wonder is generated with this ambitious creation. Cameron has lifted the bar. The CG is the best I have ever seen. Everything you have heard is true. The 3D enhances this with leaves falling and swaying branches life-like in the foreground.
The realization of the Navi is also ambitious. They are CG but there are many moments that make you think they are real and in terms of the story they are more than good enough to propel the narrative with strong emotional content.
I went into this film knowing mostly everything within it. Hours of reading, some from the treatment and pages of the recent reviews. It is very much a family film like "Nealz" said in his IMDB review. There is a moment where one of the ferocious animal species that earlier were attacking Jake are seen with a litter, the children in the audience loved the cute pups! The spiritual side of this film is much better than expected. It is in fact a beautiful story. The structure is classical filmmaking but with amazingly new scope in CGI to express grand images. An epic
The journey that Jake takes through Pandora is lovely. He is taken in by the Navi and explores their culture, language and habitat. Neytiri, the female Navi he meets while lost, helps him through this journey. This is a love story of both soul mates and with a wider picture. Existential connections with the natural world. Personal destiny.
I had tears in this film. I tried to hold them back but by the roll of credits they came. This is a movie that I have anticipated for so long. I think the ingredients of its story and my connection to this films production gave me a very emotional response. I cant imagine this disapointing any of the fans on the board. Keeping in mind that it is a family film but delivered everything I wanted.
Expect a special edition. After AVATAR is a hit, a special edition will make its way to the cinema. I can understand why they would cut the earth scenes and it works. The actual film seems pretty brisk and it could also have more padding out. You want more of it and that is a triumph for this type of film running two and a half hours. It is a good balance because at two and a half hours AVATAR is aimed directly at the cinema going audience. Broadly appealing with elements for everyone. My earlier prediction of a billion or more world-wide seems safe.
I dont want to go on about visuals too much but the lovely shots of the natural wonderland of glowing life in still 3D shots is magical. Something to take kids to see. Floating tiny neon life jellyfish their way through the air with grace. The monkey-like extra-limbed creatures with the peeping eyes flock through the forest quickly. The creature design is done in a clever way with the motion of a living thing. The action is over the top, epic, frenetic and a new take on the battle sequence.
James Cameron didnt stuff this up. He probably pressed the studio way beyond their comfort zone with the time, money and effort that has gone into this. Sam Worthington is excellent casting choice. Sigourney Weaver adds frank reason. Stephen Lang chews the scenery as the ultimate you know what. Zoe Saldana is beautiful as Jake's guide into this world.
I went to the cinema and it was a very hot day. By the time I left the cinema, the streets were wet with rain. A warm humidity was thick in the air. Lightning splashed my walk to the train station with white light. I honestly wondered if It was my time to be struck down with a bolt of electricity from the sky.
Watch this film. It is destined to become a childhood classic to many little-ones too young to be on this forum. It will be talked about at high school by male and females as spectacular. It will be watched multiple times by fans. I loved it but beyond my appreciation for the film itself, is the the message of love permeating from this movie that I hope enters the zeitgeist like elements of Cameron's other stories have. At its heart is a soul. AVATAR is an achievement in many technical departments but I wouldn't say the story is deficient. It is a beautiful experience and the story is surprisingly what I loved most.
Believe the hype.
AVATAR Review By Andrew Woods
Andrew helps run the SD&A Conference
I just got back from seeing one of the first public 3D screenings of AVATAR here in Australia. (surprisingly two and a half days before the USA release)
It was Fantastic! The story, the quality of the CGI, the 3D. Wonderful!
I saw it in digital 3D IMAX.
I'm going to restrict my comments here to the stereoscopic 3D technical aspects of the film.
I'll also comment on the stereoscopic live action and stereoscopic CGI sections separately.
The stereoscopic CGI sections were spot on - flawless from a stereoscopic alignment perspective.
The amount of depth in the CGI scenes and the choice of ZPD (Zero Parallax Distance) were well chosen (most of the time).
The CGI scenes were glorious to see in 3D - too many great 3D moments to mention.
Unfortunately the live-action stereoscopic scenes were not so good.
My biggest complaint is the amount of depth and excessive amounts of positive parallax at the infinity point - in many of the shots.
The worst scene for this was in the zero gravity arrival scene at the beginning of the movie. The infinity positive parallax was extreme.
