January 6, 2010

'Avatar' Math

I just now heard Sigourney Weaver tell David Letterman that each frame of 'Avatar' was slaved over for 47 hours by digital producers, artists, and compositors. If that's true, then this is how it breaks down.

Total runtime = 160 minutes
multiplied by
Number of seconds per minute = 60 seconds
multiplied by
Number of frames per second = 24 frames/second
Total number of frames = 230,400 frames
mutliplied by
47 hours of work per frame = 10,828,800 person-hours expended

That's the same as working every second of every day for 14 months straight! (In reality, the film occupied 800 artists for a couple of years.)

Of course, I'm sure the number of 47 hours per frame was decided using a completely different set of criteria. Still, you wonder how editors John Refoua, Stephen E. Rivkin, and Cameron himself could orphan anything that had had that much love poured into it.

The film is stunning to look at and listen to in every conceivable way; alas, it is so in love with itself that it's awash in its own jingoism. So it's too bad that with all it has going for it, it still doesn't have anything to say.