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Sony HD Cameras Bring 'Avatar' to Life in 3D

Sony Electronics - 12/14/2009

The human outpost on Pandora, remotely controlled biological bodies and the Na'vi civilization all form the story of the much-anticipated blockbuster "Avatar." To bring these elements to life in a visually immersive 3D experience, the moviemakers used Sony high-definition digital cinematography cameras.

The movie combines live action sequences with state-of-the-art special effects and, according to the production teams, the Sony cameras were the right choice to deliver the story's vision.

Vince Pace, veteran cinematographer and 3D technology expert, co-developed the 3D camera rigs, which use Sony cameras specially modified for the movie's requirements for stereoscopic image capture and production.

"Avatar" used eight Sony HDC-F950 cameras for primary acquisition. Additionally, Sony HDC-1500 cameras captured speed shots during live action, with the then recently available F23 camera also used for specific shots.

"It was important that the actual shooting of the movie wasn't impacted by the fact we were doing it in 3D, and these cameras allowed us to do that," said Pace. "They allowed us to create a unique and completely immersive 3-D experience. I don't think it could have been done any other way."

Pace noted that his goal was to create a shooting system that could do both 2D and 3D without impacting the creative direction of the film or disrupting the actors' performances. The Sony cameras delivered the ideal combination of 2/3-inch image quality and on-the-set flexibility that enabled them to go from handheld to a techno crane to Steadicam at a moment's notice.

"This movie is the result of nearly four years of production, with Vince and his team modifying the Sony camera systems, and continually refining the technology," said Rob Willox, director of Sony Electronics' content creation group. "What movie-goers will see on the screen represents the pinnacle of 3-D technology, and the unique 3-D views are the direct result of the Sony camera systems."

The Sony cameras were put to the test in a range of shooting conditions: jungle and action sequences, as well as soundstage work for the interaction with the CG characters.

"We knew we could achieve the creative look we wanted with these cameras based on our testing and previous experiences," Pace said. "Sony's CineAlta brand and the performance of these camera systems are very well-known and very powerful. The one thing we didn't want to do was compromise the 2D in the quest for 3D. With these cameras, we were able to tell the story we wanted, in the best way possible."

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SOURCE: Sony Electronics

CONTACT: Tom Di Nome, Sony Electronics, +1-201-930-6357

Web Site: http://www.sony.com/news