Waterway gives a cup to some of the spectators

The sometimes confusing effects of 3D have been known for a long time. The use of an alternating frequency between 24 and 48 images per second is equally disturbing to a part of the public.

Fascinating images, to the point of embarrassment. Released in December Avatar: Waterway conquers the global box office and captivates millions of viewers from his sense of grand spectacle and his magical compositions. There are many superlatives to praise this second part of the fetish saga James Cameron. The film definitely stands out. A lot, maybe. Amidst an ocean of sensational comments, a few voices rose to raise the concern felt before the 3:12 feature film.

“I had pain in my eyes and then in my head while watching the movie in 3D. Wearing prescription glasses under normal glasses is still uncomfortable“, he says aftershave a female viewer after watching the last one Avatar, noting that the length of the show turned the entertainment into a Stations of the Cross. On the Internet, other testimonies stick to the strange appearance of this “ecological fable”. The movie is great, but it also has a cruel look to it.complained one user on the Reddit forum. With every quick move, everything seemed wrong.” Two types of reactions that have their source in the technique ofAvatar: The Path of Water.

Is it the 3D’s fault? When the first movie was released Avatarin 2009, three-dimensional viewing – highly recommended by marketing – was subject to increase room equipment and a enthusiasm for this technique put at the service of diving. But she had also left some spectators aside. The effects of 3D, in particular the “motion sickness” it can cause, have been known for a long time; an article from New York Times of February 2010 recalled that it was difficult to avoid this technology trap. However, with Avatar: Waterway, the same concern seems to affect the 2D sessions of the film as well. By what sad miracle? The answer would not lie in the extra dimensions, but in the extra images.

SEE ALSO – James Cameron’s Avatar 2: ‘The Green Side’ Is Honest According to Vincent Jolly

Two images for the price of one

Among the string of technical innovations that it carries within it, the second part of the saga Avatar surfs a system not yet widely used in cinema: the technology of High frame rate (HFR). This consists of increasing the frame rate per second (IPS, also known as FPS, for frames per second) of the film. Instead of the 24 FPS that has been the standard cinema frame rate for nearly a century, the new Avatar so it is studied with sequences at 48 frames per second.

Some feature films have already used this technology. In the 1970s and 1980s, a prototype called Showscan made it possible to stream some movies at 60 FPS. Recently, Peter Jackson had chosen to broadcast his trilogy from The Hobbit at 48 FPS. And in 2019, taking the vice even further, Ang Lee released ​​​​​​​in 120 FPS Gemini man with Will Smith. Outside of cinema, the high frame rate of 60 FPS has also become a benchmark in the video game industry.

The HFR variable used in the Avatar: Waterway it’s supposed to emphasize immersion and a sense of speed during action scenes, according to the film’s production. The Walt Disney Company, 20th Century Studios

For movies, the interest of HFR consists in emphasizing the impression of fluidity of the image. During a video intervention at the Busan International Film Festival in October, James Cameron emphasized “The sense of increased presence“and “hyperrealism” what HFR offers“especially underwater or aerial scenes.” The technology also makes it possible to improve the comfort of watching a 3D movie, precisely reducing the nausea and floating sensations that these sessions can cause. And how some viewers felt about the first one Avatar. “Thanks to 3D, (…) and high frame rates, we can present a higher quality image today than that ofAvatar…and until now”, this is what the manufacturer says Water StreetJon Landau at the film’s press kit.

However, HFR is not without its flaws. The complaint most often leveled is related to the too-real, too-fluid aspect of the images. “Technology goes against the suspension of disbelief that a director normally seeks to instill in a film”he explains CNBC Richard Miller, technology manager at Pixelworks, a company specializing in the production of displays and video distribution systems. “It really only works at 24 FPS”, he adds, comparing the system with the settings of some modern televisions, configured for sports broadcasts or documentaries. “It’s almost unconscious, you tell yourself it doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t look like a movie.”

Cinemas must be adequately equipped to broadcast a film in HFR. A detail that caused some problems when it came outAvatar: Waterwayespecially in Japan. The Walt Disney Company, 20th Century Studios

To this is added one last detail that is important: Avatar it is not fully in HFR, but in variable HFR. This means that the feature film alternates sequences at 24 FPS – for fairly frozen scenes and dialogues – with passages at 48 FPS – as soon as there is movement or an action scene. However, some of the public is more sensitive than others to the dynamic back and forth between the two frame rates.

SEE ALSO – James Cameron in Figaro: “In Avatar 2, I’m nervous and proud”

Hyperfluidity vs. Hypersensitivity

“The constant change in frequency is quite disturbing, it completely took me out of the movie and any enjoyment I could have gotten from it.”writes American journalist Jenna Busch, in a column for specialized media cut filmevoking fragments of scenes that seem to speed through the middle of a normal sequence—a highway to a migraine. “Everything seems impossible to follow as our eyes constantly adjust”she adds. “Is it the effect of 48 frames per second or a malfunction of the 3D glasses, the terrible feeling of watching HD TV in interpolation image mode is repeated”also notes Nicolas Schaller, in his review of the film for Obs . Especially upset cinema videographer Durendal he didn’t even mince words. “It was one of the worst cinemas of my life.that hammer. Every time we went back to a 24 FPS shot, I thought the projector was stuttering, (…) like a messed up video game.”

Another pitfall, the hyperfluidity obtained from the increased frame rate would also result in a greater risk of motion sickness or motion sickness – better known as motion sickness. Disruption had already limited the growth of 3D in recent years and virtual reality. or study by LudoTIC, who specializes in ergonomics, noted in 2016 a correlation – in the case of using a virtual reality headset – between the feeling of nausea and the duration of looking at one point. In other words: in an HFR film, the eye focuses on twice as many images per second as in a normal film, which increases the risk of motion sickness.

Small consolation: the technical prowess of Water Street it did not only test the eyes of the spectators. They also burdened some cinemas. With HFR requiring special equipment, problems plagued the film’s worldwide release. In Japan, the projection ofAvatar so it ended in a shipwreck in several rooms. The hearings have been cancelled, he reports Bloomberg, while some multiplexes eventually broadcast the film in a normal 24 FPS version. With half the images per second, maybe, but also with less problems.

SEE ALSO – Avatar 2: “Behind this flood of resources, there is a soul,” says Vincent Jolly

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