Thrilling Avatar 2 video reveals how underwater action was filmed

A new video shows how the stunt team of "Avatar: Way of Water" used performance capture technology to bring the film's jaw-dropping action scenes to life.

The new "Avatar: Way of Water" feature film shows how the film's epic underwater CGI action scenes were brought to life using practical performance capture stunts. Thirteen years after the release of the original film, director James Cameron returns to the world of Pandora with "Avatar: The Way of Water," a sequel that continues Jack (Sam Worthington) Erdana) and their new family. The film tells the story of the Sully family fleeing their forest home after the human army returns to Pandora. Avatar: The Way of Water won critical acclaim from audiences and critics alike, who especially praised the film's jaw-dropping visuals and action.

Although much of the motion that ended up on screen in Avatar: Way of Water was generated in a computer, a new feature on the Avatar YouTube channel (shared via IndieWire) shows how performance capture was used to bring the film to life. Worthington, Saldanha and the rest of the cast filmed most of the performance themselves, but the video clearly shows that a very talented stunt team led by stunt coordinator Garrett Warren went to great lengths to capture more dangerous part of the movie or intricate sequences. In addition to more traditional stunts like fights and falls, the feature reveals advanced tech gear built from scratch to serve as ikrans, ilus, and other wild animals of Pandora for character interaction. Watch the video below:

Why The Way Of Water's CGI Looks So Good

Cameron's first Avatar, released in 2009, redefined what CGI looked like in film, bringing entire planets to life, including many flora and fauna, to a level never before possible. Avatar: Way of Water significantly ups the ante once again, presenting environments and characters that often look photoreal and rendered in incredible detail. Cameron’s obsession with performance capture ultimately made Avatar: The Way of Water’s CGI more than anything else, aside from the technological advancements, patents, and individual artist skills used to create the film’s visual effects.

Actors such as Worthington, Saldaña, Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Flatters, and Britain Dalton in Avatar: Way of Water do most of the work on-screen as their characters, except they wear performance-capture Clothes. From crossing the Pandora rainforest to fighting, hugging, swimming, And Fly, most of the on-screen action scenes are performed by real actors behind them, which helps inject more emotion into the characters and sells the whole experience as "real." For Avatar: Way of Water, Cameron decided to use performance capture technology to shoot underwater scenes in huge tanks, and the real selling point was the way the characters moved and interacted with the water in a realistic way.

What "Avatar: Way of Water" really proves is that while technology will continue to improve and CGI will get closer and closer to real life, it's the performance of an actor or stunt performer that's really what's needed to sell emotion, movement, and humanity. Avatar: The Way of Water continues to soar at the box office, and audiences are now all but guaranteed to see the Sully family story in a third, fourth and fifth film, sure to feature even more impressive stunts acting work.

More: What Avatar 2 Really Was Explained 2 of the Most Confusing Twists in the Way of Water

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