Monday, January 11, 2010

The movie revolution

We saw Avatar last weekend, in 3-D Imax, which was quite remarkable. Being a human chauvinist, I found it a little difficult to get with the story line so that I could rejoice when the humans were trounced (whatever their nasty militaristic intentions were).

I see that Sony says they will be selling a 3-D TV this year. I think the way this will work is that the TV will run at double speed, showing left eye/right eye frames in succession. Viewers will need active glasses that black out one eye and then the other, synchronized by a signal from the TV. Presumably the TV will also be able to show just every second frame, so that you can watch it in 2-D if you don't have the special glasses.

Back to Avatar: I thought the Na'avi were astonishing. I quite forgot that they were computer-generated. Using real actors with dots on their faces so that the Na'avi figures could follow even subtle changes in expression made them seem very real.

This technology, especially the terrific 3-D, could and will be used to make great documentaries. The major strength of the computer simulation is however the realistic representation of humans (or humanoids). It won't be long, I predict, before we see an updated remake of, say, the 1957 movie 'To Catch a Thief,' starring excellent simulations of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. 

This is going to destroy the star system in Hollywood: very soon stars will no longer need to be beautiful, since their features will not appear. They will be mere moving templates for whatever characters the director wants.

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