There's one thing everyone who's seen The Lion King remake seems to agree on, it's that the visuals are stunning. But how did director Jon Favreau and his team go about creating such an impressively realistic world for the Disney film?
Well, it started with research and photos in Africa, so they could ensure they were getting the details right. Then, the scenes were built through CGI, before eventually being turned into a virtual reality experience.
The engine in question is Unity, which is also used in the development of several games, from Hearthstone to Cuphead to Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality. When it came to The Lion King, the engine and VR technology allowed Favreau to create a virtual Pridelands that both his cast and crew could fully explore.
As much as the introduction of virtual reality into the filmmaking process can feel like it’s all just unnecessary techno-razzle dazzle, it’s actually been helping filmmakers ground themselves in a world where, every way they turn, it’s just another endless wall of green screen. VR has always been about the sensation of complete immersion, which is exactly how we want the people making our summer blockbusters to approach their work: actors can actually see and understand the world they’re helping to create, while directors and cinematographers have a space where they can explore and try new things.