The Cinematography of Avatar and Titanic

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Avatar and Titanic: A Comparison of Cinematography


Avatar and Titanic are both highly recognized Hollywood movies which attracted a considerable viewership both during their release and after that. Although they may seem similar based on their general popularity, the two have significant differences in some cinema languages. This paper looks into the significant differences in narrative cinematography and structure between movies Avatar and Titanic.

Titanic: Lighting Techniques and Symbolism

Titanic employed the use of lighting to create realistic scenes of a cruise experience. Variation in light intensity was very crucial in determining the mood of each scene. When Jack meets Rose, she about commits suicide by jumping into the ocean, lightening smirks which frighten her to the point of almost toppling down, throughout the movie, the producer made use of varying light intensity to suit specific moods of the scenes. There is extensive use of sunlight which makes the scenes look more natural. Low-key light gave the movie an overall dark complexion. Their varying light intensities provided deep shadows thus creating a sharp contrast between bright and dull scenes. Right from when the Titanic had sunk, dull moonlight and faint torches were used to create an emphasis on the desperateness of the situation which seems mysterious to the audience. Comparison of lighting between scenes before and after sinking or the Titanic is a clear illustration of a tragedy (Park and Duk 13).

The movie is based on Rose and Jack, the two main characters. By use of lighting, unique scenes during the turmoil were well captured especially when the two stood at the stern captured the love they had for each other. In a desperate search for a way to save their lives, the producer shines some more light among this couple that made natural shadows of the two making selfless for one another. The varying light helped enhance the idea of tragedy which had befallen the great Titanic while a spotlight on the two helped the viewer keep the focus on the two main characters. These different lighting techniques altogether play an essential role in developing various moods used in the movie and help the audience better feel the doom that came with Titanic's sinking (Park and Duk 16).

Avatar: Revolutionary Cinematography

When the Avatar was produced in 2009, it was not only another theatrical release but also a force of nature. Avatar brought a new revolution in motion captures and 3D productions in Hollywood. It is, therefore, no surprise that the movie won a couple of highly coveted awards such as the Oscar and Academy awards. The movie was nominated and won in many categories, but the most intriguing is the Academy Award in Cinematography. Avatar is almost entirely computer generated, with 80% being digital effects and many of its scenes are essentially animation (Cook and David 120).

The movie stands high in cinematography by the use of a 3D camera to bring the world of the avatar into reality. It's among the most advanced camera techniques ever used in films. The camera was designed in over 13 years to bring alien imaginations into life. The ability to shoot a film in 3D allowed James, the director, to record the few live acted scenes in a manner that mimics the human eye. The camera can capture an image in two levels of lenses adjacent to each other thus creating a 3D effect.

Just like in Titanic, James created a beautiful background by use of lighting. The exceptional clarity at which background details were captured is facilitated by the use of bright lighting to display the nature of the avatar planet. The imaginary thought of avatar plants swaying side by side by wind and people passing-by was captured. Plants, sky and the stars produce colorful light spectrums; the light did not make them too shiny to see but slightly crowned them with ideal beauty. Through lighting, the light scenes were adequately contrasted from daytime scenes enhancing viewers grasp on key events in the new planet. The use of light here is synergetic to enhancing the scene he created (Cook and David 99).

However, unlike in the Titanic where lighting variation was the main cinematographic technique, James used many other methods. There was an unmatched use of detailing in the movie to create a realistic scene and proper understanding of his imagination. The objects here were vital in creating the mood for any scene.

Works Cited


Cook, David A. A history of narrative film. WW Norton & Company, 2016.

Park, Byungchul, and Duk Hee Lee. "The Interplay between Real Money Trade and Narrative         Structure in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games." International Journal of          Computer Games Technology 2017 (2017).

September 25, 2023




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