We already know that movie-making is as much a tech industry as it is film industry. And I’m not just referring to the use of Artificial Intelligence to determine what movies to make, but the importance that visual effects and CGI are having in making the movies the visual spectacles that we have today.
After all, these days many blockbusters are filmed more in a studio with green backgrounds than they are on-location, which allows for filmmakers to make whatever worlds they want to rather than needing to find locations that look the part. No movie is probably though more reliant on tech than the upcoming Lion King remake, which sees Disney and director Jon Favreau recreate the magical world of the animated classic in a way that blends live-action cinematography with photo-realistic CGI where you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between reality and make-believe.
In a recent interview with Screen Rant, Jon Favreau got the opportunity to outline just how a big a role tech has played in the move and how making the magical experience come together was all the result of collaboration from different parts of the tech industry:
Get a lot of smart people, share a common goal, make it a team sport, and you will innovate more. And I think it reflects the part of our workforce that’s the most engaged right now and showing really good results.
You have people who come up through technology, people who come up through gaming, people who come up through art school
To create their grand vision for the film, Disney made use of experts from a variety of different tech industries to try and create their goal of making a lifelike movie. Something which Favreau didn’t feel was a challenge at all:
As long as they’re smart and working towards the same goal, you get an interesting, different, collaborative experience.
Of course, it wasn’t just about the people working on the visual effects, but the actors themselves who provided the motion capture and voice experiences which helped to bring this unique filmmaking experience to life:
We find that as good as the animator is, they come from an animation tradition, they make different acting choices. And the subtlety of performance and eye contact patterns, status relationships – all of that comes through when you have two actors performing together.
While computers were used to create some remarkable simulations of real-life nature, one of the things that Favreau did want to try and prevent was making the characters too human and allowing the animators to still have the freedom to create the creatures the way they wanted, as he revealed in another part of the interview.
Though, with the release of new character posters, you could’ve fooled me because these look like the sort of snaps you would expect from a Discovery channel show.
As for the environment though they wanted to try and make it as realistic as possible and ensure that every leaf or particle of water behaves as realistically as possible:
It is nice to be able to be in this part of the garden where we can say, ‘Hey, let’s really look at what a leaf looks like or the way water moves or the way wind blows grass, and create really beautiful arresting images… There’s something inherently interesting and captivating about seeing that level of simulation.
There is no doubt that The Lion King is shaping up to be the most beautiful movie you are likely to watch this year. However, the magic of the Lion King was always its powerful story about the circle of life, something which Jon Favreau wants to make sure is brought even more front and centre than ever before:
I want to highlight what’s in there from the original, and that’s the whole circle of life. Bad things happen, good things happen. Not every scene in the movie is fun to watch. But ultimately what I like about it is that somehow after that whole experience, you walk away feeling inspired and hopeful. Which is how I like my stories.
Perhaps it’s a good thing then that this movie demands to be seen in the best 3D screen possible so that people won’t be able to see the tears in the eyes. Or I can just blame my glasses for leaking all over my face. Yes, that’s it, the glasses were just leaking.
The Lion King arrives in theatres on July 19th.
Last Updated: May 31, 2019