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StageCraft is an on-set virtual production visual effects technology composed of a video wall designed by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Initially developed for the Disney+ series The Mandalorian, it has since been used in other productions and has been cited as a revolutionary visual effects technology. The soundstage in which StageCraft is implemented is called The Volume.[1]


While shooting the film Rogue One (2016), cinematographer Greig Fraser encountered multiple issues which inspired the idea to use large LED screens as a component of the set. This idea was further developed by a team including Industrial Light & Magic's (ILM) Richard Bluff and Rob Bredow, as well as Kim Libreri of Epic Games. During the development of The Lion King (2019), director Jon Favreau worked with ILM to develop technologies in order to better visualize shots within a 3D CGI space. When Favreau began work on the Disney+ series The Mandalorian, ILM found a perfect opportunity to use the technology with a director prepared to use it.[2]

The StageCraft process involves shooting live-action actors and sets surrounded by large, very high definition LED video walls. These walls display computer-generated backdrops, once traditionally composited primarily in post-production after shooting with green screens. These facilities are known as "volumes". When shooting, the production team is able to realign the background instantly based on moving camera positions. The entire CG background can be manipulated in real-time.[citation needed]

ILM used Epic Games's Unreal Engine, a popular game engine, to handle real-time 3D rendering of computer generated environments. Other technology partners in StageCraft include FuseFX, Lux Machina, Profile Studios, Nvidia, and ARRI.[3]

ILM iterated the technology to "StageCraft 2.0" for the second season of The Mandalorian. This version featured a larger volume as well as more specialized software. One example of this software is Helios, a rendering engine designed by ILM specifically for StageCraft hardware.[4]

In September 2020, it was announced that a second permanent volume was being created at Manhattan Beach Studios in Los Angeles, in addition to the first built for The Mandalorian, which was expected to be completed in March 2021; one at Pinewood Studios in London, to open in February 2021; and a larger, custom one at Fox Studios Australia. These new volumes would be larger, use more LED panels, and offer higher resolution than the original Manhattan Beach one. ILM also has the ability to provide "pop up" virtual production configurations in other locations.[5] A volume is also open in Vancouver.[6][third-party source needed]

Productions using StageCraft[edit]

Television series[edit]

Feature films[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barnhardt, Adam (July 13, 2021). "Loki Crew Reveals Why They Didn't Use The Mandalorian's Volume". Archived from the original on July 13, 2021. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  2. ^ "How Cutting-Edge ILM Technology Brought 'The Mandalorian' to Life". No Film School. February 5, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  3. ^ Bill Desowitz (February 20, 2020). "'The Mandalorian': How ILM's Innovative StageCraft Tech Created a 'Star Wars' Virtual Universe". IndieWire. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  4. ^ Igor Bonifacic (April 1, 2021). "ILM explains how it used Stagecraft 2.0 for season two of 'The Mandalorian'". Engadget. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Carolyn Giardina (September 10, 2020). "Industrial Light & Magic Expands Virtual Production Services, Supports 'Thor 4'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  6. ^ "StageCraft | Industrial Light & Magic". Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  7. ^ Gartenberg, Chaim (February 20, 2020). "How The Mandalorian teamed up with Fortnite creator Epic Games to create its digital sets". The Verge. Archived from the original on February 20, 2020. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  8. ^ Lane, Carly (June 9, 2021). "Exclusive: Here's When 'The Mandalorian' Season 3 Is Filming; New Details on 'Book of Boba Fett' Connection". Collider. Archived from the original on June 9, 2021. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  9. ^ "ILM STAGECRAFT HONORED WITH ENGINEERING, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY EMMY® AWARD". Industrial Light & Magic. July 29, 2022. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  10. ^ Peterson, Karen M. (April 29, 2022). "How 'Our Flag Means Death' Designers Mixed History With Broad Theatricality". Variety. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  11. ^ Bui, Hoai-Tran (June 17, 2020). "The Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ Series Will Use the Same Technology as 'The Mandalorian'". /Film. Archived from the original on June 18, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  12. ^ Dominguez, Noah (November 14, 2022). "Andor Actually Used StageCraft Technology Despite Early Reports". Retrieved November 25, 2022.
  14. ^ "Inside Dark Bay, the spinning LED volume at the heart of Netflix's upcoming '1899'". TechCrunch. February 10, 2022. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  15. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (October 19, 2022). "Too Much Volume? The Tech Behind 'Mandalorian' and 'House of the Dragon' Faces Growing Pains". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 4, 2023. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  16. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (June 28, 2022). "'Percy Jackson and the Olympians' Takes ILM Virtual Production Route (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 28, 2022. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  17. ^ Fisher, Jacob (June 24, 2021). "'The Acolyte' Aiming To Begin Filming In February In London". DiscussingFilm. Archived from the original on June 30, 2021. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
  18. ^ a b "StageCraft | Industrial Light & Magic". Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  19. ^ Bardini, Julio (August 14, 2022). "Industrial Light & Magic's Digital StageCraft Technology: What We Know About the Volume". Collider. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  20. ^ "How Cutting-Edge ILM Technology Brought 'The Mandalorian' to Life". No Film School. February 5, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  21. ^ "Lux Machina Consulting on Instagram: "Congrats to @starwarsriseofskywalker and @theirishmanfilm for the many Oscar nominations this week, including for Visual Effects! We are so grateful to have been a part of both productions. Looking forward to the big night, Feb 5 live at 8e | 5p! . . . . . . #virtualproduction #incameravfx #vfx #film #technology #videoproduction #led #projection #videoscreens #luxmc #luxmachina #consultants #engineers #programmers"". Instagram. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  22. ^ Mike Seymour (January 21, 2021). "The Midnight Sky's Virtual Production using StageCraft". Fxguide. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  23. ^ Filippo Magnifico (December 23, 2020). "In Vacanza su Marte: il film con Boldi e De Sica realizzato con una tecnologia simile a quella di The Mandalorian". Blog Screenweek. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  24. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (October 19, 2020). "'The Batman' Using 'Mandalorian' Virtual Production Techniques". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 19, 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  25. ^ Villaverde, Noah (June 8, 2022). "'Black Adam' Director Talks Using Lucasfilm's Volume & Other New Tech". Heroic Hollywood. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  26. ^ "Don't miss these behind-the-scenes images featuring ILM's exciting StageCraft work on Steven Spielberg's #TheFabelmans. Own it now on Digital and Blu-ray with exclusive Bonus Content". March 17, 2023. Retrieved March 18, 2023.
  27. ^ Erao, Math (May 17, 2021). "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Director Shares Photo From The Mandalorian's Virtual Set". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on May 17, 2021. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  28. ^ Spangler, Todd (November 9, 2021). "Atlanta's Trilith Studios to Open 18,000-Square-Foot Virtual Production Facility With NEP (Exclusive)". Variety. Archived from the original on November 24, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2022.

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