James Cameron Talks Content Driven 3D and Avatar Trailer Details

December 2, 2008

James Cameron

Earlier today I caught James Cameron's keynote presentation at the 3D Entertainment Summit in hopes of potentially catching a first look at some actual footage from Avatar. Unfortunately we weren't treated to any footage, but as always, Cameron dished up some fascinating discussion, including panning some major industry decisions. Anyone who reads this site already knows my opinion on 3D, but I'll continue to say that it is Cameron who I believe will finally show us what 3D is truly capable of. Unlike Jeffrey Katzenberg's more broad beliefs in the future financial benefits of 3D, Cameron believes that we will eventually get to the point where 3D is used like sound or color - just another standard filmmaking technique.

The reason I believe that Cameron is such a brilliant mind and the true leader of the 3D revolution is because of his approach to it. He explained that he went into Avatar with the goal of making a big blockbuster movie in 3D and hoped that there would be enough theaters to show it in. Since it took so long to make, that isn't a concern anymore, Cameron joked. But it was more important for him to "think like a filmmaker" and not like an executive. "3D has to be content driven" was his most valuable message. While most of the industry is still experimenting in 3D, Cameron says that his "proof of concept" was the two documentaries that he and Vince Pace have made - Ghosts of the Abyss and Aliens of the Deep.

Cameron believes that ultimately a good movie should come first, not 3D. He adds that 3D shouldn't occupy the minds of filmmakers while they're shooting, but should just be another item on the agenda, in theory. And that is exactly what everyone else is doing wrong. To the rest of the industry, 3D is a way to make money, a gimmick designed to attract audiences and sell tickets, not as a filmmaking technique. Cameron believes so firmly in this idea, that he goes as far as to say that Avatar would still be a groundbreaking movie even if you took out the 3D. And that's because from the very ground up, he focused on telling a good story and making a good movie before worrying about the 3D aspect.

When asked about his opinions on other filmmakers, specifically Tim Burton and his work on the upcoming Alice in Wonderland, Cameron openly criticized Burton's decision to convert to 3D after the fact. It "doesn't make any sense to shoot in 2D and convert to 3D," Cameron said. And that's not the only industry decision that he panned, the other being meager attempts to provide a 3D experience at home by releasing DVDs with anaglyphic glasses (meaning the red and blue cardboard ones) in the packing. It is "stunting 3D growth," he said, and hurting the progression of the format. Cameron's agenda wasn't to attack these decisions, instead he felt they weren't helping progress the 3D when that's what we need the most.

So when will we ever see a trailer for Avatar? Our friend at MarketSaw caught Cameron in the hall after his keynote and got an explanation as to why we haven't seen anything yet. Apparently there are a few lengthy scenes from various parts of the film that are complete, but they do not have enough finished material from the film to cut a representative teaser. He hasn't yet spoken to Fox regarding trailer placement, but he mentioned there are a few good 3D releases next year that would be perfect to debut a trailer on, including Monsters vs Aliens next March. Will we finally see a trailer then? All I know is that Cameron still has 12 months of work left on Avatar, so maybe we should stop pestering him and let him finish!

Find more posts: Editorial, Hype, Movie News



Whatever happens... James Cameron Avatar's movie will be awesome. No question asked.

Gab on Dec 2, 2008


I've been saying all this for months now. 3D will ultimately work if it is NOT used as a gimmick, but just as a way to enhance the movie viewing experience by adding additional (and subtle) depth to what we see on the screen. Vic

ScreenRant.com on Dec 2, 2008


Quote #1-"Whatever happens… James Cameron Avatar's movie will be awesome. No question asked." Heh. You should take that blind optimism to the sharemarket. You'll make a fortune.

nef deppard on Dec 2, 2008


All I know is I hate wearing 3D glasses, if I don't have to and they can trick my brain like a 3D image on paper or overlapping images, etc, then AWESOME, if not then meh.

Richard on Dec 2, 2008


If Cameron criticised Burton for shooting in 2D to later on convert it to 3D, does that mean that Avatar can ONLY be seen as a 3D movie, and only with anaglyphic glasses? Or, like Beowulf, it could be seen in movie theatres in both 2D and 3D, whichever the ticket-buyer chooses?

Steven on Dec 2, 2008


Cannot wait. His technology should be ground breaking and in usual Cameron fashion the plot and story will be as good or better.

JimD on Dec 2, 2008


The problem with this whole thing is that there is no way to PREVIEW the 3D technology to the masses. Aside from the people who may get to view a 3-D trailer in front of another big tentpole movie in Imax theatres, the best that Fox can do is market this as a great movie with a captivating story and wonderful cgi FX and then plaster all print with "IN SPECTACULAR 3-D!" and hope for the best.

George on Dec 2, 2008


2d to 3d conversion isn't a bad way to approach it at all. There are so many complexities when filming in stereo. On top of that. What you see is what you get. You can't edit the stereo effects after it is shot With conversion, the director can film his movie like normal. Finalize his cut, and then go through the 3d conversion process. The director can have complete control of where things are placed on the screen.

Boofmiester on Dec 3, 2008


does anyone else think he sounds arrogant? we haven't seen frame one from this movie and he's already lauding himself as a pioneer...shouldn't that be our decision? i love the guy, but he's a known ass and this doesn't do anything for his image.

indiana on Dec 3, 2008


James Cameron will surpase the titanic box office recor, im sure of that. And indiana, eat a little of cocko nuts.

tomica la mantequilla on Dec 3, 2008


lol @ the james cameron fan boys knobbing their master even before a frame of this supposed masterpiece has been seen. let's wait until you actually see the film before declaring it to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, shall we? now, i'm a james cameron fan myself, but don't forget he also made that pile of dung "true lies" as well.

