Stagecraft technology

Jon Favreau has been pushing the boundaries of filmmaking technology for years, and his new Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian is the latest example of the director seeing an opportunity to redefine what’s possible. He and Lucasfilm have established what they’re calling “Stagecraft” technology, which essentially allows for imagery to be projected onto ultra-high resolution screens that wrap around the sets, enveloping actors in alien locations without having to rely on green screens.

While we have yet to see a behind-the-scenes featurette from The Mandalorian giving insight into what that exact technology looks like, here’s a video that approximates the experience.

This video from Unreal Engine seems to feature most of the concepts that have been described for Stagecraft technology. Take a look.

/Film’s Peter Sciretta attended a “Women of Lucasfilm” panel earlier this week, where Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and The Mandalorian director Deborah Chow spoke about how using this realistic technology saves tons of time and money for location shoots. “It means that if you want a big establishing shot in Iceland, and you don’t want to take 700 people, spend four months prepping a set because you only want to do the establishing shot and you can bring everything back to shoot interiors on a stage, that becomes very meaningful on big, huge projects and small projects,” Kennedy said.

Favreau worked with Magnopus, one of the companies involved with this video, when he was making The Lion King. And the virtual reality component that they focus on here is being utilized for The Mandalorian as well. Chow explained:

“It also allowed us actually to have the environment in 3D so that we could do virtual scouts. So we would have days where it would be the whole team – we’d have a production designer, the DP, Jon, Dave Filoni – and we would all be in headsets together flying around the same set, and we can put cameras up and put a lens up and say, ‘Okay, this is what I’m thinking’ and we can all see it, and we’re actually looking at it on the set together.”

If you want to do an even bigger deep dive into this type of technology, there’s a longer behind the scenes video that was just published last week that goes into even more detail. (Check out the 8:53 mark for what happens when they change locations, and how green screens can be used to supplement backgrounds on the fly.)

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