The Mandalorian isn’t just impressive for what it does on screen. The first live-action Star Wars series employs some of the most innovative filming techniques in all of Hollywood. That includes the use of immersive 360-degree virtual sets. They make it possible to create an entire galaxy far, far away, inside a single studio. But that’s only part of the show’s visual effects story. In the best tradition of the franchise, the show utilizes a seamless mixture of CGI, miniatures, puppetry, and practical sets. All of which are on display in this intense VFX reel from Industrial Light & Magic. It highlights the many tools needed to create The Mandalorian‘s massive second season.
This new video from ILM touches on all of the many ways it helps make The Mandalorian possible. It requires a combination of techniques both old and new. Like how Din Djarin’s Razor Crest (RIP) can appear so imposing, even though it’s often a small model we’re looking at. But compared to some of the tools ILM employs, that seems like a piece of cake. From Krayt dragons in harsh deserts, to dangerous dogfights above frozen worlds, there are so many creatures and locales that making them entails a massive worldwide effort.
Industrial Light & Magix explained just how involved the whole process is in the video’s description.
“Visual effects work on The Mandalorian was completed in all five of ILM’s studios (San Francisco, Singapore, Vancouver, London, and Sydney) as well as a contingent of other vendors under ILM’s supervision. The season’s 8 episodes encompassed nearly 5,000 visual effects shots in addition to all of ILM’s real-time effects work done for use during principal photography. The effects team leveraged virtually every trick in the book, from miniatures and motion control to traditional puppeteering, advanced animatronics, spectacular special effects, and photo-real CG.”
This video moves so fast it can be hard to see where practical shots end and CGI ones start. But that’s the point. When you watch The Mandalorian it’s impossible to see the proverbial strings. What we see on camera wouldn’t work if so much work didn’t go on behind it.