Why StageCraft Technology Revolves the Star Wars Series (and Cinema Soon)

Series Obi-Wan Kenobi will be released on Disney + from Friday, May 27, announcing the return of Ewan McGregor as the famous Jedi master who wants to escape the clutches of the empire. The miniseries that takes place ten years later Sith’s revengehas been splitting up for weeks with trailers with neat photographs that promise more real-end-life sets.

And with good reason: Disney has set the funds, and used the same immersive technology as in its series The Mandalorian, called StageCraft, created by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). The time of green and blue film backgrounds is over, making room for LED monitoring systems that create a backdrop of 6 meters high and 22 meters long that encompasses the stage. A realistic device is broadcast in real time on the movie set. The movements of the camera are synchronized with the movements of the virtual environment.

A more true than life shoot

“If the scene takes place in the desert, it really feels like you are in the middle of the desert. If the landscape is covered in snow, we are surrounded by snow. And if the character is piloting a spaceship, the screens project a spacecraft all around us. It will really make things more real, “Ewan McGregor explained to the Hollywood Reporter in April 2021. At the 2021 Emmy Awards, the actor stated that” the new technology we used to shoot [la série] is very interesting. It was a different experience than the three Star Wars movies where I appeared … ”The prequel, to which Ewan McGregor alludes here, is therefore often criticized for his visual effects and the actors’ acting.

But StageCraft is also involved in creating more realistic sets that combine real images and 3D modeling. Virtual reality is used to identify real-world landscapes and recreate them in special effects, then add landscape elements using Unreal Engine, a graphics engine developed by the video game studio Epic Games. Convenient when you can not completely recreate multiple sets in one movie studio. The system had already been used in the two seasons of The Mandalorian… But on a much smaller scale.

Virtual reality takes over the cinema

Although it already allows the Star Wars series to showcase an excellent aesthetic device, can this new technology become standard in the coming years? StageCraft’s potential in terms of putting creativity out to be infinite, and therefore suitable for large franchises like Star Wars or the Marvel universe. The advantage of StageCraft is based on its realism, especially in terms of lighting, and much more accomplished work in post-production, as the instructors already have an idea of ​​the finished product. As for the actors, going from green screens to ultra-realistic scenery will allow them to better slip into their character, especially when the footage extends over several months (or even years). And for the spectators, it is the assurance of being transported into an ultra-realistic universe. There is still the question of the cost of this technology.

The success of the Disney series can standardize the technology for the entire Hollywood industry with a large budget, and increasingly draws inspiration from tools developed by the video game industry, including its graphics engines. Thus, in 2021, Lucasfilm has announced the construction of three other StageCraft studios around the world. The last Batman by Matt Reeves used it in part during his filming, as well Thor: Love and Thunderscheduled to hit theaters in July 2022.

Soon, green screens may become as outdated as the old XT-16 speeders …

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