“Avatar” Sequel Won’t Be In HFR… Mostly

Filmmaker James Cameron is still hard at work on his “Avatar” sequels, but the celebrated director has taken some brief time out to discuss them whilst promoting “Terminator: Dark Fate” opening next week.

Collider asked Cameron about his thoughts on the just released “Gemini Man,” its use of high frame rate (HFR) and if that would be employed on the “Avatar” sequels.

While the first film was noted for its use of 3D, there has been speculation Cameron would shoot “Avatar 2” at higher frame rates as well. That’s not the case says Cameron, but he won’t be sticking with 24 frames-per-second constantly either – suggesting rather we’ll see VFR (variable film rate) employed instead with the number of frames increasing depending upon the scene:

“I’ve seen some clips from Gemini Man. 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 millimeter 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. But I am curious to see what they came up with.

To me, the more mundane the subject, two people talking in the kitchen, the worse it works, because you feel like you’re in a set of a kitchen with actors in makeup it. That’s how real it is, you know? But I think when you’ve got extraordinary subjects that are being shot for real, or even through CG, that hyper-reality actually works in your favor. So to me, it’s a wand that you wave in certain moments and use when you need it. It’s an authoring tool.”

The first of the “Avatar” sequels remains on track for a December 17th 2021 release.