, creative directorJames Cameron
, Lightstorm Entertainment, developersStephen Allen
, quality assuranceBrian Phraner
, technology directorAleen Adams
, interactive producerScott Snibbe
, executive producerBrooks Peck
, curatorBridget Jennings
, project managerChristina Orr-Cahall
, executive directorEMP Musuem
, project design and developmentEMP Museum
"Insight into the world behind the magic of flimmaking. Avatar is a powerful movie, filled with new techniques and technologies, and the ability to step into the character's shoes and experience the 'behind the scenes' merging of live-action with an animated environment is amazing."—juror Kelly Goto
"A magical, immersive experience that never lets on how much work went into it." —juror Kim Rees
Overview: Part of Avatar: The Exhibition at the EMP Museum, this exhibit provides a sense of how filmmaking is changing the way performers and filmmakers work by replicating the real-time performance capture of Avatar’s actors. During the production of the movie, director James Cameron used a virtual camera to move within and capture Pandora’s three-dimensional landscape. Instead of donning cumbersome motion-capture suits, natural user interface technologies are used to capture the movements of visitors who step into SocialStage’s glowing room. Visitors can create their own unique versions of scenes with the 3-D material that visual artists created for the film.
• From concept to completion, the project took five months.
• The exhibit included SocialScreen, a platform for visitors to wander through Pandora’s environment; and SocialTable Touch, an interactive table of trivia, images and video from the movie.
• Integrated sharing technology enables visitors to take home or share a video of their experience.
Comments by Graham Plumb:
How did time constraints affect your final solution? "We had to design and engineer four Avatar exhibits within five months—a crucial interval as it was important to capitalize on the audience's memory of the movie. We were aided by use of Cameron's actual digital files from the film, but working with this produced its own challenges, primarily in terms of processing power and bolstering stability of the system to withstand near-constant usage."
Were there any specific demands that made the project easier or harder? "Since audiences everywhere were familiar with Avatar, the film, we were compelled to adhere to its aesthetic context while creating a genuine, museum-grade interactive experience. We wanted to avoid simply molding a 'theme park attraction.' With SocialStage, we were recreating an activity that normally requires engineers, 170 cameras, motion capture suits and thousands of cubic feet. Obviously, we streamlined our approach to make it user-friendly for an all-ages audience that regularly reaches hundreds a day."