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Innovative Virtual Production Helps The Third Floor Deliver Ambitious ‘The Mandalorian’ Visuals

With Disney+’s long-awaited October 30th Season 2 premiere of Lucasfilm’s Emmy Award-winning ‘Star Wars’ series, Lucasfilm and ILM again team with the leading visualization company to create cinematic quality visuals on a tight TV series schedule; watch the phenomenal previs showreel!

With the October 30th Season 2 premiere of Jon Favreau and Lucasfilm’s Emmy Award-winning live-action ‘Star Wars’ series, The Mandalorian, Disney+ has finally awarded fans with the long-awaited continuation of the saga of Mando, his quest to return “the baby” Yoda to its home, and the hostile new characters, creatures, and adventures that await him.  

To help Lucasfilm and ILM deliver cinematic-quality visuals on a tight, episodic TV schedule, leading visualization company The Third Floor once again joined forces with series producers, bringing their innovative, cutting edge virtual production capabilities into the mix for another season of galactic  thrills and adventure.

Throughout the ambitious series’ first and second season production, both companies developed a host of new virtual technologies and techniques to streamline production. These real-time advancements were leveraged to preserve more time for creative experimentation and synchronize virtual and real-world sets, lighting, and camera setups.

Take a look at some of their phenomenal work:

The virtual production process on The Mandalorian began within the Virtual Art Department (VAD). VAD artists were able to reference inspirational production design concepts and build them as explorable 3D virtual sets. These pivotal set pieces were virtually scouted by directors and DPs who could evaluate lighting, mood, and time of day choices to inform their real-world lighting decisions.

Using virtual blocking, directors are able to plan their scenes shot by shot and communicate a clear vision for what will be filmed. Coverage can be visualized to design moves in virtual environments that represent physical LED volumes, stages, and locations. This helps crews plan to be more efficient on the day of shooting. 

Virtual blocking can be produced faster than traditional animated previs by leveraging real-time tools such as wireless motion capture and virtual cameras. Performances by actors and stunt personnel can be directed and recorded, and any changes or new ideas appear instantly as fully-rendered previs in real-time. Directors can lens shots interactively and refine their shot list efficiently.

Digital assets are available for use on set by leveraging The Third Floor - developed virtual production app, Cyclops, to view CG characters live in real shooting environments.

The virtual production techniques developed for The Mandalorian demonstrate some of the ways the Visualization Industry is evolving rapidly to accelerate production and define directors’ visions as early and comprehensively as possible.

The Mandalorian Season 2 is now streaming on Disney+.

Source: The Third Floor

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.