The new technology that has made The Mandalorian possible is incredible, and while the show pulled cutting edge technology and innovative ideas together for the first time, it didn’t happen overnight. The Mandalorian cinematographer Greig Fraser discusses that technology, and where the early versions were first put together.

“Nothing like this had been put together specifically. There were things like it on Rogue One, which effectively was the genesis of the concept with ILM. On Rogue One we built a kind of a volume. Around the spaceships we built a horseshoe and a lid and an uplight, and we effectively built the same concept in terms of lighting, but we didn’t have a real-time 3D gaming engine interaction. We didn’t have that because remember that was 2015, and even though that’s not long ago, it’s long enough ago that the LED panels were 9mm then and now they’re 2.4mm on The Mandalorian. So that tells you how much the technology has progressed in a couple of years.”

“Doing a Star Wars TV show could be prohibitively expensive because Star Wars requires a lot of prop building and a lot of character building, so we wanted to – with ILM’s help – be able to make it a financially viable option to solve all the problems that you have with shooting a blue screen environment.”

“If you go into a studio without a set effectively, you’ve got a blue screen. As a DP you have to light it of what you think it should look like. You don’t have any reference of what the background looks like. You might have some concepts, but effectively you’re lighting it as what you think it should look like. You’re framing it as what you think it should look like.”

The efforts were well worth the rewards.

“It was a very rewarding experience. There was a lot riding on ILM’s shoulders at that point, a lot riding on my shoulders, a lot riding on Jon’s shoulders, because there was a lot of money invested in the hardware. If this technology didn’t work, if we turn up on Day One, everybody’s done their job – costume’s done their job, everyone knows their lines – if we turn up on Day One and it does not work, there is no Plan B. All these problems that could occur we were trying to get ahead of and pre-empt. Thankfully the worst did not happen and we always had something to shoot.”

Shadow Fall (Star Wars): An Alphabet Squadron Novel (Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Freed, Alexander (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 06/23/2020 (Publication Date) - Del Rey (Publisher)