The General Assembly declared the first World Space Week in 1999 to celebrate the contributions that space technology and science has contributed to improving the human condition. Though we haven’t contributed much to improving the human condition, we do know a thing or two about space! So if you want to get all spacey during World Space Week, there’s no better way than to catch up on some of these celestial delights from our stellar back catalogue. Just rehydrate your popcorn and let’s get ready for launch!
The Midnight Sky
Directed by and starring George Clooney, Oscar nominated The Midnight Sky was one of the big hits of 2020. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Clooney’s character, Augustine, must warn a returning space mission not to land on Earth, as it is no longer habitable. Everything about this Netflix movie is visually beautiful, from the earth bound shots at Augustine’s observatory to the meticulously created spaceship, Aether. We were proud to provide Previs for the ‘Spacewalk Sequence’ and the ‘Floating Blood Ballet’ sequence, working closely with Clooney and Director of Photography, Martin Ruhe, to plan them before shooting, using our virtual camera system, ARENA. You can learn more in our presentation Planning “The Midnight Sky”.
Director Daniel Espinoza’s 2017 movie, Life, tells the story of 6 crew members of the International Space Station who discover extraterrestrial life and then find themselves being overpowered by the growing alien. We were proud to provide over 40 minutes of Previs for Sony’s Life, including the five minute long opening sequence that introduces the weightless atmosphere of the ISS. As with the ‘Blood Ballet’ sequence in The Midnight Sky, the physical constraints of the set required extensive technical visualisation to create the final seamless version of the finished sequence.
It would be hard to find a project more polar opposite to The Midnight Sky and Life than HBO’s Avenue 5. Directed by Veep creator Armando Iannuci and starring Hugh Laurie, this space-tourism-adventure-gone-wrong is just as irreverent, dry and spaced out as you’d expect! When a gravity-flip turns their 8 space week cruise into 3 years of forced isolation together, tensions begin to escalate and soon passenger popsicles are breaching the airlock.
We provided Previs for the ‘gravity flip’ sequence, as well as environment enhancements, crowd simulation, starfields, CG shuttles and over 400 Graphics shots across 140 setups for series 1, and we have just finished work on series 2!
Apple’s Foundation, based on the Isaac Asimov science fiction novels, focuses on a bid to save humanity in the midst of the fall of the Galactic Empire. We’re definitely starting to see a theme in a lot of these space tales! We worked closely with the production at the Previs stage to design the camera moves and determine the best routes for action in highly complex scenes set within a huge Space Dome.
The Man Who Fell to Earth
Not strictly set in space, but CBS’s The Man Who Fell to Earth series does tell the story of an alien who comes to earth in search of a famous scientist who can save his species. The book was also made into a film in the 70s featuring the original Starman, David Bowie. We provided Postvis for an early scene where an alien has crashed and landed in oil-fields. Deep underground, we see a creature emerging from a membrane, which then becomes a skin suit, providing its ‘human’ form (Chiwetel Ejiofor).