was filmed entirely in virtual reality (well, save a single photographed shot). All the locations you know from the original—Pride Rock, the elephant graveyard, Rafiki’s Ancient Tree—exist, but not as practical sets or files confined to an animator’s computer. They live inside a kind of filmmaking videogame as 360-degree virtual environments, full of digitized animals, around which Favreau and his crew could roam.
Headsets on, filmmakers had access to all the tools of the trade, just in virtual form. Say you’re getting ready for a scene in which young Simba talks to Zazu, his father’s adviser, and the “sun” isn’t falling on Simba’s face the way it should. Favreau or visual effects supervisor Rob Legato could just add a “light” to boost the intensity.