Here’s one for you to file away under weird facts that’ll amaze and impress at dinner parties: Epic Games’ battle royale Fortnite played a surprising role in the production of Disney’s Star Wars show The Mandalorian. A recently published behind-the-scenes video explains the unlikely partnership, and the amazing technology that was used to bring The Mandalorian‘s gorgeous scenes to life.
Lucasfilm worked with effects studio Industrial Light and Magic and Epic Games to create a variety of impressive special effects that appear to have completely changed the game in regards to TV production. If you’ve seen The Mandalorian, I probably don’t need to tell you that’s an incredibly good-looking show, with some seriously slick production values.
That’s all down to the aforementioned partnership. More than half of the series was actually shot using Industrial Light & Magic’s new StageCraft technology, which makes use of massive 20-foot-tall LED video screens to create fully immersive digital environments – built in Epic’s Unreal Engine – that actors can react to in real-time.
Not only does this tech allow greater immersion for the actors, since they’re able to play scenes in front of a virtual backdrop, but actual elements onscreen – such as fires and sunsets and the like – will actually change the lighting of a scene without the need for tinkering, because they’re right there with the actors. It’s just that they’re projected on a giant screen, instead of being physically present.
In addition, the crew can essentially play god with a scene and move around and edit backgrounds on the fly. If a mountain, for example, doesn’t look like it’s in quite the right place? They can just move it and carry on filming. Amazing. The video below explains the process in greater detail, so definitely check it out below. The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau believes that the tech will completely change how TV and film is made.
“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 that television and movies are made going forward,” Favreau said.
The Mandalorian season two is expected to hit Disney+ in October this year. I’ve no doubt this same technique will be used during production to create all manner of wondrous new sights and locations for Baby Yoda and Mando to experience.