Tom on Dec 3, 2008


Alex, or anyone for that matter, does anyone know which company is producing and working on the 3D for Avatar and which studio is going to be distributing it?

David on Dec 3, 2008


" now, i'm a james cameron fan myself, but don't forget he also made that pile of dung "true lies" as well " Apparently this tard didn't realize that it was a spy spoof.

iseestupidpeople on Dec 3, 2008


True Lies is a pile of shit - even as a spy spoof. Before anyone starts sucking Jim Cameron's cock (although it seems many have already started early...), let's see a teaser; let's see some footage; let's see the completed movie before giving reacharounds. It sounds good in theory, but it's all concept at the moment.

avoidz on Dec 4, 2008


@iseestupidpeople hey you fucking moron, why the hell would true lies being a "spy spoof" exclude it from being a bad movie? following your idiotic reasoning, i guess any movie falling under the spoof category is automatically an ok movie and gets a free pass. "iseestupidpeople" eh? must be tough since you have to look yourself in the mirror every morning.

Tom on Dec 4, 2008


I actually liked True Lies... a big budget action film with comedy thrown in? That was after all the really super serious action films like Rambo 3.. it was a nice change of pace

George on Dec 4, 2008


i think the guy who hates great true lies movie has a low IQ!, is a real cocksucker asshole,he is a real pain in ass, iron jim will teminate them with his next AVATAR movie,let them suck! you better suck Indian M.night 's black dick you mother fucker.you dont have to watch movies like avatar,you better watch edwood movies because of you low IQ.

Babak on Dec 7, 2008


24fps stereoscopic filmed movies like Avatar on Blu-ray at full 1080p per eye will be amazing. 48fps stereoscopic movies on Blu-ray at full 1080p per eye would be twice as good as that!

John T. Logan on Mar 22, 2009


Heh, True Lies was something Jim cooked up in his summer cabbin during a holiday weekend. He was bored while prepping for his next big thing. And thats the truth 🙂

babyface joe on May 24, 2009


Hey. Help out a noob - which glasses would be best to watch Avatar with? http://www.3dglasses.net/3D%20Glasses.htm The ones at my local cinema are always dirty, and make things a lot darker (is this normal?)

Jenifer on Aug 22, 2009


---The long rich -decades stale -5x corrupted Cameron's latest piece of screensaver wampum for our techno circle-jerk audience. ---Hey kids! You run into Cameron and you want to get a quality rise out of him ----ask him about he and Hollywood generally collaborating with the direct and unrepentant heirs of the most awesome genocidal monsters the world has ever seen ----across the Pacific! TRUE TRUE ------TRUE! Anything for that cheap funding and ---especially, those VAST MARKET FAVORS ----eh Jim? ( 70 million murdered in 'peacetime' FACT ) ----------------------------------------------------------ANYTHING! Amen

nano X on Jan 13, 2010


6 March 2010 I saw Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND in IMAX 3-D at the 'TINSELTOWN' multiplex located in Rochester, NY yesterday. I am going to see it again at the same facility for the added midnight showing that the theater's management has scheduled today to accommodate the overflow crowds for this visceral cinematic experience!!! This is where I also saw AVATAR. Another fabulous IMAX 3-D event! In all honesty, it didn't matter to me that Mr. Cameron captured his original camera elements for AVATAR with specially designed 3-D cameras, or that Mr. Burton captured his original camera elements for ALICE IN WONDERLAND with 2-D cameras for upconversion to 3-D presentation through post production methods. When all is said and done, these are film directors' choices, not 'technical manifestos'. The bottom line is that both filmakers have scored wondrously with their epic 3-D productions. Both AVATAR and ALICE IN WONDERLAND underscore in full relief the very simple fact that the era of the '3-D CINEMA' has arrived. And that is a very good thing! And while I can understand Mr. Cameron's excitement and commitment to 3-D film technology to the degree that he has been involved, I would suggest to him that not only should he perhaps rethink his position on the 2-D upconversion to 3-D presentation, but also his apparent dislike for the continued use of analglyphic methods of 3-D presentation when appropriate. Of course, I (and I suspect many others) would be absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to see established TECHNICOLOR 2-D classics like GONE WITH THE WIND and THE WIZARD OF OZ upconverted to IMAX 3-D presentation with the polarized light method of 3-D glasses. I don't think director Victor Fleming would mind a bit in the least were this to happen. And by the same token, I (and I suspect many others) would be absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to purchase on BLU-RAY DISC established BLACK & WHITE 2-D classics like CASABLANCA or Walt Disney's THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR upconverted to 3-D for presentation on high defintion TV utilizing the anaglyphic method of 3-D glasses!!! I wear glasses/spectacles. Can anybody tell me where I might go to get my own personal eye glasses prescription in both a pair of polarized light 3-D glasses and a pair of analglyphic 3-D glasses? Certainly not yet at establishments like 'AMERICA'S BEST EYEGLASSES' or 'PEARL VISION'. Like I said, THE ERA OF 3-D CINEMA HAS ARRIVED.

William P. Johnson, Jr. on Mar 6, 2010

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