Thousands of props made in NZ for upcoming Avatar sequel

The upcoming Avatar sequel is expected to take visual effects to the next level, but what's not widely known is the work that still goes into the handcrafted props behind the tech wizardry.

Thousands of items from arrows to daggers and heavy artillery were made for the film to help bring the magical world of Pandora to life.

An unexpected level of craftsmanship and detail has gone into the props for this visual effects behemoth.

Prop master Melissa Spicer pointed out the character Neytiri's arrows, which had to be aged with moss so as to fit the storyline.

She said the exacting standards of director James Cameron meant everyone lifted their prop-making game.

"The level that's expected on a film like Avatar is about as good as you're ever going to get," Spicer said.

She said the crew are perfectionists.

"You don't want someone on the internet pointing out that you've made a mistake that you should have caught."

Already the trailer has got fans debating what's real and what's not. One close-up shot of a hand strapped to a winged creature was in fact done in a paddling pool with a handmade prop, despite suggestions from some fans that it must be computer generated.

"It was just made for a shot that was on screen for one or two seconds," Spicer said.

Wētā Workshop made 2400 props and much of the heavy artillery was made by Wellington company Rubber Band. All up $4 million was spent on props.

Avatar 2, 3 and part of 4 have received $154.8 million in Government subsidies as part of the Screen Production Grant scheme. The production has spent $774 million in New Zealand.


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