Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Avatar - Hyped or not?

"Have you heard of the upcoming movie Avatar?!"
"I am eagerly awaiting this movie!"
"Yipee.. I am going for the premier show."

Yeah I know my friends were kind of all gaga about this movie much before it was released.

"Blue bodied humanoids with a tail and hoping, flying and romancing in a complete unreal world!!!!" Yes! And these were my thoughts. I always wondered how can a not so appealing animated creature on this huge screen appeal me!!

And no wonder, I was among the lots who went when the ticket charges were reasonable enough to spend on any 3D movie! Reason - I wanted to see why it took only 10 years to make an animated movie :P ??

And since I went with my family, initially I concentrated more on my niece who was holding a huge box of popcorn. And Avatar started with the initial introduction to their different world. AND I was completely awed by the size of machines, robots, and the first view of those ugly looking creatures! I gave the popcorn box back to my niece!!!

Jake, the protagonist, and a paraplegic former marine caught my attention from start till the end. Unable to walk with his legs in real life, Jake goes mad to feel in his Avatar body. He runs till he feels the life in his leg and scratches the ground with his toe to feel the happiness which I can not describe here in words. And from here on I was completely into the movie. The impeccable human moves of Avatars, a dream like beautiful world called Pandora, illuminating night with colors so natural, horrifying but so real looking creatures and the fresh feel of the greenest world. You see a dream with your eyes wide open!

Free spirited Avatars, flying like birds, falling free from heights and so harmlessly co-existing with nature leave you mesmerized. The feel so real that I really wanted to know how was it achieved in those 10 years?

In December 2006, Cameron explained that the delay in producing the film since the 1990s had been to wait until the technology necessary to create his project was advanced enough. I felt worth the wait. In Avatar, he twisted movie-making technology, in at least four new ways.

1) Performance/ Motion Capture: 72 to 96 different cameras were rigged up around the set. The floor was marked with a grid, marking the areas covered by each camera. The actors wore special black leotards, with white reflective spots stuck all over. The cameras tracked the movement of those dots, not of the actors.

And later these dots were given life and this required more than a Petabyte of memory which is 10 raised to the power six GB!!

2) Expression Cameras: It is difficult to feel and relate to any animated creature because they do not emote the same way as we do. And to overcome this challenge, Cameron pioneered a specially designed camera built into a 6-inch boom that allowed the facial expressions of the actors to be captured and digitally recorded for the animators to use later.

It captured every slightest facial expression. The dilation of pupil, the quiver of lips, the tension in the muscles below skin! No wonder, the avatars looked so very real.

3)3D Cameras: In Avatar, real humans are set in digitally developed unreal world. To make it appear all real, Camera specialists Vince Pace and Patrick Maxwell made Cameron a light, twenty five kilo 3D camera and just like our eyes, it's got two separate inbuilt lenses, which move and change focus on objects independently. And these cameras combine the images they capture and overlap with the 3D world to make it all appear together and real.

4) Virtual Camera: A simple looking LCD screen with game like controls on it. It displays the virtual world with the supercomputers create and you point on the actors and it shows the actors in the virtual world in their avatars. A complete real time conversion of real actors into avatars!!

Avatar has really pushed the 3D technology to new dimensions. It is difficult to understand the nitty-gritty of its making but atleast after knowing few of the details, I can say with surety Avatar is worth the hype :)


Ashutosh Pandey said...

U've shown some of the nice Insights about the making of the movie. I must say that everyone should watch this movie for the sake of James Cameroon's efforts. This movie was his dream and the best part was that he waited for almost 35 years for technology to improve so that he can make a movie which will match his imagination. This movie will once again make U fall in Love with nature for sure. And now 'Avatar', as a word, will be more popular in Western Countries.

Liked everything in this blog except the word used by U for 'Avatars'. U said they are 'ugly looking creatures' somewhere. How can U say that.... I Liked 'Neytiri' yaar...! Hehehehe ;)

Anny said...

Hey nice blog..its like reading in some magazine...:)

Abanti said...

It was nice to read the making story of the movie and not just the movies review and truly Cameroon through this movie has revolutionized the world of 3D film making...

R. Ramesh said...

watched avatar in navi mumbai cinema yar..the story line was bahhh:( but of course the production was gr8...and V, thanks ya..:)

R. Ramesh said...

V, jus now my colleague imran saw your title and was all praise for it: We do not remember days, we remember moments! he kept saying suprb...:)

Nisarg Kinariwala.... said...

Vineeta, why dont you try to write some article in magazine/newspaper... It looks so professional when we read each word...

A worth reading blog !!!

Mohan said...

any thoughts on the recently building controversies over Avatar? I am sure, it would be more hyped :D

lostworld said...

Never knew all of this. I personally liked the movie but really couldn't tell what the hype was all about.. maybe it was all the technicalities I thought. Now I know :)