Andrew Stewart | Manager, Corporate Communications
In anticipation of tomorrow’s blue-carpet premiere of A Beautiful Planet, I thought it would be fun for this week’s FRIDAY FEATURE to throw out some interesting tidbits about the film and those who made it all happen.
For those of you who aren’t yet aware of the film (narrated by Jennifer Lawrence!), it’s a breathtaking portrait of Earth captured by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), providing a unique perspective and increased understanding of our planet — and the effects humanity has had on it over time.
So without further ado:
1) This time it’s all about digital: For the first time on an IMAX space documentary, the filmmakers, led by director Toni Myers and d.p. James Neihouse, chose to use digital cameras on the production. They spent roughly three years selecting the equipment which, most importantly, allowed the astronauts to shoot at night.
“What the digital capture did was totally open up that night world to us, with stars, cities at night, lightning and other phenomena that you see at night like Aurora,” Myers says.
2) Serious mileage: Throughout the course of shooting, the cameras spent approximately 15 months in space aboard the ISS, traveling more than 180 million miles! That’s roughly 7,228 trips around the Earth!
3) Talk about information overload: In total, the astronauts on board the ISS captured a quarter of a million still photographs and between 10 and 12 terabytes of footage, enough to cause one of the buildings at the Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston to crash on occasion!
4) Santa baby: While stationed on the ISS, some of the crew left bags of milk and freeze-dried cookies in the air-lock for Santa. Ho! Ho! Ho!
5) “Veggie” experiment: For the first time, U.S. crew members have eaten a crop grown in space. Flight Engineer Dr. Kjell N. Lindgren watered and nurtured a crop of lettuce as part of his mission aboard the ISS. Next up: Mars!
Lindgren recalls: “To have something green and growing in there was very psychologically beneficial.”
6) Growth spurt: During his time aboard the ISS, Commander Terry Virts actually grew nearly two inches due to zero gravity!
7) The Cupola: The largest set of windows ever flown in space, the Cupola consists of seven windows arranged in a hemisphere that provides a 180-degree field-of-view for the astronauts. It was the first time ever that it was used in an IMAX film!
8) Bump and grind (or not): In order to keep the Cupola clean and scratch-free, IMAX designed an exclusive bump shield made of a special space-rated clear material that was flown into space and installed on the Cupola.
9) JLaw’s V.O. ambition: Before ever signing on to narrate A Beautiful Planet, Jennifer Lawrence was quoted in 2014 a People article saying she actually wanted to do voiceover work post-Hunger Games!
10) Astronaut training: During their extensive history with IMAX, Toni Myers and Graeme Ferguson — the co-founder and past president of IMAX Corp. — have trained more than 120 astronauts and cosmonauts to use IMAX cameras!
11) Animated throwback composers: In addition to scoring some of the most iconic IMAX documentaries, as well as having worked with such music legends as Natalie Cole and Robbie Coltrane, film composers Micky Erbe and Maribeth Solomon have composed songs and scores to many animated projects such as Babar and Care Bears. Bring on the 90’s nostalgia!
These are just some of the fun and interesting facts on A Beautiful Planet! Make sure you catch the film when it launches exclusively in IMAX and IMAX® 3D beginning April 29.
See you there!