‘The Lion King’ is the first blockbuster movie made entirely in Virtual Reality, blending traditional live-action filmmaking techniques and state-of-the-art VR tools.
Disney’s The Lion King aimed to solve a classic VFX/animation problem, namely how to direct a story when the director can’t see all of the things that they are directing. With the traditional, iterative approach it can be frustrating for a director to direct a scene when he or she is only directing one component at a time. With the Lion King, the creative team sort to take advantage of the revolution in consumer-grade virtual reality technology. Coupled with game engine technology, they advanced the art of virtual production and produced visual effects and animation combined with a traditional physical production approach. They succeeded in creating a system that allowed Jon Favreau to direct a movie with high quality, real-time, interactive components, – ‘shot’ in context – while still making a completely computer-generated film.
The Lion King is a technical marvel. The quality of the character animation, the look of the final rendered imagery and the innovation in making the film are just as impressive as the incredible box office success of the film. MPC was the visual effects and animation company that provided the stunning visuals. They worked hand in hand with the creative team, especially director Jon Favreau, DoP: Caleb Deschanel, visual effects supervisor: Rob Legato and the team at Magnopus, headed by Ben Grossmann, to innovate the art of virtual production.