The first photo of the cast for the highly anticipated spinoff of How I Met Your Mother, titled How I Met Your Father, has been released. The image shows the cast, made up of Hilary Duff, Chris Lowell, Tom Ainsley, Tien Tran, Francia Raisa, and Suraj Sharma, standing on the Brooklyn Bridge at night. While that might feel mundane, it’s how the production achieved this photo that is truly remarkable and, frankly, a sign of the future of filming TV shows.
HIMYF showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger had concocted a pivotal sequence for an episode, which is set in New York City, in which the lead character, Sophie (Duff) walks the iconic bridge with her friends. However, with COVID-19 still very much a thing an obstacle that productions must contend with, and having to deal with permits, ambient noise, et al, flying Duff and company to the Big Apple, for a single sequence would be a logistical nightmare. Executive producer and director of the pilot Pamela Fryman made the decision to shoot her cast on a virtual stage using the Infinity Stage on the Disney Burbank lot.
The Infinity Stage, which uses ILM (Industrial Light and Magic)’s StageCraft toolset, leverages the use of virtual production technology into episodic television production. The technology was pushed into the forefront of television production thanks to Lucasfilm‘s The Mandalorian, as they were able to create the vast landscapes for the various planets in the series all from the comfort of the Disney soundstage. Fryman expressed her delight of the technology, saying:
“I was able to spend the day in Burbank shooting a scene on the Brooklyn Bridge. The logistics and price tag of shooting on location (even when there’s not a pandemic) would have made this scene impossible – but thanks to this new technology the scene is in the can.”
The Infinity resides on Disney Stage 1, which is the same stage where sequences of Disney‘s 1940 animation masterpiece Fantasia were filmed. The facility is composed of 700 state-of-the-art LED panels, that when turned on and combined, create a 1,600 square foot LED canvas in which any landscape can convincingly be placed.
How I Met Your Father will premiere on Hulu sometime in 2022. See the first photo and the official synopsis below:
Sophie and her close-knit group of friends are in the midst of figuring out who they are, what they want out of life, and how to fall in love in the age of dating apps and limitless options.