Avatar meets Rudyard Kipling as Bill Pope, ASC, takes a romp through the high-tech jungle in the classic children’s tale
... Storyboards and conceptual art were created by Favreau and Storyboard Artist/Head of Story Dave Lowery and his team of artists, from which MPC’s digital artists under direction of Glass, Jones and Digital Domain’s Virtual Production Supervisor, Gary Roberts – operating as the “Virtual Art Department” or “VAD” – began building the first level of virtual sets. These included combinations of environments, some based on photography of temples and forests taken during visits to India, along with simple “chess pieces” of the film’s characters to create so-called “decimated assets” – those simple enough to function in a video game–like environment. ...
Favreau walked through each scene on a large monitor with a joystick and noted his preferences. “Jon likes a lot of people in the room with a lot of ideas – and then he chooses what he wants and guides you,” Pope shares. “And it was just like a real scout. He’d move the camera around and say, ‘You know, this isn’t a bad angle,’ or ‘He could come down this path.’” In fact, Favreau might determine that a tree or a river was put in an inopportune spot, and, as Roberts recalls, “because it’s rendered in the game engine pipeline, we can make the change in real time, right there.” ...
What's clear to anyone with brain synapses firing is, the chasm between "live action" and "animation" has now disappeared.
When cinematographers are no longer shooting reality but building 93% of the image in a computer, they are mostly a production designer and art director. Because no "there" exists on the far side of the camera lens. The only thing waiting to be photographed is blue screen.
Stripped down to the essentials, and taking the newer digital technologies into account, there is minimal difference between the 2016 iteration of The Jungle Book and 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.