News 29.09.20

VIRTUAL PRODUCTION PIONEER INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC TO BUILD 3 NEW ILM STAGECRAFT STAGES AND GROW SERVICE OFFERING



Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) today announced the next phase of its global expansion plan for the company’s virtual production and StageCraft LED volume services.

This expansion of services is tied to a proactive initiative for increasing diversity in the industry by combining ILM’s growth in this innovative methodology with a global trainee program geared for underrepresented VFX talent. 

ILM’s existing StageCraft volume set at Manhattan Beach Studios (MBS) was used for the Emmy nominated series The Mandalorian and will soon be joined by a second permanent StageCraft volume set at the studio, servicing a variety of clients in the greater Los Angeles area. In addition, ILM is building a third permanent StageCraft volume at Pinewood Studios in London, and a fourth large-scale custom volume at Fox Studios Australia to be used for Marvel’s highly anticipated feature Thor: Love and Thunder directed by Taika Waititi. ILM will also continue to provide “pop up” custom volumes for clients as the company recently did for the Netflix production The Midnight Sky, directed by George Clooney.

An end-to-end virtual production solution, ILM StageCraft is a production-hardened technology that provides a continuous pipeline from initial exploration, scouting, and art direction, traditional and technical previsualization, lighting, and of course, real-time production filming itself, with the innovative StageCraft LED volumes. Lucasfilm’s hit Disney+ series, The Mandalorian, and a highly anticipated feature film took advantage of the full complement of ILM StageCraft virtual production services. Other projects such as Avengers: Endgame, Aquaman, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Battle at Big Rock, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Kong: Skull Island, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Ready Player One, and Rango, have utilized  aspects of the toolset as well. 

By every measure, the new stages are vast improvements over the original ground-breaking LED volume developed for the first season of The Mandalorian in 2018. Physically, the new stages are larger, utilizing substantially more LED panels than ILM’s original stage and also offering both higher resolution and smooth wall to ceiling transitions – this directly results in better lighting on set as well as many more in-camera finals. ILM’s proprietary solutions for achieving groundbreaking fidelity on the LED walls at scale allows for higher color fidelity, higher scene complexity, and greater control and reliability.

“With StageCraft, we have built an end-to-end virtual production service for key creatives.  Directors, Production Designers, Cinematographers, Producers and Visual Effects Supervisors can creatively collaborate, each bringing their collective expertise to the virtual aspects of production just as they do with traditional production,” explained Janet Lewin, SVP, GM ILM. 

Rob Bredow, CCO, ILM added “Over the past 5 years, we have made substantial investments in both our rendering technology and our virtual production toolset. When combined with Industrial Light & Magic’s expert visual effects talent, motion capture experience, facial capture via Medusa, Anyma, and Flux, and the innovative production technology developed by ILM’s newly integrated Technoprops team, we believe we have a unique offering for the industry.”

Alongside the new stages, ILM is rolling out a global talent development initiative through the company’s long-standing Jedi Academy training program. The program, which is part of the company’s larger Global Diversity & Inclusion efforts, offers paid internships and apprenticeships on productions with seasoned ILM Supervisors and Producers who serve as mentors.

The program is intended to fill roles across the virtual production and VFX pipeline with those from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds;  ILM has posted expressions of interests for jobs across the spectrum, from virtual art department teams and production management to engineering and artist roles. The goal with this initiative is to attract diverse junior talent and create a pipeline for them to become future Visual Effects artists, technicians and producers who will be “ILM trained” and uniquely qualified to work in this new, innovative way of filmmaking.

“There is a widespread lack of diversity in the industry, and we are excited to leverage our global expansion in this game-changing workflow to hire and train new talent, providing viable, exciting, and rewarding jobs across many of our locations,” noted ILM VP, Operations, Jessica Teach, who oversees the company’s Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. “We believe this program can have a multiplier effect, attracting even more diverse talent to the industry and creating a pipeline for visual effects careers. We know that bringing more diversity into the industry is a critical part of strengthening and expanding our storytelling potential.”

ILM expects to have the new stages up and running for production in London in February of 2021 and in Los Angeles in March, with a mix of projects from features to commercials in line to take advantage of them. The company is currently fielding inquiries for future bookings by studios and filmmakers.

For more information contact

Greg Grusby
Director, PR & Communications
[email protected]  
+1 415-265-5714

About Industrial Light & Magic

Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd., celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2020. The company has become synonymous with groundbreaking visual effects work and continues to be a recognized leader in the field. ILM, headquartered in San Francisco, also has operations in Singapore, Vancouver, London, and Sydney – the five facilities work hand in hand to produce cutting edge visual effects for feature films, television series, commercials, themed attractions, and new media experiences. ILM has been honored with 15 Academy Awards® and two Emmy® awards for Best Visual Effects as well as 32 Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. To learn more, visit ILM online at http://www.ilm.com and follow @ILMVFX on Twitter..
Lucasfilm Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Industrial Light & Magic, the ILM logo, ILM StageCraft, ILMxLAB, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © & TM 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.

About the Lucasfilm Jedi Academy

Lucasfilm’s Jedi Academy comprised of intern, graduate, and production-based programs that immerse participants in a dynamic and creative production environment. The program brings together the most talented and experienced artists, producers, engineers, and managers in the entertainment industry to help participants reach their full potential with the goal of hiring them once their time in the program comes to an end.  Participants represent the next generation of VFX talent, come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and reflect the innovative spirit, collaborative mindset and passion for great filmmaking that define Industrial Light & Magic. 
Working with ILM’s global talent base in San Francisco, Singapore, London, Vancouver, and Sydney, our instructors are some of the industry’s brightest creative and technical talents, including Oscar-winners, world-class artists, designers, and engineers. To learn more, visit https://jobs.jobvite.com/lucascompanies/jobs/all-jobs

About ILM StageCraft

ILM StageCraft is an industry-leading end-to-end solution for virtual production allowing filmmakers to explore new ideas, communicate concepts, and execute shots in a collaborative and flexible production environment. Creatives can utilize a single tool or any combination of the toolset to achieve their vision. StageCraft opens new avenues to filmmakers and key creatives allowing them to shoot principal photography on photoreal, virtual sets that are indistinguishable from their physical counterparts while incorporating physical set pieces and props as needed for interaction. Clients can also leverage the ILM Technoprops team’s expertise in facial capture HMCs and specialized Virtual Production hardware. Interested parties can reach out to [email protected] for more information.