Star Wars films, new and old, are recognized regularly for incredible and grand filmography. The science fiction epic is larger than life and that demands a collection of practical effects and computer generated scenery to bring the many aliens, their worlds, and the massive battles to the big screen.
Rogue One Director Gareth Edwards, no stranger to massive feats in film considering he also directed the most recent Godzilla, had the honor of creating a prequel tale in the Star Wars universe and utilized VR get some of the shots just right.
Rogue One was an exciting visual feast that was well received by fans of the franchise and critics, even receiving a couple Oscar nominations. In addition to a nomination for sound mixing, it received one for best visual effects. On BBC Click, viewers were given an inside look into the visual effects and filmography of Rogue One and it was interesting to see the way VR was able to help Gareth Edwards and the production crew.
A staff member at Industrial Light and Magic, the George Lucas founded visual effects team, noted that Edwards has a very hands on approach when directing. He’s notorious for grabbing onto cameras himself and showing just how he wants the shot to be framed, but that isn’t something he can do when it comes to computer generated scenes typically.
For Rogue One the team developed a system where Gareth navigates those CG scenes via VR. With an iPad in hand that has an HTC Vive controller attached to it, the director moved around a room to find where he wanted scenes to start and end. As opposed to recreating his ideas from vague descriptions and having to potentially re-do them multiple times to even come close to his vision, the team was able to be create scenes that closely matches his desires and get drafts back to him relatively quickly.
Immersive storytelling in VR short film has been embraced heavily since VR headsets hit the consumer market. IMAX is investing in VR centers and major actors like Don Cheadle are getting involved in the medium, but it’s encouraging to see VR spread throughout Hollywood in other ways like what was done for the Rogue One film. Time will tell if other production crews embrace this idea or find even newer ways to get VR involved.