James Cameron Says 'Avatar' Sequels Will Use High Frame Rate "Sparingly"

The use of High Frame Rate has been a divisive issue among filmmakers and film fans. Some directors, such as Ang Lee who used it extensively on Gemini Man, see it as the next step in cinema's evolution Others find it to be a distraction best intended for limited use. Count James Cameron in the latter category, so don't expect to see a lot of HFR in his Avatar sequels.

Speaking with Collider, Cameron talked about the use of HFR in his upcoming Avatar films. Cameron is a filmmaker who has long been at the forefront of cutting edge technology, but he doesn't think there will be much of a place for the increased framerate in his movies...

“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 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", he added.

“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,” he said. “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 debate will rage on, I guess? Although it seems like the only person really pushing the HFR experience is Lee. Peter Jackson gave it a shot with his Hobbit films and audiences didn't really dig it. Maybe someday it'll become commonplace, but based on the performance of Gemini Man and the comments by Cameron, that could be a while.