Disney Gallery for The Mandalorian's first season went deep into Lucasfilm's freshly created StageCraft technology. StageCraft, unlike blue or green screens, allows for the production to project the scenery of their intended location around the set that they're filming on. This not only lets them to create real-time looking locations in camera for the series, but to allow for exclusive in-studio production and limit the amount of location shooting. Season two of The Mandalorian allowed Lucasfilm to combine StageCraft with one of their classic filmmaking techniques to make a new type of movie magic as the mega-episode of Disney Gallery about this year's episodes reveal!
The Disney Gallery behind-the-scenes documentary for season two of The Mandalorian was just one super-sized episode rather than a full season of making of content, and at one point in the episode some of the creative minds at Lucasfilm go into detail about their use of miniature models for the Star Wars series. Miniatures have been a staple of Star Wars productions over the years, with various ships combined with trick photography to show them flying through space or crashing into the trench of the Death Star. In The Mandalorian season two they combined their miniatures with StageCraft to create literal movie magic.
As recounted by Richard Bluff, visual effects supervisor on the series, not only did they create models for ships to be used in season two of the series; but they could take those models and scan them into their computer, then use them in the images projected onto StageCraft screens. This was used a few times in the series for moments of the Razor Crest ship flying over locations. One instance where it was used that is a perfect example of Lucasfilm's creativity at work though comes in the seventh episode of season two.
The episode begins with Bill Burr's Mayfeld in captivity and working in a scrap yard, a place where busted up TIE Fighters and other random metal are strewn about. What makes this imagery, which is only a few minutes long in the episode, so unique is that the background of this entire planet was a model. Bluff explains in the episode that one of their model makers created a series of busted and wrecked TIE Fighters across a table which was then scanned in and projected on the StageCraft screens to create the background, take a look below at the models and how it appears in the episode.
"That's an example of taking the practical models and bringing it into today's technology," Bluff sayd. "It looks like we're transported right back to the late 70s or early 80s, doing exactly the same what George did and we have that characteristic. It takes me back to when I was a kid when I wanted it, I wanted that model. It's pretty spectacular."
Both seasons of The Mandalorian are now streaming on Disney+. If you haven't signed up for Disney+ yet, you can try it out here.
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