In many ways, The Mandalorian felt like a return to old-school STAR WARS with its use of practical models and lived-in sets, but the technology used to bring the series to life was cutting-edge. The Disney+ series made use of virtual production techniques as more than half of the series was filmed in front of a massive 270-degree LED video wall where practical set pieces were able to be combined with digital extensions. The digital environments are also able move in relation to the camera, which is an absolute game-changer for productions and something we’ll be seeing much more of in future.
One production that’s making use of the technology is none other than Matt Reeves‘ THE BATMAN, which is still shooting after experiencing several COVID-19 delays. According to THR, Industrial Light & Magic chief creative officer Rob Bredow revealed during a session at this year’s virtual VIEW visual effects and animation confab that the virtual production technology will be used for select scenes on THE BATMAN. Bredow wouldn’t say much regarding how the technology will be used on THE BATMAN, only to say that “the production design team had pre-built practical sets in the UK and an LED wall was built around these sets to enable use of virtual production in those specific scenes.” The director of photography on THE BATMAN is Greig Fraser, who has plenty of experience with virtual production as he served the same role on The Mandalorian. Fraser also told Collider earlier this year that he predicts that nearly every film will be making use of the technology in some way in the future.
I see a world where almost every film will use this technology in some way, shape or form. 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 virtual production technology is already slated to use used for THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER and will obviously return for the upcoming second season of The Mandalorian. THE BATMAN is set to hit theaters on March 4, 2022.