the mandalorian technology

Jon Favreau is proving to be one of the foremost filmmakers when it comes to testing game-changing technology, from his dazzling visual effects work in The Jungle Book, to the audacious CGI scale of the upcoming The Lion King. And The Mandalorian, for which Favreau acts as showrunner and executive producer, is no exception.

Favreau may have been touting the upcoming Disney+ show’s use of practical effects that pay homage to the techniques used in the original Star Wars films, but The Mandalorian is doing more than just using rigs to shoot miniature ships. According to actor Giancarlo Esposito, who stars in the series alongside the titular Mandalorian, Pedro PascalThe Mandalorian will be using a unique blend of physical sets and digital technology that is unlike anything we’ve seen in a Star Wars property before.

In an interview with Collider, Esposito praised the set pieces of The Mandalorian and noted that Lucasfilm’s first live-action Star Wars series will also be the first  to shoot outside of a London studio. That gives Favreau and his team freedom to experiment with some cutting-edge technology that has started to be used in recent blockbusters like Avengers: Infinity War and Ready Player One, but to an even more ambitious extent.

Esposito described the new The Mandalorian technology as taking place in a “Volume,” which is a huge empty room with its own set of cameras around it. We saw this tech being used in Infinity War, mainly to shoot Josh Brolin in motion-capture as Thanos. But this isn’t motion-capture that Esposito speaks of:

“Technically, this show has a new technology [that’s] never really [been] refined as much as it is right now. We’re in a place called The Volume, where we do most of our acting, where set pieces are brought in, where we can control the physical atmosphere of what is projected on the walls and control how gravity is; you get a feeling that gravity is being played with. This is a show that’s gonna be really fantastic.”

It sounds like The Mandalorian VFX team has equipped their Volume with technology that will allow them to bring physical sets into this space, blending CGI backgrounds in with real, practical props. It sounds like a similar technique to that used in Solo: A Star Wars Story, where the visuals for hyperspace were projected behind the physical cockpit, but The Mandalorian uses this to an even more involved degree.

With the team able to “control the physical atmosphere”, I’m assuming those digital backgrounds are more than just static shots and are either controlled or programmed to react to the lighting and the environment. Like how AR technology changes based on your position or your eyeline, The Mandalorian technology sounds like it is doing the same on a grander scale. It all sounds incredibly cutting-edge, which we can expect no less of from Favreau, who Esposito praised as “brilliant.”

If you’re confused, check out our look at the Volume used in Avengers: Infinity War below.

The Mandalorian premieres on Disney+ on November 12, 2019.

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