Game of Thrones has long been famous for being among the first shows to bring modern theatrical visuals to television. Now, in the age of Disney+ and Amazon Originals, that has become ever more common, but the concept of cinematic television was once revolutionary.
In the midst of that competition, George R.R. Martin's Westeros is attempting to expand with House of the Dragon, the first in a line of spin-offs that will explore other eras, characters, and corners of that world. Based on the first two episodes, which earned rave reviews, the visuals are just as impressive as ever.
As part of the making of Game of Thrones, Warner Bros. took advantage of some of the most advanced filmmaking technology out there. That same principle has now carried over to House of the Dragon as HBO incorporated one of the hottest movie-making technologies out there.
House of the Dragon Uses The Volume Technology
House of the Dragon Episode 2's confrontation between Matt Smith's Daemon Targaryen and Rhys Ifans' Otto Hightower on the bridge at Dragonstone was filmed using The Mandalorian's Volume technology.
Ifans commented on the use of The Volume during a behind-the-scenes video posted by the official HBO Max Twitter account. The British star explained how it allowed the director to "freeze a sunset" in a way that the team would only have "have a few hours to catch" when shooting on location:
"We shot those Dragonstone bridge scenes on The Volume. So it's a 360 [degree] of any kind of landscape you like. For the director, it's really useful in the sense that you could freeze a sunset. If you're shooting on location you have a few hours to catch that light."
"It's really impressive, I'm not a technical person but I'm a real nerd. I'm always fascinated by the camera. I'm fascinated by anything I'm not in any shape or form an expert at, so, that whole technology is really exciting."
The technology - which was initially created for Disney+'s The Mandalorian - has been used on The Book of Boba Fett, Thor: Love and Thunder, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Percy Jackson, The Batman, and more.
The full video can be seen below:
The Volume Technology Continues to Grow
The Volume was truly a remarkable development in film technology from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), one that has only grown in Hollywood since it debuted on The Mandalorian. Now, the technology has expanded beyond Disney into Warner Bros. and hopefully will continue to be picked up by more studios.
The historic invention makes use of a variety of software and technology to allow filmmakers to change the background being projected behind the cast in real-time. As Ifans explained, one use of this allows particularly lighting or weather states to be preserved, something a natural location shoot would prevent.
That's not to say The Volume necessarily needs to be utilized across the board, as some directors still prefer to use a classic practical approach. Star Wars: Andor director Tony Gilroy opted for that path, going as far as to build a city, and it certainly appears to have paid off as the trailers paint a rather visceral picture.
Who knows the extent to which House of the Dragon will utilize The Volume moving forward, but it clearly proved beneficial for Episode 2's Dragonstone confrontation. That scene, which served as the chapter's climax, was dramatic, shocking, and visually spectacular, showing the benefit of the technology.
The first two episodes of House of the Dragon are streaming now on HBO Max.