Disney+’s The Mandalorian featured cutting-edge VFX technology that seems to have recently replaced the Child as the primary topic of conversation. The series’ visual effects team used an assortment of LED screens called The Volume. It allowed them to render various intergalactic vistas in real time. And while speaking with Collider, cinematographer Greig Fraser explained what it was like to work with this groundbreaking new tech.
Fraser previously worked as the director of photography on Rogue One. However, he was quick to insist that his experiences on the two live-action Star Wars adventures couldn’t be more different. And The Mandalorian represents a huge leap forward.
“Nothing like this had been put together specifically,” said Fraser. “There were things like it on Rogue One, which effectively was the genesis of the concept with ILM. On Rogue One we built a kind of a volume. Around the spaceships we built a horseshoe and a lid and an uplight, and we effectively built the same concept in terms of lighting, but we didn’t have a real-time 3D gaming engine interaction. We didn’t have that because remember that was 2015, and even though that’s not long ago, it’s long enough ago that the LED panels were 9mm then and now they’re 2.4mm on The Mandalorian. So that tells you how much the technology has progressed in a couple of years.”
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Part of Fraser’s job as a cinematographer is to come up with the right lighting for a given scene. Trying to do this on a blue-screen set is difficult without knowing what the background will look like. Fortunately, The Volume made things much easier. Fraser also predicted that it will become a big part of Hollywood films in the years to come.
“I see a world where almost every film will use this technology in some way, shape or form,” added Fraser. “Be it from a $250 million blockbuster down to a $2 million independent movie using it for one sequence that they dry hire a studio that’s already been built and they get in there like a location. So I believe when the technology kicks on and gets widely adopted, when people understand what it can do, I believe it’ll be used quite a lot.”
The Mandalorian will premiere its second season on Disney+ in October.
Are you excited to see more of what The Volume can do when the series returns? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!
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