Since the first film in the series was made over four decades ago, the Star Wars franchise has always been on the forefront of filmmaking technology. In fact, in 1975 George Lucas founded the visual effects firm Industrial Light & Magic to spearhead the advanced cinematic techniques that brought A Galaxy Far, Far Away to the big screen.

Now, The Mandalorian creator and showrunner Jon Favreau has taken those advancements another step further. Together with ILM and Epic Games, he developed a Virtual Production process using Unreal Engine that furthers the pioneering work Lucas put into digital moviemaking techniques for the Star Wars prequels and various other projects throughout the past 45 years. Today ILM released a video to its official YouTube channel detailing how the process works and why it represents such a monumental upheaval in the future of cinema.

Watch The Virtual Production of The Mandalorian, Season One:

What’s happening:

  • Lucasfilm’s in-house visual effects department Industrial Light & Magic released a video explaining how the Virtual Production process worked in creating the Disney+ live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian.

What they’re saying:

  • Jon Favreau, creator of The Mandalorian: “Part of what’s been fun about collaborating on The Mandalorian with Lucasfilm and Disney is that we have been able to see through a few technical innovations and a few firsts that I think are going to have a lot of impact on the way television and movies are made moving forward. In partnership with ILM and Epic, we have put together a system whereby which we can have game engine real-time render and video wall technology coming together to create a backdrop for the big beautiful world of Star Wars.”
  • Richard Bluff, visual effects supervisor on The Mandalorian:  “The volume is 21 feet tall, it’s 75 feet in diameter, run by seven machines pumping the visuals onto the screen.”
  • Hal Hickel, animation supervisor on The Mandalorian: “It’s incredibly impressive when you first walk out there, because it completely surrounds your peripheral vision. You really quickly forget that you’re indoors and you’re not out on some planet’s surface. It feels like a real three-dimensional environment surrounding you, because it is a three-dimensional environment.”
  • Janet Lewin, co-producer of The Mandalorian: “You can allow your key creatives to all make decisions together so that the shots are captured entirely in-camera, which allows for a better performance.”
  • Rob Bredow, executive creative director and head of ILM: “Everything in the volume is designed to both light the actors and to be a background that we can directly photograph, so you end up with real-time final pixels in-camera.”
  • Barry Baz Idoine, director of photography on The Mandalorian: “The ability to shoot a ten-hour dawn is extraordinary. [There’s] an extraordinary amount of benefits and advantages for shooting in that environment. It’s mind-blowing what that toll is.”

The first season of The Mandalorian is currently available to stream exclusively on Disney+.

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