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James Cameron confirms Battle Angel Alita, hints at Avatar 2

Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on August 4, 2009

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By David Bentley – CoventryTelegraph.net

August 21 is Avatar Day, when 15 minutes of James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi movie will be screened in all IMAX venues so everyone has chance to see what all the fuss is about and judge whether it is going to change the landscape of cinema forever.

It looks like it could do just that, because the film is already beginning to pave the way for new projects.

Cameron is planning to convert Titanic into 3D next year, and possibly also Terminator 2, while his 3D company is to work with director Paul W.S. Anderson on Resident Evil: Afterlife which starts filming in September.

And he revealed at Comic-Con that his next new film project is likely to be battle angel alitathe long-awaited Battle Angel Alita, based on the popular manga series originally published in Jump magazine.

Cameron has now elaborated in a further interview, saying the technology developed for Avatar makes Battle Angel Alita much more feasible to achieve.

The comic book is set in a 26th-century, dystopian USA and centres on a discarded cyborg rescued from a scrapyard by a scientist called Daisuke Ido.

Ido revives and rebuilds the cyborg, who has no memory of her previous life but finds she has an intuitive knowledge of martial arts and becomes a hunter-warrior. She becomes involved in investigating the mysteries of a city called Tiphares that floats above the scrapyard .

Cameron told MTV: “I think Battle Angel will be very straightforward based on what we know right now [from Avatar].

“There are actually three technologies we designed from scratch for this movie. One was the fusion 3D camera system, which would have a big role in Battle Angel because it’s more live-action by proportion. The other one is the facial performance capture, which would allow us to create Alita that way.”

And he said the third and most important technological advancement was probably the Simulcam – “a real-time tracking system that used the motion-capture infrastructure on a live action stage, so that when I look through the eyepiece of my 3D camera, I see the set extensions as they will be.”

GoreMaster Makeup Effects ManualHe added: “We can even bring in CG characters in real-time, meaning actor-to-actor, meaning somebody’s acting a CG character over here and I’m seeing him in my eyepiece interacting with an actor in a live-action shot.

“That’s never happened before,” he said. “For Battle Angel that’ll be critical, or for any other film – maybe Avatar 2 – whatever else we film.”

While Battle Angel Alita has been in the pipeline for some considerable time, it’s the first time I’ve heard mention of an Avatar 2.

Does this mean Avatar will leave the door open for a sequel? Do we detect an Avatar trilogy being planned by Cameron or studio executives? It should certainly be a faster (and less expensive) process the next time round, now that all the research and development has been done.

It’s also worth considering whether more films would benefit from being in 3D and from using Cameron’s advanced CGI technology.

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