99 posts categorized "Guest Post"

AVATAR Sequel Already In Production

Anemonoid_1 Speculation about a sequel to AVATAR started before the movie was released. AVATAR’s success has ensured that sequel. Rumors are flying. Who will be in it and what will it be like? Here's what we know so far from comments by James Cameron, John Landau and members of the cast.

Guest Post by Rebecca Scudder

AVATAR’s sequel will be about Neytiri and Jake, but it is unlikely to be called AVATAR 2. According to SciFiWire, Cameron has confirmed that the Na’vi culture, including the spiritual aspects, will be a focus point for the movie. "Certainly I don't want to call it AVATAR 2," Cameron said "He's not an AVATAR anymore, is he? Maybe we'll call it Na'vi." James Cameron has said that scenes integral to the sequel were included in the first movie. There are three movies planned at this point, although AVATAR 3 information is mostly speculation on the part of fans.

While Cameron worked on AVATAR for ten years, he expects the making of the first of the AVATAR sequels to be much faster – and cheaper. There will probably be additional technological developments incorporated in the sequels, but the 3D and CGI technology used in AVATAR is already on hand for the making of the first AVATAR sequel. Cameron has confirmed, in interviews with MTV and the LA Times, that there is a trilogy planned, that it will not take ten more years to arrive, and that much of the action in the sequel will take place in the oceans of Pandora. He has also said that the sequel will take place several years after the events in AVATAR.

While the oceans of Pandora were briefly glimpsed in AVATAR with a view of Jake and Neytiri swimming, much more is due to seen in the second movie. Cameron told the LA Times that the oceans would be “rich, diverse, crazy and imaginative”. AVATAR An Activist Survival Guide mentions there are rafts of floating seaweed in the oceans. The book also has an image of the Amenonoid, a bioluminescent invertebrate with poisonous tentacles, found in ponds and lakes. Perhaps there is a larger relation in the oceans…

The sequel is in production, according to IMDB, with a scheduled release date of 2014. Fans of AVATAR are speculating that while Cameron said it will take just three years to make the sequel, the reason it will not be released in 2013 is because The Hobbit I & II are scheduled to be released in late 2012 and 2013. AVATAR’s sequel will have a release date timed not to conflict with the expected blockbusters – most likely 2014. Cameron and 20th Century Fox seem to be taking to heart the lesson learned when AVATAR’s audience share plummeted with the release of Alice in Wonderland, How to Train your Dragon and Clash of the Titans. Since there are that the Hobbit may be shot in 3D, the conflict for theater space would be even more monstrous if the Hobbit Part 2 was released at the same time as the AVATAR sequel.

It seems to be standard policy in movies that may spawn sequels to have the stars sign agreements for multi-movie contracts when they are first cast in a movie, ensuing continuity. However, not every movie pans out. With the take from AVATAR an estimated 2.7 billion, those signatures are very important. In many ways stars in AVATAR really are avatars with CGI bodies. This does not mean that the actors behind those AVATARs can be replaced easily. The distinctive personal style those actors gave their characters – and their voices – cannot easily be replaced by a different person. While Worthington and Saldana previously signed contracts for sequels to AVATAR, the terms for those contracts are likely to have changed.

More and more of the cast of AVATAR are confirming they are back in the sequel. Jake, Neytiri and Mo’at's actors are all saying they have signed on for the sequel. Curiously, Colonel Quaritch may also be back. (Did the RDA scrape DNA from the Pandoran soil to clone him? Perhaps he is featured in Na’vi nightmares.) Sigourney Weaver, whose character became one with Eywa in AVATAR, is going to return in the sequel too, although it is not known if she will be embodied. She has said that Cameron may be bringing the whole family together again.

Another rumor with some basis in comments by Cameron says that future movies will explore more of Alpha Centauri, especially the other moons of Polyphemus. This certainly would offer some spectacular scenery. Those moons also influence the tides on Pandora, making them important even if they are not explored in the first sequel.

