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Disney Uses Epic's Unreal Game Engine to Render Virtual Sets In Real Time on The Mandalorian

By Benjamin Craig  |  21-Feb-2020

A still from the TV series The Mandalorian, showing the main character in a market.

Virtual set technology has been around for a decade or more. But the biggest limitation has always been the need to put the sets into the shot during post. Not only does this make post longer and more expensive, it also makes it harder for the actors and onset crew to deliver realistic outputs. Case in point comes from the issues seen in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, where environments looked fake, and actors often had trouble understanding how best to perform in a scene when surrounded by nothing but green screen.

The Unreal game engine has been delivering impressive experiences for years, but this must be the first time it's been used in filmmaking. Perhaps the most fascinating side of this approach is the fact that the game engine is projected in 3D on large LED screens on set and adjusts in real-time according to the camera position. This means that both the action and the background are captured in camera, so no need to go back and add the backgrounds later.

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