When the first Avatar (2009) film debuted over ten years ago, it was a technological marvel. Watching the movie on the big screen, audiences could see every little detail due to the crystal clear image, and that was a big deal.
Although audiences knew that the movie was mostly animated, not everybody knew that each actor and actress playing an avatar or a Na’vi character was acting in front of a camera.
Through the use of motion capture, James Cameron captured authentic performances while animators took the motion-captured footage and brought every character to life.
However, with a filming process as complex as James Cameron’s Avatar, there’s still much to find out, even over a decade later.
With the recent release and subsequent success of Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), many fans are curious about the filming process of both movies.
It’s been said that James Cameron had written the Avatar sequel but had to wait nearly a decade for the technology required to film it. After hearing a rumor like that, who wouldn’t want to know more about the behind-the-scenes of these movies?
While fans wait for Avatar: The Way of Water to be released alongside bonus features and behind-the-scenes footage, they turn to the first film. One clip, in particular, has recently gone viral, and it shows something barely anyone knew about the motion capture process.
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In this TikTok, we can see behind-the-scenes footage of the scene in which Neytiri teaches Jake to ride a horse. However, many of us never realized that real horses were used to capture the performances of the alien horses in the film, bringing a sense of authenticity to the screen.
Here is a longer clip from the full film, showing the exact scene being filmed in this behind-the-scenes snippet.
So that’s how James Cameron’s team got the alien horses to look so lifelike!