The constructed language of Na’vi has a strong fan community trying to learn it. Those fans will get a vocabulary boost in the second movie. Additional Na’vi dialog and more abstract concepts can be expected as we learn more about the Na’vi spiritual beliefs. The ecological themes in AVATAR have resonated with people around the world, and variations on the themes will play out in the conflicts that can be expected between the Na’vi and the RDA.

With the news that time has passed on Pandora, and a projected release of 2014, the events on Pandora may match the real time passed here on Earth.

What surprises do you think Cameron has in store for us in the AVATAR sequel?

Ultimate 3D TV and Home Theater for Enjoying AVATAR

Fan poster2 Seeing AVATAR on 3D was one of the things that helped bring the gorgeous world of James Cameron to life. Experiencing AVATAR on 3D in your own home theater can bring back the original theatrical viewing in a new way. By choosing the best and ultimate 3D home theater system or bundle for your home theater, you can experience the company of the Na'vi world of Pandora any time you want in its realistic 3D glory. Whether you are seeking the ultimate 3D TV package deals and bundles or simply wanting the facts on what's available, read on for the best 3D home theater systems out there.

Guest post by Robin Raven

When AVATAR was still in theaters, many people saw it again and again, mesmerized by the timeless story. The visuals were also a feast for the eyes, as much as the story was a treat in how it made one think and feel. But the AVATAR experience in home theater system has so far been missing that special something that the theatrical release had: 3D.

Thankfully, watching 3D at home is now a practical reality – and will be even more so with the fall AVATAR 3D on Blu-Ray. So far, only Samsung's UNC7000/8000 and the Panasonic VT-20 3D TVs are available for home purchase, although Sony, LG, Vizio, and Toshiba have 3D TVs that will be shipping sometime this year. The main difference comes down to that of LCD versus plasma TVs. Samsung's 3D models are LCD, which means it's fundamentally better for a bright room. Panasonic's plasma version is really only usable if you have a dark room to put it in, but it will have a better picture quality if you can find a lightless place for it to really shine.

For 3D screens, when you tilt your head, the image gets darker. On all of Samsung's models, if you tilt your head ninety degrees, such as if you're lying in bed and watching the movie, it goes so dark that the screen is no longer watchable. On the Panasonic screen, it gets significantly dimmer, but it's still viewable. I don't expect it to be any different with any of the other anticipated televisions. It's a problem with the technology, and it's not something that will be solved immediately or even this coming year. It's not something that should stop you from getting a 3D screen, but be aware that it's not one that should be placed solely in the bedroom for viewing.

Also, although it has nothing to do with the 3D technology, LCD screens are not really viewable from the side. This will be obvious when you test drive the screens at any electronics store. If you buy a Samsung, you are going to have to sit in front of the television. If you buy Panasonic's plasma 3D screen, people can be seated all around the television. With that television, you are looking from the TV from the side, you can still see the picture.

Also, the 3D images on the Samsung television didn't feel as crisp. Sometimes you can make out a faint double image, which takes away from the 3D experience. Panasonic's plasma didn't have this problem, but it does have another. If an image is left on the screen for too long, it can get a burn-in effect, but the burn-in effect only lasts a few seconds. It goes away quickly once the picture starts moving again. It's not a major problem, because you will rarely have the same image on the screen for a long enough period of time to create this effect. This is only an issue if you are playing a video game or leave a static menu on for a long period of time. The longest it's said to last is ten to twenty seconds.

When you're testing the 3D model you plan to buy, remember to also try viewing 2D content. Not everything you watch on your 3D TV will be in 3D. Most content is still 2D, so you'll need to ensure the picture looks good, even without your 3D glasses. You want to be able to watch all your DVDs, not just the 3D ones.

Be aware that, if you have a Blu-Ray player that's older than a few months, it probably won't play 3D Blu-Ray titles. You'll need to have a new Blu-Ray player that's capable of reading 3D Blu-Ray discs.

In considering all of the tested models, Panasonic's 3D set is the clear winner. There's a great package deal with Panasonic's VT25 3D TVs. It really is a very nice set, and it comes with two free 3D Blu-Ray titles via mail-in rebate. Unfortunately, neither title is AVATAR, but that'll be out sometime this fall. If watching the 3D television in total darkness isn't plausible, the Samsung model is a good bet. Both are sure to offer a great viewing experience of AVATAR on 3D.

