Capturing decent quality immersive imagery has gotten easier as camera technology has improved but trying to do it in space for the first time adds a whole new level of complexity. And that’s exactly what Felix & Paul Studios has been doing for its latest project, Space Explorers: The ISS Experience. The team has confirmed this week that filming of 3D, 360° scenes in space has taken place for the first time.
Felix & Paul Studios’ Space Explorers has been developed over the last several years, with The ISS Experience a culmination of that work, collaborating with NASA and TIME Studios to make the project possible. The newly captured scenes were possible thanks to a customized virtual reality (VR) “Outer Space Camera”, attached to the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm, functioning as a “Space Crane” on the zero-gravity movie set.
The Outer Space Camera is a customized Z-Cam V1 Pro consisting of nine 4K sensors allowing for a 3D, 360-degree image at 8K resolution. Low atmosphere orbit is a harsh environment so the camera had to be specially hardened by Nanoracks to withstand a vacuum, solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation, temperature extremes, impacts from micrometeoroids and orbital debris (MMOD), and other conditions.
“Today’s immersive cinematic capture of scenes in outer space is the culmination of close to three years of preparation. We are excited, honoured and truly humbled to have the opportunity to film in the most challenging environment known to humankind,” said Félix Lajeunesse, co-founder of Felix & Paul Studios and Director of Space Explorers: The ISS Experience in a statement. “Our mission since day one was to enable billions of people to experience what it is like to float in space and witness Planet Earth from above and we are pleased that this one-time dream will soon become reality in the final two episodes of our ISS Experience series.”
“Capturing the Earth in stereoscopic 3D, 360-degree format from space, outside the space station, has never been attempted until now,” adds Jonathan Woods, Executive Producer of Space Explorers: The ISS Experience at TIME Studios. “It’s beyond exciting and surreal to see this happening, knowing that the dream for this ambitious project started over five years ago in 2015.”
Space Explorers: The ISS Experience is going to be a four-part series with episode one made available in May for National Space Day. When it comes to viewing this exciting new footage it’ll feature in episodes three and four, available in 360° mobile format on 5G-enabled tablets and smartphones; at big-screen venues, domes, planetariums, space visitor centres and science centres; in VR on the Oculus Store for Oculus Quest & Rift Quest, and in touring interactive exhibit, THE INFINITE.
When a release date has been revealed, VRFocus will let you know.