“Avatar” receives highest rating from American Humane Assoc. for use of animals

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BY STAFF

The American Humane Association monitored the use of animals during the filming of the hit movie “Avatar,” and gave it the highest rating – “Monitored: Outstanding.” The use of animals in “Avatar” has not been highlighted at all, rather ignored as all the attention has been on the motion graphics of the characters themselves.

The American Humane Association describes the process of using the animals and capturing their movements for the movie:

“This film was created using motion capture technology, in which performers wear miniature computerized motion sensors near joints and facial areas to capture the movements and facial muscle nuances that occur with each gesture, motion or expression. The live action was performed in a motion capture studio covered in dark fabric and carpet (called a ‘void’) and then recorded as computer animation data, which was then mapped onto a computerized 3-D model. In this technology, humans wear a bodysuit for the ‘capture,’ but animals need to be ‘captured’ differently because of their body shapes, fur and other characteristics. To prepare the animals for having their motion data recorded, trainers shaved small areas of fur or hair where the movements would be recorded, such as near joints and on the face. Velcro pads were attached to the shaved spots with a nontoxic, nonirritating silicone adhesive. White light-reflective balls were placed onto the Velcro to capture the motion data onto the computer. The exception to this was horses’ tails, which were not shaved, but wrapped in a sensor-laden material. The adhesive and any additional markings were washed off each evening after filming ended.
“Throughout the film, horses are seen outdoors standing or being ridden at a walk, canter or gallop. We also see people mounting, dismounting and falling off horses. These scenes were all filmed inside the capture studio. Horses were given ample room to start and stop running. …For scenes in which horses appear to be near fire, trainers cued them to ‘dance’ or act skittish or afraid — the horses were not actually agitated nor were they ever near fire.”

Wow, now we know how they looked so realistic.

To read more go to The American Humane Association.

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One Comment

  • February 4, 2010 | Permalink |

    Fantastic James Cameron. We need more people like you to make sure animals are treated with respect. Bravo!

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