Are you considering a 3D TV?

AVATAR 3D Effects: How AVATAR Has Changed the Way People View 3D Movies

Arches James Cameron has revolutionized movies forever. Find out how AVATAR 3D is different from a regular movie thanks to creative 3D technology and advanced animation that leaves viewers amazed.

Guest post by Ashley Hansen

When AVATAR was released it became an instant hit and quickly became the number one movie in film history. It’s no surprise that this ambitious 3D film was so popular, but how is AVATAR 3D different from a regular movie? There are many other great films out, even other advanced 3D films. Find out what made AVATAR different, and how will it affect the way we see movies from now on.

A New 3D Look

The biggest difference between the AVATAR and past 3D movies is that a whole new technology was developed just for this film. James Cameron had actually already waited more than 15 years to make AVATAR simply because the technology he wanted wasn’t available yet. He ended up creating his own technology, a new system of stereoscopic cameras that have revolutionized 3D film. This technology involves two side-by-side cameras filming simultaneously, mimicking the experience we have of perceiving an image with our two eyes. The camera system makes a more realistic 3D effect that viewers have found to be simply amazing, which is how AVATAR 3D is different from regular movies.

An Immersive, Realistic Experience

This new technology doesn’t rely on cheesy effects like random objects appearing to fly off the screen and come at the audience. Instead, it creates a more realistic depth perception throughout the film that makes it possible for viewers to feel immersed in the images, as though they are really there. The camera pans more often to create a realistic view. It’s almost as if the viewer is turning his or her head to see the image like they would in real life. This is another main difference in how AVATAR 3D is different from regular movies; in past 3D films, audiences usually looked at a static scene and the 3D effect came out towards them in an effort to thrill or scare them, rather than mimicking their natural eye movements.

Realistic Animation

With many animated films hitting movie screens all over the world, AVATAR was the first to introduce a new way of animating characters in order to retain their realistic and relatable appeal. Viewers get close up looks at characters in the movie, and their expressions, movements and gestures seem eerily real. That’s because Cameron combined the 3D technology he invented with live action of the actors, who were hooked up to computer sensors to catch their every movement. The result is onscreen characters that mimic the actors' exact movements on the screen combined with the 3D technology which made it feel as though audiences were right there with them in the film. AVATAR has changed the way we see 3D films so that not only do the scenes appear realistic, but so do animated characters.

The 3D Experience of the Future

Going forward, viewers can expect an increased focus on the quality of 3D movies. As new films enter production, they’ll have to compete with the high standard that AVATAR has set in the 3D film industry. Whether live-action or animated, any 3D film created in the coming years will likely have better quality and more realistic effects. Also, Cameron’s new 3D technology will allow more filmmakers to work with better camera systems to create a more natural-looking 3D experience. AVATAR has changed the face of 3D films forever, and it’s only a matter of time before we’ll begin to see the effects.

Sponsored by Panasonic VIERA. Return to the world of AVATAR in stunning full HD with the Panasonic VIERA HD TV.

What was your favorite thing about seeing AVATAR in 3D?

The World of AVATAR: How Did Cameron Make Pandora So Real?

Bioluminescence James Cameron produced his own special effects and technology during the creation of AVATAR in order to create the realistic world of Pandora. By creating a custom camera, he was able to view the actors as they performed as though they were immersed in the scenes of this fictional world.

Guest post by Ashley Hansen

Audiences all over the world were blown away by the stunning 3D effects in AVATAR – The Movie. Though viewers realize the sci-fi element to the film, there is a startling reality about the world of Pandora and its inhabitants. Even though we know that floating mountains and nine-foot tall blue people may not exist, the filming of AVATAR certainly makes it seem possible. The startling 3D footage has caused many moviegoers to wonder about the special effects and technology used to create the realistic world in Pandora. There’s an interesting story behind it; in fact, James Cameron even had to make his own technology to meet the needs of the film.