The worst live action scenes would probably look great on a 50" 3D Plasma, but are an eye stretcher on a digital IMAX 3D screen.
This is a real pity - the company which filmed the stereoscopic live action scenes has filmed lots of 3D, and should know better.
I intentionally sat in the back of the theatre because when I saw the 3D trailer for this movie 3 weeks ago (in REAL D 3D) I saw a lot of vertical misalignment in the live-action scenes - I am very happy to report that most of this was fixed for the final release (at least the IMAX 3D version). There were still a handful of scenes with some minor vertical misalignment (e.g. where Jake does his first video log), but on the whole the vertical stereoscopic alignment of the film was spot-on.
One thing that is still an open question in my mind is whether the 3D projection system for this screening was aligned correctly. What makes me say this is that the end credits were shown with positive parallax and not at screen distance (with zero screen parallax). In my experience most 3D movies have their end credits shown at zero screen parallax - so that patrons don't need to wear glasses to see the credits. The image also receded more on the right than it did on the left. The vertical alignment of the projection system appeared spot on across the whole image though. If the projection system was adding positive parallax to the movie, this would have contributed to the live action 3D problems I mentioned above, but it would not have been the main contributor.
In one of the reviews of the movie I read they referred to the cautious use of 3D - except for one scene in the beginning which was there just to show that Cameron could do in-your-face 3D too. I presumed they meant a screen piercing moment with something protruding into theatre space - but I didn't see one. I wonder if they were talking about the zero gravity scene I mentioned previously with the extreme (divergent) infinity positive parallax.
Oh, and one stereoscopic VFX shot that didn't quite work - the insertion of Jake's 3D video log into one of the laboratory screens (towards the end of the movie). Sorry guys, you can't rotate a stereoscopic image and expect it to still be viewable. ;-)
Some of the great 3D moments: in the control room with the multiple volumetric 3D screens at various operator consoles, the 3D photographs stuck to a glass fridge door, looking over the shoulders of the Na'vi warriors, looking over the shoulders of the humans in the final pre-battle pep talk, lots of the scenes on Pandora at ground level, and many more.
Story rating: 4.5 / 5
3D quality rating: 4 / 5 (let down by the live action scenes)
Go See it!
Editor's note: The SD&A show features a keynote presentation by Bob Whitehill from PIXAR and also a presentation from Tara Turner from Disney discussing aspects of Beauty and the Beast 3D. THANKS GUYS for the reviews! I look forward to posting mine VERY soon (finally seeing the midnight showing tonight!!)
Jim here. I don't mean to bump Michael's blue carpet talk with Cameron but this can't wait!
The Blu-ray Disc Association is DONE with its task of standardizing stereoscopic 3D Blu-ray content!!
1080p will still be the top resolution, however there are many changes:
1. ANY type of S3D technology can be used with it (active shutter, polarized, etc).
2. It will be backwards compatible with existing 2D content: Existing Blu-ray players will be able to the new S3D content and display it on their 2D setups in 2D (in 2D of course). This allows for the distribution on only one format of disc for ALL audiences.
3. The Sony PS3 console will be able to play Blu-ray S3D content in 3D.
The specification enforces the use of a Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec (coder-decoder) which is an extension to the H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported in Blu-ray players today.
Further, the spec allows for the integration of 3D menu systems and subtitles.
The final spec will be published very soon and should make for a VERY interesting Consumer Electronics Show in January! I can't wait to see what is in store for 2010 - S3D is taking off baby!!
Avatar's LA Premiere! Cameron Talks Higher Framerates (Avatar 2 at 48 or 60 fps?)...Plus Who Would Win in a Fight: a Na'vi or an Alien?
Michael here. I managed to snag a spot on the blue carpet pressline at tonight's LA premiere of Avatar, and got to ask Cameron his thoughts on what lies beyond 3D as the next technological breakthrough in moviemaking:
So it looks very possible that Avatar 2 will be shot in gloriously smooth 48 or 60 frames per second!
