Taika Waititi got a taste of it while directing an episode of Season 1 of The Mandalorian and now he’s come back for seconds. When filming on Thor 4 kicks off at Fox Studios Australia, Waititi will have access to the LED virtual production service known as “The Volume.” After being designed, pioneered and piloted at Disney’s Manhattan Beach Studios by Jon Favreau for use on The Mandalorian, the transformative technology will be replicated (and almost certainly improved upon) by ILM at Fox Studios Australia and Pinewood UK in addition to a second set up being built in Manhattan Beach.
The technology is a game changer for movie studios as it allows them to create incredibly realistic, immersive and responsive sets on location. Using hundreds (maybe thousands now?) of LED screens and a game engine, the VFX setting changes with the movement of the cameras and allows for the virtual creation of locations without green screen technology, greatly speeding up the filming process by cutting out the time needed to replace the green screen. The idea came to Favreau after working on live-action versions of The Jungle Book and Lion King, but truly originated in the mind of George Lucas who once imagined visual effects so detailed that he could film a movie from his garage. Now Lucas’ idea has come to life as one set can be transformed into location. It appears that the Pinewood “Volume” will be up and running in February 2021 and that the one being designed for Fox Studios Australia is a larger, custom version of the original that has yet to be built. Production on Thor: Love and Thunder is expected to begin early next year ahead of a February 11, 2022 release.