A Long Time Coming

The story and effects in AVATAR were actually in the works for over 20 years before AVATAR even hit the movie screens. James Cameron had wanted to make a movie like AVATAR for years, but one thing held him back: the technology. Cameron actually had to wait until technology caught up with his vision in order for the special effects he desired in AVATAR to become a reality.

Fortunately, 3D filming has advanced enough that Cameron was finally able to get the special effects and technology needed to create the realistic world in Pandora. The technology he found was close to what he needed, but not quite enough. Cameron and his team had to come up with a solution to get AVATAR to the level he envisioned in his mind.

Custom Cameras

James Cameron found that the Sony HDC-F950 HD camera met most of his needs for filming the 3D effects in AVATAR. However, to make the experience even more realistic, he decided to create his own camera system to produce even better visual effects. By connecting two Sony HDC-F950 HD cameras so that the lenses were only two and a half inches apart, he was able to create a 3D experience that is overwhelmingly realistic for movie audiences. Cameron chose to use this measurement of separation of cameras to mimic the stereoscopic separation of human eyes, which is what gives the resulting visual effect such a realistic view.

Actor’s Movements

An innovative form of technology was also incorporated with the 3D cameras to help create a better filming experience. The special effects and technology used to create the realistic world in Pandora were translated into the camera. Though the actors performed the scenes in front of a green screen, Cameron was able to look through his camera and see the entire world of Pandora surrounding them. It allowed him to create a better flow in filming and produced a more realistic effect.

Sponsored by Panasonic VIERA. Return to the world of AVATAR in stunning full HD with the Panasonic VIERA HD TV.

Through the combined use of creative vision and technology, AVATAR swept viewers along a path that turned the fantastical into reality.

What part of Pandora was the most amazing – and real – for you?

The Magic Behind Creating the CGI Na’vi Characters in AVATAR

Avatar tease AVATAR was a visual feast thanks to its CGI characters exhibiting lifelike characteristics and expressions. Although animation played the major role in getting the look of the movie just right, the job was made significantly easier through the use of innovative filming techniques. This article looks at the innovations that James Cameron used when making AVATAR.

Guest post by Karishma Sundaram

James Cameron is known for his revolutionary filming techniques, and each time he makes a movie, the bar is raised a little more. The case is certainly no different with AVATAR which was created with a combination of live action filming and computer generated imagery (CGI) to create a visual masterpiece. There was also use of live backgrounds, interspersed liberally with computer-generated ones.

The filmmaking was a carefully planned, step-by-step process, starting with live action filming, and then going back and forth between that and CGI, to finally arrive at the finished product. According to Cameron, only 40% of the film was live action, while the rest was entirely CGI and miniatures.

Motion-capture Photography

The filming first began with the non-critical parts of the movie. This was done in preparation for the animation work, as the two were combined at a later stage.

The second stage included the use of motion-capture photography. This meant that the actors played their roles in front of a camera, used specifically to capture their movements and expressions. This captured imagery was then taken into an animation studio and applied onto the CGI characters of the Na’vi.

The revolutionary part of this technique was the special augmented reality camera that the director used. Although the actors interacted with thin air during scenes with animated backgrounds, the director was able to use the special camera to view the captured footage on a screen with the animated background already in place. Therefore, as the actors played out their roles, Cameron was able to direct their movements while referencing the animated background.

The technique significantly reduced effort, on the parts of the actors, as there was no requirement to break the flow repeatedly. Also with the augmented reality camera, the director had the freedom to change the background as often as he chose to, adding an incredible level of flexibility to the filmmaking process.

Interaction Between CGI and the Actors

When live action actors interacted with CGI characters, the technique used was slightly different. A small camera was used instead of the augmented reality camera and in addition to the HD 3D cameras. This device, dubbed Simul-cam, is actually a combination of both technologies, and produces a similar working environment as the augmented reality camera. The actors and the CGI characters were able to interact easily with each other, as the director is able to see the actors in the virtual environment and direct them accordingly.

