There’s a new trailer out for Avatar: The Way of Water, the upcoming film from James Cameron that is also the sequel to the highest-grossing movie of all time. It’s as visually spectacular as you’d expect while also diving a bit deeper into the family-first story at the heart of the film. Here it is — it’s fun!
However you feel about Avatar as a story (if you even remember the story at all), there’s no denying the technical achievements Cameron and his crew pulled off to make these movies happen. And in an excellent new GQ profile, Cameron explains the AI, algorithms, entirely new cameras, and all sorts of other tech behind this one:
HERE IS THE TRAILER
Cameron and his team also built a new camera system with Sony’s Venice cameras, which basically just bolts multiple high-end cameras together to create a stereoscopic 3D system. A few years ago, Cameron specifically praised the cameras’ high dynamic range. Cameron apparently also figured out how to shoot and do motion capture simultaneously above and below the water.
Cameron is famous for essentially being a combination of inventor and director on most of his sets — for the first Avatar movie, for instance, he built a camera rig that let him see characters in their CG environments in real time as he was shooting. He’s also known for having… strong feelings about technology and filmmaking. He was an early proponent of 3D, for instance, but has had harsh things to say about how others have used the technology.
In the GQ profile, Cameron says all this new tech has been a huge amount of work — there’s a great moment where Cameron sees version four hundred and five of a single effects shot — and is a big reason the movie is both incredibly expensive and incredibly late. (And this is only the second of five Avatar movies he’s making, the fourth of which Cameron says is going to be the really wild one.) It’s a fun story with great details, but the most relatable moment comes when Cameron stands in front of a mixing board in a screening room and can’t figure out how to tweak the audio: