James Cameron is bravely pioneering “underwater motion-capture” for Avatar 2

According to producer Jon Landau, James Cameron plans to use a pioneering new cinematic technique for his Avatar sequels: underwater motion capture. It’s a brave step, but it’s important to remember: James Cameron doesn’t do what James Cameron does for James Cameron, James Cameron does what James Cameron does because James Cameron is James Cameron. Sing with me now:

His name is James, (James) Cameron, the bravest pioneer
No budget too steep, no sea too deep
Who’s that? It’s him! James Cam-er-on

Speaking at a technology in cinema conference, Landau said the Oscar-winning director proposed to make use of the process “because we can simulate it visually but can’t simulate it experientially for them”. Cameron has previously hinted at the possibility of exploring the oceans of Pandora, the forest moon setting for his 2009 3D box-office hit, in future films.

“We want to take advantage of the technologies brilliant people are putting out to make the next two movies even more emotionally engaging and visually tantalising, and to really wrap up the story arc of our two main characters,” Landau said on Sunday in a keynote speech at the 2013 NAB Technology Summit on Cinema in Las Vegas. He described the process as “performance capture in water”.

Cameron previously said he would shoot Avatar parts two and three back to back and release the films in December 2014 and 2015 respectively, though that timeline has begun to look optimistic. There is also talk of a fourth film that may manifest as a prequel. [Guardian via Deadline]

The technique has never been attempted before, as the 3D cameras and motion censors used in motion-capture 3D work are notoriously sensitive to water. The breakthrough, ironically, turned out to be a substance known as unobtanium, which makes the equipment impervious to water. The only trouble is, most of the world’s supply of unobtanium is buried deep beneath a giant shrubbery that the gentle cat-monkey people of the southern Amazon basin worship as their God when they’re not tail-raping flying horses.

MORE LIKE MOTION CAT-PTURE, AM I RIGHT YOU GUYS! Seriously though, someday, God willing, our children will be able to major in Underwater Motion-Capture at Oberlin.