Someone also asked him about who would win in a fight: a Na'vi or an Alien. Watch Cameron's answer below:
I hope Cameron manages to get the digital projector companies and exhibitors on board the higher-framerate bandwagon. It would be wonderful to see the kind of action we see in Avatar, but as smooth as real life and without judder and motion blur.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Jim here. AVATAR is rolling in it. London's British Film Institute has sold over $1 million in advance ticket sales for AVATAR at its IMAX theater alone. The BFI IMAX has sold 47,487 tickets which according to Fox is more than any other outlet in the world across all formats.
The theater is staying open 24 hours a day to handle the demand. FYI: THE DARK KNIGHT took in 37, 929 advance seats last year in advance of the movie.
Nice sign indeed! Get those tickets fast!!
Source: Screen Daily
Jim here. Right off - let me share with you the best part of the whole THR clip: Quentin Tarantino swipes half of Peter Jackson's glass of water; the look on Jackson's face is immeasurable!! (at about the 2 minute mark)
Other than that obvious piece of funny business, the group of six directors have a great conversation and well worth the time to watch it:
Next, you can click through here and here to see a couple other clips from the same table - and I will say that Reitman comes across here as a very charming director and clearly influenced by his father (not a bad thing). Would have loved to hear Cameron and Reitman discuss 3D though :-)
Interesting how Tarantino is not interested AT ALL in digital filmmaking and wants to stick with his 35mm. Probably not that surprising though as he is a purist and loves the nostalgia of film. Good luck at the awards guys!
Jim here. Got a new trailer for you from Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND! Rife with exploding colors and imagery, it looks like a superlative Burton work of art.
The combination of Burton and the characters of Walt Disney make for a powerful combination - I would expect future collaborations.
I keep looking for a reason not to like Johnny Depp's performances but each and every time he wows me. Again he looks great - this time as the Mad Hatter.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND is being converted to 3D in post so I am VERY curious to see what this is going to look like indeed. I will be making CLOSE comparisons to the live action scenes from AVATAR as it was shot in native 3D. Should be interesting!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Michael here with James Cameron's reaction to the Golden Globe nominations and the universal praise Avatar has been getting from critics and movie fans:
Also check out the music video for "I See You", which marries lots of clips (some new!) from Avatar with shots of Leona's performance. It's a great video, and I wouldn't be surprised to see this song catching on in the mainstream, a'la "My Heart Will Go On.":
Jim here - outside of what Michael and I will be posting on AVATAR (of course!) here is what I believe to be the best video review of AVATAR to date.
I have watched The Totally Rad Show many times before, but this time it is something special...
Listen to these guys describe AVATAR and what you will experience during your first screening - they do an outstanding job:
Awesome or what? :-) If you don't have your tix in hand right now - what's goin' on!!?
Thanks JamesCameronsAvatard for the heads up on this one!
**SAME DAY EDIT: See below!!
Jim here. More awards!!
Just got a tweet from @redcarpet and it seems AVATAR has been nominated for Golden Globes -
BEST PICTURE NODS:
THE HURT LOCKER
UP IN THE AIR
BEST ANIMATED FILM:
THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (3D)
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG
Kathyrn Bigelow THE HURT LOCKER
James Cameron AVATAR
Clint Eastwood INVICTUS
Jason Reitman UP IN THE AIR
Quentin Tarantino INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Michael Giacchino UPMarvin Hamlisch THE INFORMANT!
James Horner AVATAR
Abel Korzeniowski A SINGLE MAN
Karen Ocarter Burwell WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
“CINEMA ITALIANO” — NINE, Music & Lyrics by: Maury Yeston“I WANT TO COME HOME” — EVERYBODY'S FINE, Music & Lyrics by: Paul McCartney
“I WILL SEE YOU” — AVATAR, Music by: James Horner, Simon Franglen; Lyrics by: James Horner, Simon Franglen, Kuk Harrell
“THE WEARY KIND” — CRAZYHEART, Music & Lyrics by: Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett
“WINTER” — BROTHERS, Music by: U2; Lyrics by: Bono
See entire list right here!
That's four 3D movies nominated in the best film categories! And AVATAR gets 4 noms! Awesome work guys... :-)
Monday, December 14, 2009
New York Critics Explode With Awards - AVATAR wins NYFCO; AVATAR Premiere Press Conference AND Why Jason Reitman Is Full Of It...
**UPDATE: Wow - ever have one of those days? The New York Film Critics ONLINE and the New York Film Critics CIRCLE *both* decided to announce their winners practically at the same time! LOL! So AVATAR won with the NYFCO and THE HURT LOCKER won with NYFCC...