Facial Expressions

One of the most truly incredible parts of AVATAR was the realistic expressions on the faces of the CGI characters. This was accomplished through the use of skullcaps, fitted tightly over the actors’ heads, and an attached camera positioned directly in front.

The camera captured the visual representation of the expressions, while the skullcaps recorded the movement of the facial muscles. Using both sets of data in conjunction, animators were able to transfer the expression perfectly onto the CGI counterparts.

In the extended footage of the movie, the crew commented on the most difficult scene of the whole movie: the one were Neytiri, as a Na’vi, and Jake Sully, as a human, are actually touching onscreen. The logistics of that scene included calculating the shadows of both characters as they related to each other. While this is difficult in the case of just CGI, the combination of live action and CGI made it even more arduous.

Sponsored by Panasonic VIERA. Return to the world of AVATAR in stunning full HD with the Panasonic VIERA HD TV.

Were you ever aware of the computer graphics in the actors expressions or was the experience seamless?

AVATAR Party Games for All Ages

Psychtoday What’s an AVATAR party without AVATAR party games? Whether you plan to invite adults or children (or both) to your DVD party or AVATAR fan get-together, party games are a must. When it comes to choosing games for your AVATAR party, you have two options: purchase a manufactured game or make your own. Either way, your guests will love getting into the AVATAR spirit with the games that your prepare.

Guest post by Harriette Halepis

Are you hosting or attending an AVATAR DVD party? Here are some fun party games for kids, adult, and AVATAR fans of all ages.

  • Pin the Tail on an AVATAR: To create this game, simply enlarge a photo of an AVATAR character. Then, mark a target on the photo, and have guests pin a piece of rope or twine to the photo. Whoever hits the right spot should be handed some type of AVATAR-themed prize.
  • AVATAR Maked Party: For an adult AVATAR bash, ask each guest to dress up in AVATAR attire – including some type of face mask. Ask each guest to write down who they think is underneath each mask. At the end of the night, each guest must reveal themselves – whoever matches the right mask with the right person wins a prize.
  • AVATAR Trivia Time: Thanks to the popularity of the movie, there are more than a couple of places to find AVATAR trivia on the Internet. Gather together some good questions and answers, and ask your guests about their AVATAR knowledge. Make sure to have some small prizes on-hand, so that trivia winners are rewarded properly!
  • AVATAR Drawing Game: There's tons great of AVATAR fan art on the Web. Grab AVATAR images from this site and around the Web, print them out for inspiration, and have your guests create their own fan art. Whoever creates the best design wins a prize (and of course, runners up should receive small prizes or recognition too).
  • Make Your Own AVATAR Jewelry: Purchase various types of necklace items (string, beads, clasps), and ask everyone to make a necklace or bracelet. The best part? Everyone gets to keep their necklace or bracelet as a keepsake and prize.

Coming up with AVATAR games is relatively easy to do. All it takes is a bit of imagination, a lot of AVATAR knowledge, and some fun objects. There are all kinds of AVATAR fans out there, and everyone from a child to an adult will love to take part in your fun party games. Simply make sure that you have all of your game supplies ready to go before you send out your party invitations, and get ready to throw the AVATAR party of the century.

Sponsored by Panasonic VIERA. Return to the world of AVATAR in stunning full HD with the Panasonic VIERA HD TV.

Have you seen any fun AVATAR games? Post them in the comments!

AVATAR Party Supplies - How to Pick the Hottest Decorations

Jake honor Planning an AVATAR-themed party? Wondering where you can find AVATAR party supplies? Here is a quick guide to choosing the most popular AVATAR party supplies and decorations. Hosting an AVATAR movie party is fun and easy when you follow these tips. Learn about balloons, paper goods, and other party supplies.

Guest post by Donna Cosmato

The first of three planned DVD releases of James Cameron’s AVATAR was in April, and many people are planning AVATAR parties for this and every subsequent release. Here is a guide to identifying the hottest AVATAR party supplies for any size event.

AVATAR Cake Supplies

Purchase a cake with an AVATAR edible cake image or do an original design. These images are readily available and can be found with a little legwork and some Internet research.

