The Avatar Sequels Will Bypass A Recent Filmmaking Fad


Attempts to make high frame rate (HFR) filmmaking mainstream go all the way back to the ’50s, but HFR as we know it today was largely pioneered by special effects maestro Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey) in the late ‘70s when he developed the process known as Showscan. There are many reasons this format never took off—for one, it offers a clarity of movement that’s somewhat unappealing to the human eye—but in recent years, filmmakers like Peter Jackson (The Hobbit) and Ang Lee (Gemini Man) have attempted to revive HFR—with mixed results. In a recent roundtable interview for the release of Terminator: Dark Fate, James Cameron explained why he has chosen not to embrace this format on the Avatar sequels.

“I’ve seen some clips from Gemini Man,” he explained. “I haven’t seen the picture yet because I’m down here in New Zealand. I’m interested to see it. I mean, I have a personal philosophy around high frame rate, which is that it is a specific solution to specific problems having to do with 3D. And when you get the strobing and the jutter of certain shots that pan or certain lateral movement across frame, it’s distracting in 3D. And to me, it’s just a solution for those shots. I don’t think it’s a format. That’s just me personally. I know Ang doesn’t see it that way. I don’t think it’s like the next 70 millimetre or the next big thing. I think it’s a tool to be used to solve problems in 3D projection. And I’ll be using it sparingly throughout the Avatar films, but they won’t be in high frame rate.”

You still have a couple years to wait for Avatar 2, but Terminator: Dark Fate arrives in theatres on November 1. Check out the trailer below.