Jim here. We knew this would happen and should continue to happen for AVATAR - The New York Film Critics ONLINE have selected James Cameron's AVATAR as the years best picture!!
Two picture awards went to 3D movies: AVATAR and Pixar's UP (Best Animation). Had we only had a 3D entry for Best Foreign Film we would have had the trifecta. Next year...
I also like their other choices like Kathyrn Bigelow for Best Director (THE HURT LOCKER) **although Cameron should have prevailed here - no doubt in my mind** and Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS).
The other top movies cited for 2009 include ADVENTURELAND, FANTASTIC MR. FOX, THE HURT LOCKER, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, THE MESSENGER, PRECIOUS, A SERIOUS MAN, TWO LOVER, UP, and UP IN THE AIR (Jason Reitman).
I also want to say publicly that I find it in incredibly bad taste for director Jason Reitman to say about AVATAR: "I have to admit that I don't like the new Avatar trailer. Everyone likes the new one. It's the one everyone gets excited about. I'm like, "I want to love this movie SO bad." I'm the biggest Cameron fan. I love every one of his films. I read all this hype about the new trailer. I went and watched and I was like, "Oh. It still seems pretty goofy to me."
Then he continues his bashing of 3D: "I guess so. But I don't like 3D. I'm almost apt to see the movie in 2D."
So let me be clear here - everyone is entitled to an opinion, absolutely. But when you make statements like AVATAR is goofy and I hate 3D; I am going to see it in 2D... and you are a director that is supposedly up for awards the same year as Cameron - you come off as being very arrogant and selfish. If he had stopped at saying I have yet to be convinced of 3D and let's let the movie speak for itself as I have not seen it yet - then he comes across as being truthful, yet diplomatic. Instead Reitman comes across as stunningly ignorant and self-serving. He is doing himself no favors here - he has to think before he talks.
HeyUGuys posted a nice video of the AVATAR press conference that some of the cast gave at the blue carpet ceremonies in London. And, yes, Worthington drops the 'F" bomb at the end of the clip - gotta love how candid that guy is. I would not expect, nor want it any other way:
Congratulations to EVERYONE involved with AVATAR! Cameron, Landau, Horner, Fox, cast and crew and of course the immeasurable talent of Weta and the other CG magicians. Winning the NYFCO award is just the first step and I wish you best of luck at the box office.
And Jason Reitman... I can pretty much guarantee you NOT winning anything talking like that.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Jim here. I really like how these guys put this short piece together and you should really see it: Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington and Jim Cameron sit down and discuss AVATAR. (Hopefully there will more in a series of these! - Thanks A@ronW for the heads up)
Cameron is a master of storytelling and he really has all of his ducks lined up for Pandora. He personally designed the Thanator and heavily influenced the other creature designs, like what was originally the Banshee Ray. Of course he wrote AVATAR.
But he doesn't stop at just being an artist, writer and driving creativity. He also operates the cameras, applies makeup and of course everything else that a writer, producer and director does.
They obviously have a lot of pride in what they have accomplished and are anxious for the world to share in it...
Yes - I would imagine it would hurt if an AMP suit stepped on your foot! Kinda like what AVATAR is going to do to TWILIGHT very soon! :-)
**UPDATE: The other Vermont 3D theaters are: Essex Outlets Cinema, which is 60.5 miles from Killington & Rutland, has a 3D screen. The Essex Outlet Cinemas is 7.9 miles from Burlington. Majestic 10, 6.9 miles from Burlington and 57.5 from Killington & Rutland, also has a 3D screen. It is within 2-3 miles of the Essex Outlets Cinema. This is clarify that Vermont has had 3D for awhile now.
Jim here. Got an excited email from a MarketSaw reader (thanks Tim!) that Vermont has its first rural 3D theater. Rutland County will be home to the screen (one of nine in the complex) which is run by Flagship Cinemas out of Cambridge, MA. The original operator was Cinema North.
The theater is scheduled to be opened on December 18 (coincidence? I think not. AVATAR!) and it is being fully renovated right down to the seats, carpets and drapes. It is essentially a new movieplex.