Choose from cake or cupcake toppers featuring many different characters and scenes from the movie AVATAR. Most edible cake images are FDA approved, Kosher certified, and safe for use. Simply peel the backing from the image, place it on the food to be decorated, and watch the image melt into the frosting. Other cool cake decorating supplies to look for are blue or black icings, colored sugar sprinkles, and blue jelly beans and black licorice.

AVATAR Movie Posters

These posters are a hot item and selling fast, but do not despair if your favorite character is sold out. Make posters quickly and inexpensively with poster board, rubber cement, and free images from the Internet or magazines. The youngest movie fans in the family will love the hands-on experience and it might buy parents a few minutes of peace and quiet.

On the other hand, James Cameron’s AVATAR the Movie posters are priced for less than ten dollars in most stores, so buying several to use for decorating may be less expensive in the long run. A big part of planning and hosting movie parties is shopping for decorations and refreshments to fit individual preferences and budgets.

AVATAR Paper Products

Paper products decorated with the image of Neytiri or Corporal Jake Sully can be found just about everywhere. Keep it simple and pick up a few napkins and paper plates, or go all out with stickers, balloons, crepe paper streamers, and party favor cups – all boasting AVATAR themes and pictures.

What’s a party without balloons as decorations? AVATAR latex balloons in a mixed bouquet make striking displays. For less than five dollars, pick up a 20 balloon package with four AVATAR-themed colors – black, ocean blue, sky blue, and silver. Use the balloons as-is or mix with silver Mylar balloons to add a science fantasy effect.

AVATAR Action Figures

AVATAR action figures make great table decorations with their glow-in-the dark luminescence. Dim the lights and imagine being on the surface of Pandora in the eerie organic glow. Actions figures are available for the striking Na’vi creatures as well as the other characters like Corporal Jake Sully and Colonel Miles Quaritch. As a bonus, each action figure comes with a unique i-Tag. Go online and unlock the code, then hold the i-Tag in front of a webcam to see a 3D model on the computer screen.

Whether you are planning an AVATAR party for a few close friends or packing the house, the event is sure to be a success with a couple or all of these top rated AVATAR party supplies.

Sponsored by Panasonic VIERA. Return to the world of AVATAR in stunning full HD with the Panasonic VIERA HD TV.

What would your dream AVATAR party be?

Where to Find or Buy AVATAR Costumes for Movie Parties or Halloween

While online costume sites might be the first place you think of looking for complete costumes from the AVATAR movie, there are other places to check which may help you find a more unique AVATAR costume. Here are some ideas for less obvious places to look for costumes.

Guest post by Rebecca Scudder

Already need your AVATAR costume for an AVATAR viewing party or Cosplay event? Unfortunately, most online costume sites are saying that they will not have any licensed AVATAR costumes available until early in the fall. But, this doesn’t mean you need to wait until September to put your costume together. While you may not find a full AVATAR costume package, you can put one together from several pieces that are available now.


Need an AVATAR wig? There are a lot of wigs that were not created for AVATAR costumes that can meet your needs. Egyptian wigs are a good choice; often shoulder length black braided hair, you may need to buy a long black braid to attach at the back. There are also wigs with long dreadlocks. Add black cords and beads to them and get a great Na’vi wig with an original touch. There is even a braided wig for the Corpse Bride that can pass for a Na’vi wig.


Blue makeup is quite easy to find. Unless you have a brand you are crazy about, just add a couple of tubes of different shades of blue to the next purchase you make at any costume site. Does your local drugstore have a sale on generic makeup kits? If so, just grab a set with 15 colors of eye shadow, and use it for additional makeup shading.

AVATAR Costume Pieces

eBay is a great place to buy costumes or costume pieces. Now that the AVATAR DVD has been released, there will be a lot of fans and costumers studying the movie and selling their original ideas on eBay in the next few months. You should look there for masks, jewelry, accessories, and other AVATAR costume items.

