The effects on The Mandalorian were one of its most outstanding scenes, but what many don’t realise is just how much of the series’ effects, lighting and post-production was actually built with the same technology that powers Fortnite, Kingdom Hearts 3, PUBG and more.
In a new behind the scenes video from Industrial Light & Magic, the studio went into detail about the benefits of using Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) in production. From ILM’s perspective, it was transformative. Instead of just filming scenes in front of a green screen, ILM were able to install a 6 metre-plus high LED video wall and ceiling on set, so actors could get perspective accurate 3D imagery and lighting at all times.
Not only did that make life easier and give actors an environment they could connect with, instead of just having to imagine everything in their heads, it also removed a huge problem with filming in real locations. If ILM needed to create backdrops with a particular time of day, they could create that and not have to worry about running out of time to shoot.
But not only could they create a more realistic environment for the actors, ILM were also able to incorporate effects that would normally be added in post-production.
UE4 is getting used more and more in movies. One of the coolest gimmicks during a press conference was at Computex, where the post-processing effects were added into the final major battle scene in Aquaman. ILM has taken that to another level by building a full 3D environment, which lets them capture shots entirely in camera. Everything’s able to be visualised better, there’s less work that has to be done in post, multiple scenes in different environments can be shot in the same day, and directors and filmmakers can make small adjustments to scenes on the fly. Obviously it’s not a solution for every film or set, but it opens so many doors for major sci-fi productions.