It’s funny how a company can use both the latest insane bleeding-edge tech as well as gear that’s deemed “obsolete” by the masses in order to produce one of the most popular TV shows to ever grace our screens. But that’s exactly what Disney did for The Mandalorian – New season begins tomorrow!
Although much of The Mandalorian, and particularly the space scenes, were created using some pretty next-level CG, a number of scenes for the new series in the show were actually shot using the Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR… With a $500 Nikon 28mm f/2.8 manual focus lens.
The idea of creating a model of Mando’s ship, the Razor Crest, came from the show’s creator, Jon Favreau (yup, that guy). He wanted a real model ship. It was initially as a reference for the CG artists so that they could test lighting, but then they realised they could actually just shoot the thing. And, because he was inspired by Guillermo del Toro…
I learned from Gullermo del Toro, if you build a miniature, you get to have it in your house.
– Jon Favreau
So, that’s what they did. They even brought in one of Photoshop’s creators, John Knoll (who also happens to be Chief Creative Officer at ILM) to help them work on it. They created a 50ft long motion control rig (which John Knoll built from scratch himself) using the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and a Nikon 28mm f/2.8 lens which allowed them to control the position and movement of both the camera and the model ship mounted to it.
Yes, you’re right. The EOS 5D Mark III doesn’t shoot 4K video. But when you’re dealing with motion control systems, you can shoot raw still images, and the 5D Mark III shoots 22.3-megapixel full-frame images, resulting in 5760 x 3840 raw files. Sure, it’s not exactly 8K, but it’s plenty more than plenty for 4K, and it’s being composited anyway, so the images are likely only taking up a relatively small portion of the whole frame anyway.
It’s great to see some of the older techniques starting to come back, and quite amusing to see them dusting off some of that old 90s motion control tech to make it happen.
So, who’s looking forward to the new series? I know I can’t wait!