The international press is abuzz with thrilling updates on James Cameron’s latest efforts to revolutionize the moviegoing experience by releasing Avatar 2 in a glasses-free 3D format. Cameron has an exceptional reputation for turning the movie industry on its head, and from The Terminator to Titanic, this groundbreaking director knows how to keep the world on the edge of its seat. When the first entry in the Avatar series was released in 2009, Cameron added the planet?s highest-grossing movie of all time to his list of credentials. The film?s success was largely due to its innovative visual effects which brought moviegoers to the theaters in droves and earned the film several Academy Awards. Relying on cutting-edge stereoscopic technology, Cameron aimed to offer an immersive 3D cinematic experience capable of bringing viewers to the very heart of the luminescent Pandoran biosphere.
Lately, the cinema and tech specialized press have presented seemingly convincing evidence that Avatar 2 will bring a new, glasses-free 3D format to movie theaters around the world. In 2016, Cameron addressed the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers to confirm that his team is pushing for ?better tools, workflow, high dynamic range and high frame rates,? and with brighter projection as part of the package, his project seems poised for success if these and other hurdles can be cleared.
Is 3D cinema without the 3D glasses a soon-to-be reality? After all, this technology is already available for certain gaming consoles, mobile phones and TV displays, the likes of which have been turning up at recent editions of the International CES, for example. For glasses-free 3D technology to become a reality on the silver screen, it is necessary to create additional spatial cues so that our brains are able to reconstitute a projected image with enough depth and perspective so that it resembles a natural 3D image. To this end, Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment is teaming up with Christie Digital to share information and collaboratively create an RGB laser projector capable of offering 60,000 lumens and faster-than-ever frame rates for images which appear sufficiently deep and nuanced to create a 3D effect without requiring the viewer to don any special gear.
With a $200 million dollar budget and a plan to begin filming this year, Cameron’s team will likely have no problem developing enough state-of-the-art technologies to make Avatar 2 a game changer for the industry. And as if offering solutions for glasses-free 3D viewing was not enough, Cameron’s team also aims to develop underwater performance capture technology in order to invite viewers to explore the depths of Pandora?s aquatic environments in Avatar 2.
However, a few questions remain unanswered. Namely, will movie theaters dispose of the budgets necessary to update their projection technology, and do they even have an idea of how much this will cost? With Avatar sequels scheduled for release in 2020, 2021, 2024 and 2025, how many movie theaters will have enough financial clout to speedily invest in the equipment necessary to display Avatar 2 in a glasses-free 3D format?
A glasses-free 3D moviegoing experience seems within reach. Bringing this dream to fruition will add to Cameron’s prestige as a pioneer and give birth to an entirely new cinematic experience.
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