Na’vi and AVATARs are not clones, but the 15,000 people who buy the same licensed AVATAR movie costume will look like they are. If you buy a piece of a licensed costume to finish off your own costume, think about how you might customize it. You could add your own apron or drape instead of the plain brown cotton rectangle on a commercial version. Add in elements meant for other costumes. For example, buycostumes.com has a set of blue hands for Dr. Manhattan. While they don’t have 4 fingers, they do have molded veins and are very realistic- and very blue. All you would need to do is add stripes with a marker.

Other Sources

Check the dollar store regularly for bits and pieces. You might find a handful of bracelets made from wooden beads, or heishi necklaces made from shell or in earth tones. One day they might have a hairclip with feathers attached. They are also a great place to check for makeup kits and eye shadow palettes.

Are you planning to be Jake or Dr. Grace? Khaki pants and shirt that are meant for everyday wear are likely to be made of nicer fabric, hold up better, and fit better than a costume that comes in small, medium and large. That department store also might have an inexpensive pair of work boots. Since this is a costume you may want to wear a number of times, you should consider getting pieces that can last.

For pieces to create your blue body, go to a ballet shop and find sturdy dancers’ tights and a leotard in a Na’vi shade of blue. Again, stripe that perfectly color matched set of tights, leotard and ballet slippers with your darker blue fabric marker.

Remember, every Na’vi AVATAR in the movie was created as a hybrid for a specific individual. When you buy the pieces of your AVATAR movie costume, think of the different pieces as building your own special hybrid, customized especially for you.

Sponsored by Panasonic VIERA. Return to the world of AVATAR in stunning full HD with the Panasonic VIERA HD TV.

What do you consider essential for an AVATAR movie costume?

How to Build Your Own Home Theater PC for Viewing AVATAR

Jake2 Learn how to build a home theater PC or HTPC for the release of AVATAR and other visually stunning films. A home theater PC can be inexpensive and small, or expensive and large, depending on what you make of it. Here's what you need to know to get started.

Guest post by Ty Wingfoot

A home theater PC, also referred to as an HTPC is a computer that acts as the digital engine to provide all the content to your television. The HTPC is for more than just watching DVDs on your TV through your computer. The HTPC is a super geek project that gives you an awesome viewing experience with the versatility to watch online videos and view pictures, listen to songs and any other kind of digital media. You can build a home theater PC for as little as $600 or as much as $2,000 or more. It all depends on your quest and your personal preferences. Now that AVATAR and its stunning visual effects are available on DVD and Blu-Ray, it’s the perfect time to build a home theater PC.

Choose Your Home Theater PC Case

Picking a case is the first and maybe the most important part of this project. The case will let you know what you have to work with. While it’s not the sexiest part of the PC, if you get a case that lets out too much noise or causes too much heat, all your hard work may be wasted. Pick a case that fits your space, has a quiet fan, has enough power and is easy to use. You can use a mini computer form factor like the Mini-ITX or use a bigger form factor if you have the room and want a bigger case. You should pick a case that has a remote for easy TV viewing.

Under the Hood

If you’re going for a small-size basic home theater PC, you may want to use an Atom processor. However, if you want the mega powerful HTPC, you should choose a powerful processor such as a high end dual core or mid range quad core. You may want plenty of power, but remember with great power comes great heating and the need for more cooling, which can raise the sound level and cause your PC to overheat.

Find a good motherboard. You need a motherboard to match your processor but make sure you choose something with a lot of ports and options. You’ll want USB, Firewire and of course a video HDMI output. Integrated technology is fine for this type of use-- you’re not going to be watching the video on your monitor so a built in video card is fine as long as it has HDMI support.

Since you’re just watching video and not editing it, two gigabytes of RAM is a good start; however, four or even six would provide more options for your home theater PC, such as for some gaming and other future possibilities.

If your home theater PC is going to be more than just a DVD or BD player, make sure you install a TV tuner card.

What’s Driving the PC

You need a hard drive that has plenty of space. To allow room for growth, something in the lines of a one terabyte drive is in order. Noise and heat output are also essential to consider, so a drive like a Western Digital WD10EACS GreenPower hard drive is a good choice if you’re making a full size HTPC. If you’re shooting for something smaller, you may want to use a solid state drive.

