One brave design supervisor tests the authenticity of Solo’s most daring sequence in an epic virtual leap.
There’s no shortage of action-packed moments throughout Solo: A Star Wars Story’s 2 hour and 15 minute runtime. Afterall, you’re riding alongside Han Solo himself for the Kessel Run, one of the most infamous moments in Star Wars lore visualized on-screen for the first-time in history.
One moment in particular, the white-knuckle Conveyex train heist sequence, was a stand-out moment that serves as a perfect representation of some of the films best aspects. However while the sequence would end up being a major highlight of the film, producers weren’t sure at first if it was entirely realistic. Could a human being make the kind of daring jumps planned throughout the action-packed sequence? Lucasfilm design supervisor James Clyne was determined to find out – and what better way than to strap on a VR headset and make the jump himself using a 3D recreated model of the eventual set piece?!
Utilizing its powerful Virtual Scout technology, Lucasfilm has been incorporating VR into the location scouting process of its productions for years. True-to-scale 3D representations of future sets and models allow designers to step into their scenes well-before the cameras roll for a truly accurate preview.
Typically developers use the technology to slowly walk around their 3D models for a cautious, passive preview experience. Once concerns began being raised over the realism of the films train heist sequence, Clyne had a rather a rather unique solution.
“You put the goggles on and you’re standing on a train car 60 feet up,” Clyne says according to StarWars.com. The gear was set up in a relatively small office space. “Could I run and try to jump?” he recalls asking. “They were like, ‘Well, we’ve never done that. We usually just have people slowly walking around the room.’”
The team hesitantly positioned Clyne’s headset cables as best they could for the impending leap, and then watched as he successfully made the virtual leap from train car to train car.
“I just put my back against the one wall and I ran.”
And just like that the adrenaline-fueled design supervisor had all the proof he needed that the thrilling heist would work.
With other major studios incorporating VR into their own productions, such as Warner Bros. use of immersive technology throughout the development of Ready Player One, Hollywood continues to see the value in XR technology in the production environment.