The Avatar movies have become famous for pushing the boundaries of technology, and at one point Avatar: The Way of Water wanted to reimagine digital 3D even more impactfully than its predecessor. In November 2016, via IndieWire, Cameron spoke to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers about the importance of 3D and how it could improve in the future. In particular, he noted that digital 3D no longer needed to be inherently darker in image quality compared to film projected in 2D. Cameron’s solution to this perennial problem? 3D that could be experienced without glasses.
Ever since there was 3D in movies, since the days of Dial M for Murder and The Guardhouse, various forms of glasses have always been required to experience the third dimension. But with his next foray into 3D digital filmmaking, Cameron had high hopes of delivering a version of that technology that could finally do away with glasses and theoretically give moviegoers a brighter picture. While Cameron became famous for exceeding the odds and delivering the seemingly impossible in his filmmaking career, even he couldn’t make it happen. When The Water Path hit theaters in 2022, it was presented in traditional cinematic digital 3D, which required glasses to be properly experienced.