Of course, no home theater PC would be complete without a Blu-ray player. You have to be careful because many Blu-ray drives are too big to fit correctly into many PC cases. Do your homework and find a player that fits in your case. Even though HD DVD lost the format war, you can find players that play both formats in case you have DVDs in both formats or want to buy low priced HD DVD formatted DVDs.

Putting It Together

Assembling the PC shouldn’t take much time, but be careful to pay attention to the air flow of the case and what kind of fans or heat sinks you may need to add. You’ll need to install an operating system capable of handling all your media needs. Windows Home Premium or higher is a suitable choice, but if you really want to go for extreme customization and control, you can always install Linux and run software like Myth TV.

Sponsored by Panasonic VIERA. Return to the world of AVATAR in stunning full HD with the Panasonic VIERA HD TV.

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James Cameron's Real-World Inspiration for the Landscapes in AVATAR

Avatar mountains The landscapes in AVATAR were truly amazing, largely in part to the way the 3D element was used in the movie. Instead of using traditional 3D methods to bring objects out of the screen towards the viewer, AVATAR used a technique that made it feel like the viewer was being pulled into the movie. This effect gave the viewer the overall impression of being a part of the landscape and scenes, which provided a very realistic look and feel. Many people who saw the movie in 3D reported that it felt as though they had actually visited Pandora, instead of just viewing it on the screen.

Guest post by Ty Wingfoot

As anyone who has seen the movie AVATAR in 3D can attest to, the visual effects and landscapes are truly spectacular. The landscapes in AVATAR were even more mesmerizing due to the way the 3D element was handled in the movie. Instead of the usual methods of exploiting the visual “shock effect” of 3D by continually thrusting objects towards the audience through the screen, AVATAR takes a different approach. When you watch the movie, you have more of a sense of being drawn into the screen and the surrounding landscape, as opposed to feeling like something is going to come out and get you, which adds an additional sense of realism to the film.

Inspiration for the Beautiful AVATAR Landscapes

When one experiences the breathtaking scenic landscapes featured in the movie AVATAR, it is hard not to wonder and speculate as to where the inspiration for the landscapes in AVATAR came from. As is the case with most art, it is hard to imagine that there wasn’t a real world inspiration for the highly stylized but somehow realistic scenes. The landscapes were of course created through the work of many talented artists, but for many who experienced the movie, there was a desire to match Pandora up with its real life inspiration.

Southern Sky Column

For those who are familiar with the often breathtaking beauty of China’s landscape, it was hard not to draw some similarities between some of the landscapes depicted in the movie and the Southern Sky Column in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. The scenes in the movie that feature the beautiful floating islands are reminiscent of this majestic column. Traditionally named Qiankunyizhu, which translates from Chinese to mean “Pillar of the Universe”, it was thought by many to have been the inspiration that Cameron had referred to in an interview where he stated that he had used many references when designing the landscapes in AVATAR, including Venezuela, Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, which are both located in China. Quick to capitalize on the reference, Zhangjiajie started to look for ways that they could capitalize on the resemblance in order to bolster their lagging tourism industry. In fact, there was talk that the column was going to be renamed Mount Hallelujah in reference to the movie.

Not So Fast...

However, since Cameron cited several locations as reference points for the movie’s landscapes, Huangshan took exception to Zhangjiajie’s newfound claim to fame. Instead, they insisted that the beautiful floating mountains of AVATAR were instead inspired by Yellow Mountain stone column formations. To make matters even worse for Zhangjiajie, many people were a bit offended over the proposed renaming of Southern Sky Column, feeling it should retain its original name instead of caving in to Western influences. In the end, it appears that the name will not be changed after all. However, regardless of the exact location of the stone formations that served as the inspiration, Zhangjiajie has still found a way to enjoy their newfound association with the blockbuster movie. On their website and in future advertising campaigns, expect to find the slogan, “Pandora is far... but Zhangjiajie is near.

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What places on earth do you think inspired the landscapes of AVATAR?