There are very, very, verrrrrry few filmmakers quite like James Cameron. Remove his actual movies from the equation, remove their budgets and their plots and their box office records. As noteworthy as those things are, we're not even talking about that stuff. We're talking about the technical side of Cameron's craft. This is a guy who doesn't just use movie magic, he invents it..
That's why Cameron was just awarded an honorary membership into the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, a group that represents those who make the science behind a filmmaker's tools possible. Cameron accepted the honor recently, and in doing so reaffirmed to his fellow engineers (via Indiewire) his commitment to making the Avatar sequels as boundary pushing as possible.
This included the expected talk of making sure it was made with high dynamic range (HDR, basically a means of delivering a brighter color spectrum) in mind, as well as with a high frame rate (HFR). While HDR is already catching on with TV manufacturers, audiences seem incredibly reluctant to jump on the HFR bandwagon. Peter Jackson's 48 frames-per-second experiment with The Hobbit films were mostly rejected by audiences, and early reviews of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk's use of 120 frames per second are similarly disenchanted.
But Cameron has one more trick up his sleeve he's hoping will be ready for Avatar 2 and beyond: 3D without the glasses. He didn't specify in his talk how exactly this would be achieved in a movie theater, but it's certainly something that's already being worked on by several different companies. Toshiba already has a glasses-free 3D TV on the market, and even Apple wants in on glasses-free 3D. If you're curious about how that'll work, you can watch the below MIT video, which is full of the kind of techno-babble that people like James Cameron feast on.
Avatar 2 is currently expected to hit theaters Christmas of 2018.