'The Mandalorian' Season 2 Featurette Shines A Light On The Bigger, Improved Virtual Sets

The first season of The Mandalorian brought an innovative new tool to the filmmaking world with the virtual set production technology known as StageCraft. Often referred to on set as "The Volume," Industrial Light & Magic's StageCraft technology allows for fully rendered digitally created backgrounds to appear on LED screens in incredibly high resolution. It's essentially real time visual effects that makes shooting movies and TV shows infinitely more efficient and cost effective. A new featurette shows how Industrial Light & Magic improved upon the technology for The Mandalorian's second season.

The Mandalorian Season 2 Featurette

Executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni and directors Deborah Chow, Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Rodriguez, and Peyton Reed all praise the StageCraft technology for the creative freedom it gives them on set. From perfecting the lighting to changing the perspective of the location instantly without having to move large camera rigs, StageCraft makes it easy to shoot on location without actually shooting on location, and you'd never know the difference.

Favreau specifically hones in on the idea of pre-production, production and post-production working together as one in order to plan shots. Industrial Light & Magic employees explain how a new program called Helios allows what's displayed on the StageCraft screens to be meticulously manipulated to provide whatever the filmmakers need on set. It's essentially real time visual effects being used in-camera, and sometimes the filmmakers inadvertently brought about new advancements in the technology itself in order to achieve what they needed for a given scene.

There's one particularly fascinating display of how the various parts of production come together in a single shot of the second season of The Mandalorian. The overall environment is created by The Volume, a piece of the foreground is a miniature projected onto the set, and stop-motion vehicles go about their business in the background. It's an incredible crossroads of various filmmaking techniques coming together in real time thanks to state-of-the-art movie magic.

For the second season of Lucasfilm's hit Disney+ series, The Mandalorian, Industrial Light & Magic reengineered their StageCraft virtual production platform rolling out version 2.0 in which ILM introduced among other things, Helios, Industrial Light & Magic's first cinematic render engine designed for real-time visual effects. Engineered from the ground up with film and television production in mind, Helios offers incredible performance, high fidelity real-time ray tracing, the ability to rip through scenes of unparalleled complexity, all while leveraging ILM's unrivaled color science, and was designed from the start to work seamlessly with ILM StageCraft.

The Mandalorian is available now to watch on Disney+.