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James Cameron buys 50 Red Epic-M cameras, probably for Avatar sequels

james-cameronJames Cameron seems to be getting himself set before he goes into production on the next Avatar movie. A pair of upcoming sequels to the 2009 sci-fi hit were confirmed late last year, with stated plans to drop Avatar 2 in 2014 and Avatar 3 in 2015. He shot the initial movie using a set of Sony HD cameras and, for the 3D, a modified version of the 3D digital Fusion Camera System, which he developed with Vince Pace. It seems he might be going with one of the increasingly popular offerings from Jim Jannard’s Red Digital Cinema Camera Company for the two sequels.

In a brief post on the company’s REDUSER discussion forums, Jannard wrote: “Jim Cameron buys… 50 EPIC-Ms. An official announcement to follow.” That announcement hasn’t yet followed, but the purpose of the purchase, part of it anyway, seems clear enough. Maybe Cameron has big plans for a relative’s upcoming wedding, but the more likely conclusion here is that he intends to use some or all of these cameras for the Avatar sequels.

Cameron picked up Red’s Epic-M cameras, which are reported to run for roughly $58,000 apiece. They shoot at a 5K resolution — the top of what’s out there right now — which means that when Avatar: The Big Huge Special Edition Trilogy box set comes out for whatever the reigning high-def home video format will be in 2020, it won’t look like crap on your futureTV.

Cameron joins a small yet growing group of other filmmakers who will be the first to make magic happen with Red’s Epic-M line. Peter Jackson nabbed 30 of them for his upcoming two-part telling of The Hobbit. Steven Soderbergh used them for his 2011-releasing ensemble action flick Contagion. Red will also be used for Ridley Scott‘s Alien prequel/spin-off/whatever Prometheus and Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man.