With the incredible steps being taken right now in the visual effects field, not only in their ingenuity, quality and vision but also in their application, it’s little surprise that Rob Bredow, Executive creative director at ILM and Creator and EP, of The Mandalorian Jon Favreau are on that list, along with some former ILM team members. THR take a look at some of these visionaries, who’s work and processes are even more vital as coronavirus causes all manner of scheduling issues across the industry.
As the head of visual effects powerhouse Industrial Light & Magic, Rob Bredow is usually greeted each day by a welcoming statue of Yoda perched atop a fountain at the studio’s headquarters in San Francisco’s Presidio. But like everyone at the company, Bredow has been working from home since March 17 after a nail-biting race to set up the VFX studio’s staff to work remotely during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Bredow, 46, admits that some ILM projects are on hiatus but notes that others are staying in production despite the lockdown. He won’t offer specifics, but ILM’s slate includes such high-profile titles as Disney’s Jungle Cruise, Universal’s Jurassic World: Dominion and season two of Jon Favreau’s Disney+ series The Mandalorian, which employs cutting-edge virtual production technology to seamlessly meld CG imagery with live-action production techniques.
Before November 2019, there were certain unspoken truths about stories told in the Star Wars universe: They have a Jedi, a galaxy in peril and a sweeping sense of scope. But when Favreau’s The Mandalorian premiered on Disney+, the series did something unusual — it told a small story in the vast world George Lucas had created, about a lone bounty hunter who takes a job that leaves him tending to a child with special powers. The first live-action Star Wars series, it became the linchpin of Disney+’s launch, a must-see show that helped drive the service to more than 50 million subscribers.
Paul Debeve (Senior staff engineer, Google VR)
The former Lucasfilm chief technology officer and Oscar-nominated VFX supervisor (Solo: A Star Wars Story) believes tools like StageCraft “are an important part of getting back to work sooner. We can digitally build a big percentage of our sets now; the first day we can safely return to shooting, we’ll be able to pick up quickly.” The latest work from Debevec — a past co-chair of the Science and Technology Council — uses a 360-degree Google light stage and controllable LED lighting.
Kim Libreri (CTO, Epic)
A VFX vet who worked on The Matrix, Libreri knows a thing or two about bringing tech capabilities to filmmaking. The chief technology officer of Epic Games helps Hollywood find applications for its real-time gaming engine, Unreal, used by the likes of Disney and Jon Favreau for The Mandalorian (and to develop the smash hit game Fortnite). As an example, the Oscar nominee (for his VFX work on 2006’s Poseidon) cites Unreal’s multi-user capability as a tool that can bring disparate departments together to continue producing projects during the current shutdown.
Stay tuned to Making Tracks as Episode #39 on Tuesday 26th May will bring the first part of our exclusive conversation with a very special guest from ILM.