AVATAR, 3D, and the Future of the Film Industry

Quaritch driving AVATAR represents a quantum leap forward in film production. The technological achievements made by James Cameron have influenced a new generation of 3D filmmaking, one that seeks to entertain by immersing the viewer in fantastic new worlds that burst from the screen.

Guest post by Ken Talbot

James Cameron films have always represented a leap forward in the ongoing advancement of films. He's a tech-savvy filmmaker who pushes boundaries and looks for new ways to engage viewers. With AVATAR, Cameron has taken a technology many thought obsolete and crafted one of the most immersive experiences in the history of film. The lush and opulent Pandora is fully rendered in three dimensions, creating a truly awe-inspiring 3D experience many thought impossible.

3D is not new; the technology has been used in film production as far back as the 1890s. In earlier iterations, it was a gimmick, a visual trick to wow audiences. But the 3D process has always held more promise. With AVATAR, rather than add the effect in post-production (as was the trend with 3D in the past) Cameron shot the film entirely in stereoscopic 3D. Using the fusion camera system co-developed by himself and cinematographer Vince Pace, Cameron creates fully 3D environments far removed from the gimmicks of the past. AVATAR signifies something entirely new, a wake-up call for the medium.

So what's the future of 3D films? The horror genre is continuing the trend of using 3D as a trick to make audiences jump. Films like My Bloody Valentine and The Final Destination are perpetuating the myth that 3D is just for fun. But as AVATAR proves, 3D can do so much more, this is why filmmakers are embracing 3D technology and it is being incorporated into more and more productions. Steven Spielberg plans to use 3D in his next blockbuster project, and his Dreamworks partner Jeffrey Katzenberg has stated that all his animated productions will be shot in native 3D. Disney has re-kindled its love affair with the technology after a brief obsession in the 1980s. Disney and Tim Burton’s colourful re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland, along with 3D presentations of Pixar productions, prove that the studio is ready to support the technology.

Elsewhere, the burgeoning popularity of 3D can be seen in the blockbusters of 2010. Following in the wake of AVATAR, big studio productions like Clash of the Titans are getting the 3D treatment and later in the year the closing chapters of the Harry Potter franchise will be screened in 3D.

Thanks to James Cameron and his efforts to evolve the technology into something more than a gimmick, 3D has been accepted as a legitimate film making tool. Panasonic, Sony and LG are introducing releasing 3D televisions and monitors onto the market. Hardware and software developers Nvidia have embraced 3D technology for their latest generation of graphics cards. And even the current generation of game consoles are beginning to showcase an early trend in 3D gaming.

3D, like digital and high definition before it, is a visual technology that is definitely here to stay.

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Do you look forward to seeing more movies in 3D?

Comments

Spirit

If all future films become 3D films, then I would be happy with the future of films :D

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