I love good stories like this one. There is a special feeling in small town theaters (especially around the holidays) and hopefully Movieplex 9 retains some of it - best of luck with the launch! If you know of a small town theater going 3D - let me know!
Source: Brent Curtis, Rutland Herald
Friday, December 11, 2009
Jim here. I had the great pleasure to speak with James Cameron today! I can hear in his voice that he is so pleased to have AVATAR delivered to the fans - and he let us in on a few news items too...
We have been waiting a long time for this movie and the light is at the end of the tunnel. Stereoscopic 3D will never be the same again. Hollywood will never be the same again!
Cameron is a class act. Can you believe I haven't see it yet? He couldn't believe it either, but I do not live in a major center so... I will be seeing it with you guys at the midnight showing on the 17th :-) Michael gets the goods this time around!
Lets go through the interview and I will give you a brief explanation at various points:
1:15 Cameron had only seen AVATAR end to end in 3D at a screening just before this press tour! He had some questions in his mind: Did it even work? Eyestrain? :-)
5:35 Performance Capture - some directors treat it as a stage play, which does not work for him. Cameron worked out coverage blocks at the moment of shooting - master, etc. He figured out angles later. Up to 12 HD cameras for reference. Wide shots for placement and editing.
10:00 When Cameron gave Weta the edited template (his cameras cut together with stereo space) - the stereo space numbers never changed! (the numbers that make up where convergence is, etc). Weta used them exactly - "...that's what really saved us" - they had a 1000 shots come in the door in the last 2 or 3 months of post. There was absolutely no time to re-render all that for stereo. All the stereo was worked out a year earlier! "Worked flawlessly".
I find this amazing! Cameron has pulled off a shrewd trick here saving time and money by thinking ahead.
10:35 Cameron addresses why some directors are hesitant to jump into 3D and why they can and should. He talks about the culture of 3D and getting the right S3D people to surround you on a project. Cameron's crew was able to take the stylistic cues from the first half of AVATAR's templates and simply apply them to the second half - makes it much easier on him who then just does stereo reviews and signs off on them - or with minor tweaks.
12:45 The critical thing with AVATAR was to make sure the live action was going to cut well (as opposed to the CG). Just thinking in 3D - you can change the stereo space in CG at any time, but you can't change it once you have shot it with a S3D camera rig. The trick is to make sure "anything will cut with anything" - and he means anything and anywhere in ANY shot.
13:50 Cameron throws out all the stereo rules that have ever been used! He came up with a whole new "stereo aesthetic" for AVATAR: "You put the convergence where you are looking. Period". This is an entirely new way of shooting 3D and it enables effective cutting. What it does NOT do is put the convergence at the screen plane where objects come flying out at you. That, is "bullshit".
15:10 Cameron avoids discussing whether AVATAR 2 and 3 takes place on or off Pandora. :-)
15:40 Sam Worthington is signed up for sequels "by his excitement; he wants to do another one". Zoe Saldana wants to do another one too. Cameron realizes option deals are subject to many conditions.
16:20 On BATTLE ANGEL: "I am not even sure that I am going to do that film". And he has no one in mind for casting.
Oh well - that is disappointing news. However maybe it is because AVATAR 2 and 3 are heating up big time now! :-)
16:50 On THE DIVE: "As a next film, THE DIVE is a more likely candidate". He doesn't want to do another 4 year movie right away and this drama is more immediate.
Can't wait this project! Huge potential here.
17:00 On SANCTUM AND FANTASTIC VOYAGE and anything else he wants to produce: "I am kinda out of the producing business. I don't like that - it is just not satisfying enough." SANCTUM is being done to illustrate the power of 3D in a modestly budgeted drama. Only 10% of SANCTUM will be underwater with much of it in caves and it is a survival drama.
Looking forward to this!
18:00 Cameron is still co-investigator on the MARS ROVER mastcam and will become more active on that after AVATAR. Also, his work on that doesn't really start in earnest until it is on the surface of Mars and sending back imagery.
This last one (amongst others) was Michael's and we both share an intense interest in astronomy!
Special thanks to Jim Cameron and Fox for setting this up. Looking forward to more! :-) I wish I had more time for this call. I was supposed to keep it to 15 minutes but as you can see 18 minutes came and went like it was nothing. I had many more questions for him but I think I hit the more pressing ones for us :-)