AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER PRODUCTION.
VERSIONS Avatar 2: The Way of Water was released on 6 December in 160 languages worldwide
SLOW WORK Rendering was carried out at Weta FX’s data centre, supplemented by AWS. At certain times, all available Australian AWS data centres were in use for the rendering of the film
SELLING THE SCENE “Anyone could spend an infinite amount of time and be shot-perfect on-set and in-camera,” explains Trieu. But that’s not the reality of moviemaking. “A good director or DOP knows what’s an easy fix in post-production,” he adds. “They get their image to a place where they’re comfortable and know that they can get it the rest of the way through digital colour correction. By partnering with a colourist who sees eye to eye with them, and who can interpret their direction well, they can really bring their vision to life in a way that they couldn’t necessarily do before the advent of digital colour correction.” Trieu explains how it was a massive challenge creating the underwater world. Luckily, both he and Cameron are more than comfortable with ocean life. “I have experience as a scuba diver and Jim’s been under the water more than
“Establishing the sense that we’re seeing through a big volume of water is hard to do sometimes. There needs to be a visual difference between a small fish that’s up close and a big one that’s far away, that works even without other depth cues. We demonstrate that depth in colour correction – through gamma-ing up the image a little bit and giving it that milky airiness, we really sell the volume of water we’re seeing through. Making it more and more blue, rather than letting warmer hues or a vibrant spectrum of colours through, sells depth and volume as well. It gives the sense that real-world spectral filtration is happening, so we feel we’re looking through millions of gallons of water rather than a small aquarium.” FRAMING THE QUESTION Another major challenge Trieu and his team faced was working in high frame rates. As not many people he knew
anyone in the world,” he says. “We both know what real water looks like. A lot of people on Earth have been underwater and have experienced what those environments look like. Even though Pandora is a world we haven’t been to, it has to be realistic and believable. It takes a certain amount of nuance to get it just right, so that people believe it’s the real thing that was photographed. That’s the amazing thing about this movie.” Besides live-action shots of Spider (played by Jack Champion) and other human characters, almost everything the audience sees is performance capture and computer-generated water. So, how does a colourist help to ensure digital water looks real? “We had to sell the depth of the water and volume of the space,” Trieu explains. “That creates something audiences will see as physical characters, underwater in a real world.
47. MARCH 2023
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