A conversation with Oscar winning producer Jon Landau highlighted the NAB Technology Summit on Cinema, co-produced by SMPTE. The Sunday session was moderated by Variety's David S. Cohen.
During the discussion Landau covered a range of topics, including:
--The Avatar sequels will include underwater performance capture
“We want to take advantage of technology to make the next two movies even more emotionally engaging and visually tantalising and to wrap up the story arc of our two main characters,” said Landau. “We have kept a team of digital artists on from Avatar in order to test how we can create performance capture underwater. We could simulate water [in computer graphics] but we can't simulate the actor's experience so we are going to capture performance in a tank.”
--On High Frame Rates
“Nobody should dictate to a filmmaker whether they should make films at 24, 48 or 60fps since the technology now exists and can be presented with the same cinema equipment.”
--On the 3D market
“3D is an evolutionary not revolutionary and it will take time to come to market. But look at Russia and China where the 3D screens market is phenomenal. In emerging markets communities are going to theaters for the first time and are experiencing film in 3D – that's what they think of as a cinema experience. To show them a 2D presentation is a step back from them.”
--On 2D-to-3D conversion
“It will never be a comparable choice to native 3D shooting,” said Landau. “As good as conversion can get, it's two and three quarters 3D and never true 3D.”
--On Technology’s Impact on Storytelling
“Stories that could be conceived a few years ago could not be realized because the technology did not exist. Now, if someone can dream it, someone can find a way to realize it. But let's not to lose sight of why people go to the movies. They don't watch for technology they watch because they make an emotional connection to a story.
He added: “We all go the theater and suspend our disbelief even while we are see live actors performing on stage. Perhaps the role of the director working at high frame rates and higher resolutions will have to evolve to be more like that of a stage director.”