Filmmaking pioneer James Cameron is set to remaster two of his most iconic titles. Both Titanic and Avatar are set to be released in 4K HDR with High Frame Rate (HFR), with a full theatrical run to accompany the remastered titles.
Lightstorm Entertainment, the production company owned by Cameron, is utilising Pixelworks’ TrueCut Motion platform to achieve these visual upgrades, although no specifications have been released as to what higher refresh rate we could see for these titles. With the standard cinematic refresh rate sitting at 24fps, this higher refresh rate could either refer to 48fps, notably used by Peter Jackson for The Hobbit trilogy, 60fps, or even 120fps, most recently used in Ang Lee’s Gemini Man.
HFR has its benefits when it comes to visual fidelity, helping to reduce judder and provide smoother motion to subjects on the screen. What's more, HDR can accentuate juddery subjects, and with practically every TV worth buying coming with HDR as standard these days, HFR might have some unexplored benefits when it comes to home cinema use. Pixelworks’ TrueCut Motion allows filmmakers to adjust their films at a granular level, changing motion blur and frame rates on a scene-by-scene basis; this should hopefully enhance the cinematic experience without opening the door to the dreaded soap opera effect.
With Avatar: The Way of Water finally releasing this year, over 13 years after the original Avatar, this could be the perfect excuse to rewatch the first movie in preparation for the long awaited sequel. It was (and still is) a revolution in visual effects so it's exciting to see where it can be taken further; although it is worth noting that high refresh rate films often receive mixed reactions due to how audiences respond to faster and smoother motion.
Titanic is also on the cusp of a major milestone, celebrating its 25th anniversary next year so we can hazard a guess that his new remastered version may release to coincide with that. While Avatar’s fast paced action may suit a higher refresh rate, it will certainly be interesting to see if the slower pace of Titanic will work for these visual enhancements.
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