Avatar and the future of video

Entertainment, Movies

Blue is the new black

So over my winter vacation I saw James Cameron’s Avatar in the theater. It’s one of the first times that I’ve ever seen a movie that I was just to totally engrossed in from start to finish. I never questioned any of the effects, I just assumed that everything was real. Which is a weird thing to say when a movie features 15 foot aliens who ride dragons. I went back and watched the Totally Rad Show review of the film and they went in to a little bit of the technology involved in capturing the performances of the actors. The Facial movements just really match the actors. Maybe I’m getting more complacent in my old age, but the story was told so well and the editing so tight that I never had time to question “How did they do this”. Which is really a testament to just how entertaining this movie is.

But the technology is what really got my mind working… Video cameras have become common place and the home editing software is on par with anything Hollywood had in about the early 1990’s. If you take 5 minutes to look on Youtube you’ll find some amazing videos that would have played on network TV in the past, but are done in someone’s free time, with home equiptment.  I’m not saying  everybody is making District 9 in their back yards, but some people are. Now that we’re on the cusp of the ‘3D cinema revolution’ I can see a future where home 3d recording will be feasible. You could just set up a couple of cameras in your house and then you’d have an exact 3d replica of everything. You could change the camera angle if you miss something or do some digital retouching on your 3d body scan. I can’t imaging what ‘some people’ are going to to do with this.

I remember back when I was playing Quake or Fallout and I could download another character skin, so that I could have Johnny 5 sniping fools on a gravity jump. I’m Alive! I saw this trailer, it’s a mashup of ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Terminator’.  I thought, that would be a really cool movie actually, I wonder if something like that will ever get made… then I though who will play the parts. But like in the trailer, you really just want the original actors to play them. Then i got to thinking… in terminator salvation they have a CG Arnold attack, in XMEN they have a younger version of Magneto and Xavier, I mean for God’s sake they put marlon wayans head on a babies body for an entire freaking movie. But in all those cases you didn’t really buy into it all the way. But now, with Cameron’s tech out there what’s going to stop them from making a 3D character of an older actor, then having another actor act out the movie. This leads to all kinds of weridly exciting possiblities for REMAKES STARRING THE SAME ACTORS. If this gets popular then you can recast a movie AFTER you’ve filmed it. It can be seen as Brad Pitt’s face in the leading roll, but really it’s Tom Hanks behind the scenes doing the acting. And if we’re going down this path then why do movies have to star one person? They could advertise on the poster ‘Starring Leonardo DiCaprio or Jude Law’ and then you could switch between them on your personal movie glasses Then do they have to create another Oscar category for “Best Motion Capture performance” and then “Best Voice Acting” because they dont have to be the same person. Then you add in the amimatators who are basically left to clean up the data and make the non-humaniod characters move. then if they come out with motion capture suits for animals all those guys are out of business.

This leads to what I both hope for and fear most… Lucas remaking Star Wars with all CG actors and sets.

I think if Cameron is going to unleash this kind of technology on the cinema world then he should be responsible for teaching all the other directors how to do it.

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