In Saturn's Rings

Remember the days before IMAX became ubiquitous? When the format was more strongly associated with science documentaries at the natural history museum than $250 million tentpoles at the multiplex? It’s not that IMAX isn’t used for the former anymore, of course. It’s just that the latter has now eclipsed the original use.

So even though In Saturn’s Rings isn’t really a throwback, it kinda feels like one to me. Directed by Stephen van Vuuren, the art film consists of over a million still images of Saturn, captured without the aid of fancy CG or VFX. Based on the trailer, the results are pretty mindblowing. Watch it in standard def, high def, or 4K after the jump.

I can’t think of a more appropriate use of IMAX than this — if any subject is deserving of a giant freakin’ screen, it’s outer space. To see it in 4K, choose “Original” on the video resolution settings.


[via The Film Stage]

Obviously, this isn’t just an ordinary slideshow, so the YouTube post explains exactly how he manipulated these images.

The film is 100% created using only flat 2D photographs (often hundreds or thousands per frame) stitched together for massive hundred megapixel+ resolutions that are scaled and zoomed using techniques developed by the filmmaker, based on Ken Burns and 2.5D photo animation processes.

A computer is actually not even required to do this – it could all be done exactly using photoanimation techniques from 100 years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoani…).

No 3D models, texture mapping, 3D CGI, camera projection, cloning or painting or any other VFX techniques are used – every pixel is what was captured in the photograph. The photographs are processed as minimally as possible – much less than your average Instagram photo.

We’ve seen Hollywood’s idea of space a thousand times in various sci-fi movies, but the fact that In Saturn’s Rings is actually real and not just a CG rendering makes it feel pretty special. The movie’s Facebook page describes In Saturn’s Rings as a piece of “non-narrative visual poetry” that plays like ”Carl Sagan’s Cosmos meets the last 30 minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

In Saturn’s Rings will land in theaters next spring. Keep an eye on the official site for updates.

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